People from all walks of life take the bar exam. Many have passed the bar exam before you. You’re not alone.
For your inspiration, I’d like to share a few of my readers’ stories and regimen that led to their bar exam success. Following the paths uncovered by your predecessors means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Extract what you like and leave the rest.
You can be part of the passing group if you put in the work, invest in yourself, and work intelligently, even if you think…
- you’re not “a naturally good test taker” or
- you’re not “the type of person who’ll be a good lawyer” or
- you “don’t deserve to pass” (see Steph’s jaw-opening story at the end).
Whatever that hinges on some BS inherent trait. Sure, there are some “natural geniuses” out there, but most people aren’t. The rest of us have and will continue to pass.
This is a learnable skill. No one is born to take the bar, nor is it a life skill you needed to have cultivated since you were a child. If you can graduate law school, you can pass the bar.
MAUREEN: A nontraditional student—63 years old, slow typer, no big-box prep course. Click below to check out how she passed the California bar on her second try (2018 February CA bar, 27.3% pass rate).
Click to read how she did it:
AKSHAY: Realized his childhood dream.
“KEVIN”: Took the CA Attorney’ Exam three times unsuccessfully, until he stopped writing like a lawyer and started writing like a bar taker. Big takeaway points:
- It’s not just “IRAC.” There is a specific approach to every issue. Learn by example, not theory
- Contrary to rumors, it’s not all about writing long analyses. I have a whole chart on the idea of “be an overachiever, not a tryhard” in Passer’s Playbook
- More specifically: Issues > Rules > Analysis. See the high-scoring student answers in BarEssays (find an offer code in the private Facebook community or by signing up for my emails)
In sum, forget everything you learned in law school or work, and start fresh. The only experience that counts here is what you’ve learned from bar preparation.
ANONYMOUS: A foreign-trained LLM who took the NY bar five times after persevering and steadily increasing her scores until she passed. She realized that points can come from the most unexpected places.
PLATO: A non-native English speaker passed the CA bar on his first try without using a big-box prep course (2019 February CA bar, 31.4% pass rate).
VALERIO: Foreign attorney with LLM who passed the 2018 July California bar, the exam with the lowest recorded pass rate for July (40.7%).
RANA: “Not everyone is at the top of the class . . . I had to step away from what I was “supposed” to do, to what I actually NEEDED.” (2018 February CA bar taker, 27.3% pass rate)
ASHLEIGH: A repeater of the California Bar Exam, who played to her own strengths to pass. One trick she used was to do the Performance Test first in the afternoon portion of the written day.
NAOKI: Member of the Japanese bar (3% passage rate). Non-native speaker. Never went to an American law school. Worked full time. Passed the California Bar Exam.
MARLOW: Studied while working 40+ hours a week. He “doesn’t do well on standardized tests,” and it’s been years since graduating law school… and he passed the UBE with flying colors.
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“A”: Repeater who passed the 2017 February California bar (34.5% pass rate) while working full time.
KARRIE: Mother of four children, learned the law all over again three years after graduating from an unaccredited school. Improved by 130 points to pass the California Bar Exam on her second attempt by studying smart, not just hard.
CAMILLE: Second-time passer of the California bar. She used some interesting strategies over the course of a year, such as getting study buddies who were committed to her success and using modern tools to create much-needed alone time (I do recommend avoiding people you’d be conscious of and reserving your mental endurance for the bar).
BARRY: Third timer, foreign lawyer from Ireland. Focused on the MBE, his weak area, to pass the Texas Bar Exam.
KATHLEEN: 49-year-old mother with English as her second language. Tried various resources and techniques and implemented what worked for her on the California Bar Exam.
JENNIFER: Cut through the fear and closed a 150-point deficit as a “threepeater” of the California Bar Exam.
STEPH: Was in prison for 32 years, had to learn how to use a smartphone and the Internet, and closed a 150-point gap to pass the California Bar Exam on the second try. You have no excuse.
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