Feeling Stuck and Burned Out with Bar Prep

It seems like time is continuing to expand along with the universe—agony stretching as bar examiners keep pushing exam dates back like a girl who isn’t really into you.

Isn’t more time good, though?

What do you do when you’re frustrated with your progress?

Are you even acknowledging the frustration, or are you actually dismissing it?

I was having a conversation with a coaching client for the California Bar Exam. Here’s an excerpt:

For non-CA takers, each CA essay is scored out of 100 raw points. 65 is considered on track to pass the exam and a target benchmark. 70 is solid. An 85 is rarely obtained.

To summarize, here are his issues:

  • Practicing essays takes too long
  • He feels he wastes time by overwriting the analysis
  • He wants to write in his own way and limit the analysis

What would be your feedback here? Think about it before I share my suggestions on getting clearer on an approach you may be taking as well.

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California Bar Exam passing score lowered to 1390 from 1440

Welp, it’s official. The Supreme Court of California announced the following today:

  • The second administration of the 2020 California Bar Exam is now online, on October 5-6, 2020 (September exam is canceled)
    • Last day to register for the October exam has been extended through July 24, 2020
    • Last day to withdraw and get a full refund of testing fees is September 8, 2020 (no longer right before the test date, may be changed later yet again)
  • A provisional license program under supervision will be available to 2020 law grads, but they will need to take the exam at some point. Such a program will remain at least until June 1, 2022
  • Oh, and the pass score has been lowered to 1390… permanently

Read more about it in the Court’s announcement page.

Does this mean grading will be harsher? Will online testing become the norm? Are we now closer to know the truth about whether we’re living in a simulation?

Hell if I know. But we now have more certainty about the exam. And there’s one thing that has always remained constant:

Take the exam as soon as is practical. Don’t prolong the inevitable to wait until 2022 if you plan to take the exam at some point (whether you plan to take the California bar or another bar exam). I have strong reasons why you should take the exam that’s coming up sooner.

Hopeful California attorneys now have until October to prepare for the 2020 California bar. While the lower cut score and more time to study may be good news for many, as always, watch for burnout.

Now that things have become more certain, make a plan. Get a better idea of how you should spend your time. Productivity comes from clarity.

Let’s watch out for more information about exam logistics as we move forward with bar prep.

Getting on track if your bar exam is in September

The fog is clearing up in bar world. We wanted certainty. We got it.

Some of the more populated states are postponing the exam to September 9–10 or September 30 – October 1. Others are staying put in July. You can check the status of each state here.

In an interesting move, California is moving the exam to September 9 and is administering the exam remotely. Oh you, always such a rascal.

In any case, it’s happening. Things are moving, and so must you.

As the dust continues to settle, what should you do to keep your mind focused on track?

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Should you take the California Attorneys’ Exam or the General Bar Exam?

So you’re a licensed attorney. You have a blossoming life outside of California. And for some reason, you want to join an overcrowded state and tackle the hardest bar exam in the country (debate me, New Yorkers).

No judgment here! But the question on your mind is whether to take the one-day Attorneys’ Examination (essays and PT only)… or the two-day General Bar Exam (essays, PT, and MBE) like the rest of them.

Is it smarter to take the full exam because of the higher pass rate? What about the possibility of boosting your score with the MBE questions?

It seems crazy that you would choose to take a longer test, but could it be easier to study for it?

How are other non-California attorneys making this decision?

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Giving what the essay graders want to see on the California Bar Exam: Q&A with BarEssays founder Gil Peles

When I think of supplements for the essay portion of the California Bar Exam, the first one I think of is BarEssays.

You’ve probably heard of it. BarEssays is one of the most popular study supplements for the essay portion of the California Bar Exam. It’s a collection of more than 3,000 real graded high- and low-scoring essays and performance tests from past California bar exams.

If you’ve ever wondered what an actual good answer is supposed to look like, this is how you can improve your essays—by comparing your practice essay to a variety of real graded student examples. I also wrote an in-depth review of the site here.

But how can you make the best use of it?

I asked Gil Peles, founder of BarEssays, if he would like to talk about that, and he agreed.

Here are some of the nuggets you’ll pick up from this Q&A:

  • How can you tell what the bar examiners want to see (and what you might be doing wrong)?
  • Formatting: What’s the difference about essay answers you want to write on the bar exam (as opposed to in law school)?
  • What kind of IRAC does Gil recommend for the bar essays? What should it look like?
  • How early should you start working on essays?
  • What can you do with your practice essays to get the most out of them?

Take it away, Gil:

Continue reading “Giving what the essay graders want to see on the California Bar Exam: Q&A with BarEssays founder Gil Peles”