The Bar Exam Is Complicated, but the Approach Is Simple

“How can I pass this bar exam? omg”

There are a million approaches for the bar exam. Indeed, you should find a way that works for YOU. As I always say, you’re the dean of your own studies.

All you have to do is understand the material and know how to use it, right?

If it were only that easy.

The bar exam covers a ton of concepts, including exceptions, jurisdictional differences, over a dozen subjects. There’s a LOT to know at once. Questions are difficult to answer unless you understand the key concepts.

The bar exam is not EASY.

But preparing for it is SIMPLE. Bar prep doesn’t have to be complicated.

There are really only three things you need for successful bar preparation:

  1. Source materials (outlines, questions to practice with, sample answers)
  2. How-to knowledge (which I cover)
  3. Action from YOU to do the things that matter (practice and feedback)

Let’s go through each one.

1. Outlines and practice questions

These are traditionally in the realm of commercial prep companies like Barbri and/or supplemented with other resources.

Barbri is the gold standard in terms of raw materials, like outlines and model answers. Out of the “big box” bar courses out there, Barbri especially has been in the game for a long time and focuses exclusively on the bar exam.

If nothing else, use their books. You can also check the Resources page for recommended supplemental materials to help you prepare for each portion of the bar exam.

The beef I have with these overpriced courses, though, isn’t about the quality of materials.

(I do have beef with some companies, Kaplan Bar Review being one example. Personally speaking of course.)

It’s that they enable the assumption that passively absorbing information is all they need to do to have success.

2. “How to study”

This is presumed from your law school days or given a cursory look by bar prep companies. Usually deemed “obvious” (yet fails many students).

But the actual reality of bar exam preparation is different.

The bar exam is a different game from law school. Law school doesn’t prepare you adequately.

Big bar courses give you WHAT to know—but not HOW to learn and use it. They don’t prepare you adequately. Admittedly, it seems they’ve been getting better over the past few years.

Learn how to learn.

My philosophy is to teach you study strategies that bring you disproportionate results, no matter what your pedigree is. You’ll learn how to learn. If you’ve graduated law school, you are capable of passing the bar exam.

Academics won’t matter if you learn the exam and yourself…

3. Action, practice, and feedback are only supplied by your will to act

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Ultimately, you must understand and be able to recall the issues and rules (not just memorize).

This takes consistent internal work.

Can you FOCUS?
Can you handle a lot of information at once?
Can you handle pressure and anxiety?
Can you pay attention to details (but not overthink or overanalyze)?
Can you sit down and DO IT?

These are lawyerly skills that the exam tests you on. It’s not legal skills that’s being tested. The bar exam is a different game altogether.

“What can you do” is far more relevant than “what do you know”

There will no doubt be life getting in the way as well. Manage your life to manage the bar exam.

You can and should rely on other resources, like bar course books, supplemental resources, or materials from me.

But as you can see, you also have to rely on yourself—your will to act.

That said, you can make your life easier by crafting a tailored approach for your bar preparation. Life is hard enough as it is.

To start creating your bar exam approach, first gain clarity for your bar preparation.

Most people think they lack motivation when they really lack clarity.

Get clear on what you need to do, and the rest will follow.

Create a study schedule that works for YOU, not the other way around. Use effective and efficient study strategies that bring you disproportionate results.

From there, you can engineer your OWN approach, based on what works for YOU and your OWN strengths and needs, not based on someone else’s. Be the dean of your own studies.

That’s how you break down a complicated exam into a simple approach you can count on.

A step-by-step system such as the one you’ll discover in Passer’s Playbook can help you take that first step in guiding your focus.

Once you set a plan, you can spend your time executing rather than trying to figure out what to do next.

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