Welcome to 2020, where “social distancing,” “the new normal,” and “stay home” are the new meme phrases to replace “in this economy.”
But life and the bar go on relentlessly no matter the state of the planet.
It’s that time yet again. Results for the 2020 February bar exam are in for every state (pass rate in California 26.8% WTF?).
Anxiety squirting into your heart every time you thought of the moment of truth. Heart ricocheting around your ribcage as you check for your name on the pass list.
Waiting is the hard part. It’s even harder to get non-lawyers to shut up about obligatory “aww… you got this” and “I’m sure you passed” comments for weeks and months.
Well, I’m just gonna ask you. Did you pass?
Nice work, congratulations! My work is done if I’ve made myself obsolete. Before you go, I’d love to hear from you.
✅ Shoot me an email or leave a comment and let me know you passed. Or share your success story in the private Facebook group if you’re in it.
LOOK AT THEIR REACTIONS! What’s the opposite of humblebragging because I’m so proud of their achievements (oh, yeah, bragging).
“Nightmare is over”
My dream is to help you achieve your free life beyond the bar. This is not out of your reach and is something you can look forward to.
✅ If you have any returned essays from previous attempts (in any state), please consider donating them so I can share with future students in my essay answer bank. You can email me scans or directly mail me your essays (ask me for the address):
If you sat for California, you have literally no excuse not to send them to me since they’re digital now.
✅ Lastly, if you found my material helpful, the best compliment you can give me is to be a messenger about my website and all its resources. Tell your friends, your school, your professor, etc. You can even forward this email to someone who might find it helpful.
This doesn’t have to be bittersweet. Keep in touch on Facebook!
Did not pass / First timer
No fortune teller would accept me as an intern because I am a terrible predictor of the future.
In fact, you, me, everyone else—people in general are terrible at predicting the “best” outcome or solution. “Hindsight bias” is also expressed as “hindsight is 20/20.”
If you don’t believe me, write down your hypotheses so that later you can see what your track record is for predicting the future. (This is also a good way to hone your understanding of something and also your humility.)
But imagine that you could know what you should do before it’s too late. Having 20/20 FORESIGHT would be like benefiting from a second chance on your first time.
You can still use 20/20 foresight to “look ahead” with a crystal ball so that you can avoid mistakes in your bar preparation.
Come again? Yes, even if you’re a first timer studying for the bar exam, you actually have a crystal ball!
It’s your predecessors who prepared for the bar exam.
Ideally, they are those who have successfully passed the bar—but not just anyone. First-time passers may or may not know exactly what it was that made them pass.
Maybe it was luck or natural talent. Maybe they just happened to pass and aren’t the best teachers (“Just go to lecture and pay attention! Read the MPRE book the week before!” I lose respect for law students every day). Maybe they don’t see or care to share the whole story.
Instead, seek to probe the wisdom of those who have revisited hell and lived to tell the tale. Listen to their regrets. They say things like “I would have passed sooner if I’d known that…” or “I should have done this last time…” or “I passed this time thanks to…!”
If you want 20/20 FORESIGHT for the bar exam, seek to probe the wisdom of those who have revisited hell and lived to tell the tale. Listen to their regrets.
That’s your cue that you’re in the “between the lines” territory—the part most people don’t tell you about.
It means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel because you can look ahead through the crystal ball. You will suffer if you rely on your “self” only and try to be TOO original to solve your problems. Those who leap over the pioneers got their results not by reinventing the wheel…but by getting the right help.
We enter the future backward, like rowing a boat. All we can do are look to scenes of the past and learn from them.
That’s why I asked the bar takers in February (many who are repeaters) for their regrets and advice, to share with you today.
Take a look at the regrets and advice of your predecessor bar takers:
What do you notice from these answers?
- You don’t see anyone obsessing over memorization (although knowing the issues and rules is just the cost of entry)
- Emphasis on practical application (we’ll go over another time why “practice practice practice” is not a complete approach)
- The mental game is half the preparation. The physical act of sitting down and reading is the easy part. The hard part is to focus, manage your anxiety and stress, and learn (it’s about learning now, not education or “studying”)
What about you? What did you notice?
🎬 This is not a rhetorical question. Here’s your first action step. I want you to and put it into words in the comments, or else you’ll forget it like the way you forget 99% of lectures you watch.
Most people will gloss over when they see a list like this. “OK, makes sense,” they’ll nod along before they go on with their day. Like a warm shower washing over their head.
Many will panic and wonder what happened when the exam rolls around. There’s a price to pay for comfort.
It’s what you do with the insights, not the fact that you have it.
But you can’t blame them. Intellectually knowing what you “should” do doesn’t mean you’ll actually do it. (I don’t remember if I even had a New Year resolution and you probably don’t either.)
Similarly, in bar prep, knowing the parts (issues and rules) doesn’t mean you can actually put them together.
The bar exam is a different beast from law school. Learn the acquirable skill of bar preparation.
Fortunately, you have an edge now, just by being here. I’ll continue to keep you focused and on pace with reminders.