This foreign attorney who struggled with essays passed the California Bar Exam with the lowest July pass rate (40%)

Lars was a Canadian attorney taking the California Bar Exam. He took it once in 2018 February. Then he passed the following July.

“I took it twice. The first time was in February and I got 1393, and then I wrote again in July and passed the second time.”

Lars was decent enough on the MBE and the PT thanks to his existing lawyering skills, but he needed help with the essays.

“I came really close on the MBE the first time. I think I missed one question but I struggled with the essays. I did well on the PT, the first time, which I think I can attribute to being a lawyer.”

Unlike the MBE and the PT, essays force you to work your “origination muscle”—to come up with words to write (instead of filling in letters) based on what you’ve memorized. We can break it down to a three-step process: Memorize the law, be able to recall it, and able to apply it.

“I kind of thought going in the first time, I would be able to just sort of manage the essays better than I could. . . . As a whole, the issue with the grading of the papers, there is a real issue where I don’t feel like a lot of the graders are grading equally.”

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Samantha passed the bar exam on her first attempt (even though her law school had a 30% pass rate)

Like most bar takers, Samantha began preparation intending to pass the July bar exam in one go.

“I went in thinking I want it one-and-done. I didn’t want to exhaust the resources nor the time to take it twice, so that I can manage to pass the first time.”

Not only that, she had a limited amount of time to work with, given other responsibilities she had to attend to, not to mention her children.

“I worked a full-time job and studied at night. I wanted to maximize my study time and be the most efficient in the time that I had in studying.”

What’s more, the statistics and odds of passing the bar were truly stacked against her from the start.

“The law school I went to had a 30% pass rate. I guess it would be considered a second-tier or third-tier school.”

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Joe passed the Uniform Bar Exam by racking up more issues on essays

Joe started preparing for the Uniform Bar Exam (in Kansas) with just seven weeks to go.

The learning process proved to be tougher than he’d imagined. The clock was ticking toward the inevitable, and like many others, he didn’t start out with the confidence to tackle the beast.

“I just wasn’t ready for it. I did not take very many bar prep classes in law school. So I knew it was gonna be tough. Once I looked at the material, I thought, ‘Man, I am screwed.’ There’s no way I’m gonna pull this together in seven weeks.”

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