How to Know What to Do for the 2021 July Bar Exam as a First Timer

Now that everyone’s here, maybe we stand a chance against the final boss.

It’s official. We’re back to “normal” since bar exams are being held in July again (not the mess it was last year with delays to September and October with every state fending for itself).

Life goes on relentlessly no matter the state of the planet. Let’s emerge out of pandemic life with a fresh start.

Getting 20/20 foresight on how to start your bar prep as a first timer

No fortune teller would accept me as an intern because I am a terrible predictor of the future.

In fact, people in general are terrible at predicting the “best” outcome or solution. “Hindsight is 20/20.”

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’re people 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 don’t see or care to share the whole story. 
Maybe they just happened to pass and aren’t the best teachers.

(“Just outline and memorize! Read the MPRE book the week before lol!” God I hate law students)

Instead, seek to probe the wisdom of those who have visited hell (taken the bar exam already) and lived to tell the tale.

Listen to their regrets. They say things like…

“I would have passed sooner if I’d known that…”
“I should have done this last time…”
“I passed this time because…”

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. 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 were repeaters) for their regrets and advice, to share with you today.

Take a look at some of the regrets and advice of your predecessor bar takers:



What do you notice from these answers?

  • You don’t see anyone obsessing over memorization. Knowing the issues and rules is important, but you don’t need to be absolutely ready to begin using them.
  • Emphasis on practical application. We’ll go over another time why “practice practice practice” is not a complete approach.
  • You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are resources like outlines and other people’s expertise that have been organized for you already.

What about you? What did you notice?

🎬 This isn’t a rhetorical question. Here’s your first action step. I want you to put it into words in the comments below, 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. But there’s a price to pay for comfort.

It’s what you do with the insights, not the fact that you have them.

I guarantee you, many will panic and wonder what happened when the exam rolls around. This happens literally every single exam. That’s why I’ll keep sending you reminders (if you sign up here).

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…but I do stick to what’s important to me with consistencydiscipline, and patience.)

Similarly, in bar prep, knowing the parts (issues and rules) doesn’t mean you can actually put them together.

“I’m nervous about the bar exam!”

You worked hard to finally get to the mega-final called the bar exam…

You’re probably a bit nervous. Or very nervous.

Maybe you think your grades make you unlikely to pass. Or you think your high grades will save you.

Whatever the case, it’s time to send yourself some thoughts and prayers. But let’s turn that nervousness to EXCITEMENT.

Because even I did it:

The bar exam is a different beast from law school. It’s almost a clean slate and a chance to put your GPA behind you. Learn the acquirable skill of bar preparation.

Fortunately, you have an edge now, just by taking 10 minutes to read my emails/articles every week.

Sign up here if you want me to keep you focused and on pace with reminders (plus get AdaptiBar, UWorld, and BarEssays coupons and a free guide to kicking ass on the Performance Tests):

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