—Valerio C., LLM
—my ex-girlfriend (after we separated)
Make This Your Last Time 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.
Indeed, I am. You may also know me as user “a male human” on TLS bar forums.
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 hundreds 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. If that’s not your priority, that’s OK. I’m probably not the right person for you.
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.
- “I have no idea what I’m doing”
- “I’m emotionally and mentally drained”
- “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?”
- “Barbri/Kaplan/etc. was a scam, but I’m scared to stray. I have no idea how to approach this exam anymore”
Especially that last one. You know you enrolled in a prep course because it’s what everyone does. You’re scared and think that paying $$$$ is magically going to protect you from the valley of death between pass and fail.
It’s not. It’s always been up to you in the end. Scary? Too bad.
They have to cater to the average student. But there’s no reason to drink the Kool-Aid and become an average statistic… assuming you’re not an average student, of course!
Only you can prevent forest fires. But if you’ll let me, I will make sure that you actually 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 failed to pass the California Bar Exam in 2013:
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.
After passing the following February, I wanted to fill the gaps left behind by all the “safe” blogs.
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 so much time. Stop watching so much Netflix and reading Reddit. You won’t miss them.
2. MAKE THE EFFORT
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.
3. MAKE BAR PREPARATION A PRIORITY
You might have other obligations, like 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, commit to it. Consciously decide that passing the bar is your TOP priority.
If you don’t really want to pass the bar, 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. You deserve your Free Life.
Can you really help me?
Successful students don’t wait for perfectly tailored advice; they apply the advice they get to their own situation.
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 someone 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. 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,” 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. Do what works for you.
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? If my material isn’t working for you, do yourself a favor and look elsewhere.
Just keep in mind it’s not about the material. It’s how you apply it to your unique situation.
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 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 question, or be invited by an existing member.
If you have any burning pains, send me your questions, comments, confessions, etc. to brian [ ] makethisyourlasttime.com. I read all emails.
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.