How to Pass the California Bar Exam with a Focused Approach of Discipline and Consistency

Got yet another success story, by a reader who shared with me a very detailed and specific recap of her journey to pass the 2020 February California Bar Exam (26.8% pass rate) on her second try.

It was too good not to share.

Jinnyi Pak headshot

Before:

  • Big bar course made her “dumber,” wasted her time, DRAINED her energy and time. She was too wiped out to memorize or practice
  • Did not even know how to START any essay
  • Panic, doubts, insecurities, mind games, pressure

After:

  • Practical and effective approach
  • Used the right tools for her
  • Enjoyed herself because she could see herself getting better

Key takeaways and full story below…

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Classic Repeater Story of Passing the CA Bar Exam on Her Second Try

Stephanie was a classic repeater of the California Bar Exam, who followed a big box course on her first try and then switched to better (more efficient and effective) learning strategies on her second, successful try.

It’s a familiar story you see all the time. Too many stories of repeaters regretting using Barbri and other cookie-cutter programs.

Here’s how she did it and the tools she used to do it:

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How an Australian Lawyer Passed the California Bar Exam Despite the Sheer Overwhelm

Surprise, surprise… Barbri doesn’t work for everyone. As a foreign-trained Australian attorney, James needed a way to get a handle on the sheer volume of material and become skilled at USING it.

To do that, he also needed to understand the bar exam in the first place because there were differences in legal practice in Australia and in the U.S.

He then passed the 2022 July California Bar Exam and put together a thorough write-up in collaboration with me, linked below.

This is a rare opportunity to dive DEEP into the mind of a recent bar taker. He drops many gems on what worked for him, with commentary by me such as:

💬 “A distinction between those who perpetually struggle and those who are successful is that they find an approach that works for them and trust themselves more.

One of my readers put it this way: ‘Make the bar exam process work with your learning style, not the other way around.’

But enough about me. This is about celebrating and empowering bar takers like you to overcome this hurdle. 

My breakdown and James’s full story below:

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Dominating the Essays: Organize Issues and Prioritize Rules to Know on the Bar Exam

Ever wonder how you’re supposed to juggle everything in your head? How do you prioritize the rules to know for the bar exam?

How are you supposed to learn all this when time is tight? How do you tackle the massive body of rules to know?

How do you know you’ve completed the essay in full? Did you even talk about the correct issues? Are the graders going to give you the points? Are they even going to read your prose?!

You’d love to start practicing essays but feel like you just haven’t learned enough law yet. It’s overwhelming to even begin from scratch.

If you’re a bar taker struggling with coming up with what to write, essays are the bane of your existence. Your rambling paragraphs start to blur. There’s just so much to know (or so you think) and say.

Let’s breathe. We can simplify the essays and make them less scary…

Key takeaways:

  • Issues: Learn not just the rules but also how to present and organize the issues (with examples below)
  • Rules: Highest-priority issues and rules are those that have appeared in the past (there are two other priorities)
  • There are efficient and effective ways to hit both of the above at once
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This Formula Shows the Importance of Each 5-Point Increment on the California Bar Exam

To pass the California Bar Exam, you need an overall scaled score of 1390.

That could look like a scaled score of 1390 for the written portion and 1390 for the MBE. These are generally referred to as “passing scores” since they put you on track to pass.

But how do the raw scores on your essays and PT convert to scaled scores? What do you need for a “passing score” for an essay or PT?

In answering those questions, it turns out there’s quite a sensitive correlation between the written raw scores and the written scaled score.

That is to say, EACH 5-point uptick gets you MUCH closer to passing the California Bar Exam. In fact, if your written score is in the low/mid 1300s, you’re MUCH closer to passing than you might think.

Here’s how…

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