—Valerio C., LLM
—my ex-girlfriend (after we separated)
Make This Your Last Time (MTYLT) is a space for you, the bar taker, to achieve your ultimate goal of conquering the bar that blocks your path and moving on to your free life.
I’m Brian Hahn, founder of MTYLT.
I’m not a first-time passer. That’s good because I made the mistakes for you already.
You don’t listen to dating advice from Brad Pitt.
You get it from someone like me. Someone who was in pain and had to learn.
I found what worked. I found what didn’t work for me. I found what worked and didn’t work for others over the years of talking with thousands of bar takers.
“Thank you for suffering through a first failed attempt so I didn’t have to.”—Robert S.
I’m here to make this your last time taking the bar exam. But it’s also up to you. Don’t just sit there. Give it a try.
What are you hoping to do by passing the bar exam?
- “I need to pay off these damn student loans”
- “All my friends have their own career… I don’t want to delay mine any longer”
- “I finally escaped law school. I need to get this behind me and move on with my life so I can enjoy my weekends again”
But… it’s easier said than done. It’s overwhelming, and yet you feel like you’re outgrowing your bar review course.
- “I’m emotionally and mentally drained”
- “I have no idea what I’m doing. How do I study effectively?”
- “I’m falling behind. I’ve underestimated the work that goes into this”
- “I don’t know why I can’t produce good answers, even though that person managed to pass. WTF”
- “Do I ‘trust the system’? I wish I didn’t have to use Barbri/Themis/Kaplan, but I’m scared to stray. I don’t know how to approach this exam anymore. Who are you supposed to trust?”
You know you enrolled in a prep course because it’s the default option. Ever since Day 1 of law school, they told you that everyone does this. It was all too natural and reasonable.
After all, we have a psychological tic where we think that the more extreme an action is, the more we think it’ll change our lives. You thought that paying $$$$ was magically going to protect you from the valley of death between pass and fail.
Maybe, maybe not. They have to cater to the average student. But what do you do if you’re working, get sick, or have a family to take care of?
There’s no reason to drink the Kool-Aid and become an average statistic… assuming you’re not an average student, of course!
Bar review courses can very well work for you. Just keep in mind that all these tools and courses merely support your self-study efforts. It’s always been up to you in the end to build that bridge across the valley of death. Only you can prevent forest fires.
If you’ll let me, I’ll encourage you to get up and prevent those fires. I can’t predict your future, but I can try to help you get to the outcome you want.
I know firsthand how sickening it is to fail and have raw reality shove itself in your face.
I took the California Bar Exam in 2013. I failed:
This was a pivotal moment for me—the biggest one of my life.
I needed to figure out this bar thing so I didn’t have to feel like a failure as a human.
I had enough of doing what “they” told me to do—in bar prep, in job searching, in careers. I focused more on doing my own research, seeking specific guidance, and learning my own lessons.
Advice is never one-size-fits-all. In the end, you attain the result you want by your own hand.
After passing the following February, I wanted to fill the gaps left open by all the “safe” blogs and vague platitudes. Make This Your Last Time was born.
Make This Your Last Time has been featured by:
– Bar Exam Toolbox
– BarEssays: 1st article, 2nd article
– Detailed guide from a passer of the 2018 July CA bar exam (40.7% pass rate)
– Live stream with Jennifer Duclair (what you need to know to start your bar prep)
– Bar Study Motivation Podcast
– Reddit and Top Law Schools Bar Prep forums as user “a male human”
Everyone has a unique story. I also want to celebrate and feature those who made this their last time taking the bar exam:
What I believe at MTYLT
There’s no need to follow “The Plan.” A course can give you structure. But does it make sense that someone with a job or a family gets the same cookie-cutter schedule from your bar prep course as a 20-something fresh grad with nothing to do but study? Not to me.
You’re the dean of your own studies. Courses are only there to support your self-study endeavor. Do what makes sense to you. I encourage you to listen to yourself, do what you need to do to learn, and trust your legs on game day.
Focus on what moves the needle. Let’s not waste time. Learn how to learn. Do what you’ll be doing on the exam, effectively and efficiently—not spend an ungodly number of hours exhausting yourself with lectures, flashcard arts and crafts, or endless memorization that goes nowhere.
You can have fun with bar prep! Enjoying the process is key to sustainable motivation and momentum. bSign up for my emails, and I’ll give you different perspectives that can make the game more playable and beatable. (My emails get opened more than 50% of the time, and even people who have passed the bar continue to stay on the list. I guarantee that you’ll find my emails more valuable and interesting than any other bar exam newsletter out there.)
Here are the four laws of MTYLT:
1. MAKE THE TIME
You don’t find the time. You make time.
If you audit the time you actually spend, you’ll find that you have more time than you thought. Stop watching so much Netflix and reading Reddit. You won’t miss them after a while.
2. MAKE THE EFFORT
The real bottleneck isn’t time — but energy and attention.
You could sit there all day and do nothing. Or you could focus and strain your brain so you can learn something and improve every day.
I’m not saying to study 12 hours straight every day. Just put your efforts in the right place.
3. MAKE BAR PREPARATION A PRIORITY
You might have other obligations. A job, a family, parents, sick kids, pets, Sunday brunch mimosas… That’s fine if you want to juggle everything. Passing the bar might be harder for you.
You can do anything you want, but you can’t do everything you want.
If you want to pass the bar, decide that passing the bar is your TOP priority. The word “priority” was originally used as a singular only.
If you don’t really want to pass the bar, or if the law is not for you, that’s fine. Acknowledge it and move on instead of doing things half-assed year after year. It’s up to you to…
4. MAKE THIS YOUR LAST TIME
If you let yourself keep repeating, you’ll slip into a cozy state of being a repeater. Your status quo identity becomes that of a repeater.
“It’s just how it is… I love learning… Everyone fails at some point…” Yes, but many people also pass! It’s not all doom and gloom out there.
Don’t be afraid of success. Don’t become a martyr. You deserve your Free Life beyond the bar. You didn’t come this far just to come this far.
Can you really help me?
Successful students don’t wait for perfectly tailored advice. They consciously apply the advice they get to their own situation. They’re more concerned about being the best student rather than debating what the best materials are.
This isn’t just for California bar takers or repeaters. Everyone can extract insights from discussions inspired by the hardest bar exam in the country (debate me, New Yorkers). If you’re lonely and frustrated about the bar, I’m here to open up my chamber of secrets.
Given a choice, you want someone who knows what to do as well as what not to do, over a generic hotchpot of advice from people who somehow ended up passing their first time.
It’s like your annoying classmate who passed the MPRE: “Oh, it’s really easy! Just study like the week before, lol.” It was “really easy” because you happened to pass, jackass. God, law students are the worst.
There’s a lot of BS out there that doesn’t really help and vague listicles telling you what you want to hear and already know. “Top 10 tips on how to memorize! Eat these fruits! Just issue spot! You have to do at least 4,000 MBE questions! Just be positive! Don’t worry; you will pass!”
But I’m invested in your success and getting you to pass. I’ll give you a candid look at bar exam preparation after everyone else has bounced. My work is done if I’ve made myself obsolete.
I’ll be the first to tell you that this exam is gritty and difficult, no matter where. It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to fill you with confidence.
But I will help you be less anxious and less frazzled than you need to be. It’s better to wish you were better than to wish things were easier. Progress is motivating.
I created this website because I was upset at the lack of reliable and useful information on the bar exam. My role is to make things more transparent and actionable using what I learned (amusing myself in the process) because the bar exam shouldn’t be this traumatizing.
You’ll get the most thorough and insightful solutions for your problems about preparing for the bar exam here. Compare with other websites to see for yourself and see these success stories and case studies of some of my readers.
No canned and droning lecturing or “advice” about working hard (that kind of “motivation” decays really fast…you can’t force your brain to work harder). Just what I did, what others did, and what I would do if I had to take the bar again. Ultimately, it’s your bar. You’re the dean of your own studies. Do what works for you, and create your own curriculum.
You could go out there and peck out the good advice from resources scattered all over the place. How do we even know if a piece of advice is good in the first place? With so much at stake, you can’t afford to try out random tactic after tactic.
BTW, that applies to my blog too. All our lives, we’ve depended on “experts,” but ultimately, it’s about results for you. Am I helping you take action and become more effective? Am I pushing you to be your best?
Try on different advice like hats. If my material isn’t working for you, try different ones. Keep in mind it’s not just about the material but how you apply it to your situation.
All that said, do you want to know how I did it (and how it worked for others)?
My philosophy is to empower you with the best chance of passing and moving on from this hazy world of bar prep. To that end, I offer these resources to help you Make This Your Last Time:
“Your emails and website [were] the only realistic take on bar prep that I found.”—Shannon
Weekly emails: During bar seasons (May-July and Nov-Feb), I’ll send you material handcrafted by yours truly (sign up here). You’ll also get goodies when you sign up, like my free guide to kicking ass on the PT/MPT, coupons, and material I don’t cover on the blog.
The blog is where I publicly discuss strategies and tactics needed to give yourself an edge over the other half of bar takers whom you’ll leave in the dust.
Magicsheets are condensed outlines with 95% of the issues and rules you need to know for essays and the MBE in 5% of the length of a traditional bar outline. Out of frustration, I created and used the predecessor of Magicsheets to pass the CA bar exam on my second try. MBE subjects available separately. Combo with Approsheets also available (this is the most popular option).
Approsheets are condensed essay attack sheets (templates in checklist and flowchart formats) that help you identify the relevant issues in an essay via systematic issue checking. Go from a blank page to a finished essay or outline. Non-CA bar takers also have found Approsheets helpful. Combo with Magicsheets also available (this is the most popular option).
Passer’s Playbook 2.0: The MTYLT Action Guide for Future Attorneys to Prepare for the Bar Exam, AKA “the Playbook” is a comprehensive collection of self-study guides and tools that I wish I had when I first took the bar. Comes with an “Accelerator Kit” so you can take action right away while the “aha” moment is in full effect.
Mental Engines is a mental support program that includes lessons and strategies to take you from overwhelmed to focused, from unproductive to motivated, from anxious to calm… and even make studying enjoyable rather than stressful.
The private Facebook community is a supportive and lively 24/7 virtual study group where we’re quick to inform, help, support, encourage, inform, advise after passing, and congratulate each other, where I may share timely things or things that I don’t mention on the blog. Please note that a real name and account will be required for approval in order to keep it a safe and trusted community of MTYLT readers and friends. It helps to have law-related info associated with your profile and answer the short questions, or be invited by an existing member.
If you have any burning pains, send me your questions, comments, confessions, etc. to brian [replace this with an @] makethisyourlasttime.com. I read all emails.
If there’s one thing you do, I highly recommend that you sign up here to get timely weekly coaching emails and Q&As (along with other goodies). Click here. See you inside.
Disclaimer: MakeThisYourLastTime.com makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the content of this publication and specifically disclaims all warranties, including without limitation, warranties of fitness for a particular purpose. Using this website entails the understanding that MakeThisYourLastTime.com is not engaged in rendering legal or other professional services or advice. Furthermore, MakeThisYourLastTime.com shall not be liable for any damages arising from use thereof.
In short, I do not give advice, just what worked for me to pass the second time, along with the motivation to try it. Although I’ve made all efforts to ensure all information and resources presented are accurate and comprehensive, please note that I can’t be responsible for any pecuniary, emotional, or other damages you incur as a result (such as not passing the bar exam and consequences thereof). If you’ve determined that a statement (of law or otherwise) could be more accurate, please email me along with supporting documentation, and we can discuss it. Also, your data (name, email address, IP address, etc.) is safe with me.