Ultimate Guide to Preparing for the California “Baby Bar” Exam (FYLSX)

Worried about passing the California Baby Bar Exam and moving on with your law school career? Feeling overwhelmed by all the information needed to pass this test?

Also known as the First-Year Law Students’ Exam (FYLSX or FYLSE) to stuffy law students, the baby bar can feel like a huge roadblock on your way to graduating from law school.

You might even be wondering, “How am I facing this much resistance this early into my law career?!”

Worry no more. Breathe a sigh of relief. There’s a way out to put this behind you.

The baby bar (and indeed the full bar exam) is also about knowing the exam, not just the covered material.

You can strategize for the exam once you discover how the baby bar works, how to properly answer essays, and how to prepare for multiple-choice questions.

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101 Rules for Bar Exam Preparation

Here’s a list of 101 quick bullets on how to prepare for the bar exam.

Your answer is probably in here if you ever feel like asking vague questions like:

  • “Do you have any advice?” without any context
  • “Can you help?”
  • “Thoughts?”
  • “HELP!” “Let’s connect” (?)
  • Anything with more than three question marks or exclamation marks in a row unironically

If you have the Magicsheets & Approsheets bundle, you already have access to the exclusive pocket guide “17 Strategies to Get Un-stuck and Un-frustrated by the Bar Exam.”

I tried something even more straight to the point.

Why 101? I wanted to do something contrived like 100 and ended up with 1 more (say hi to your OCD for me). I’ll probably update this in the future. This is an amorphous and evolving draft. Nothing is set in stone. Things change. Things get better. Same with your bar prep.

Feel free to disagree with any point. Advice is autobiography. Advice is never one-size-fits-all. Take what you like and leave the rest.

If some rules seem contradictory, that’s where interesting things happen.

Let me know which parts you agree with, parts you disagree with, or contradictions you thought about on your own and resolved.

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How Doreen Passed One of the HARDEST California Bar Exams (33.9% Pass Rate)

The 2022 February California Bar Exam was a tough one.

The typical average raw written score needed to be on track to pass hovered around 60-62 points in past California exams that required a 1390 scaled score.

The raw written score needed to be on track to pass in 2022 February was an average of 62.78 points!

But Doreen managed to pass the 2022 February California Bar Exam…

  • Unexpected to her (“I don’t think I passed this bar … just [being] realistic” “I will probably take it again in July, and I will be using your methods and materials again” “I was completely prepared to treat it like a practice exam, learn from my mistakes, etc.”)
  • Even though essays were the bane of her existence, and
  • Even though she only had 6 weeks of preparation.

How did she do it? Her full story and takeaways below…

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How do Magicsheets and Approsheets fit into your other bar exam study materials?

There are a LOT of study supplements, resources, and outlines for bar prep. As time passes, more and more get added to your potential repertoire.

Sometimes, the sheer overwhelm causes bar takers to load up on all sorts of materials, attend every workshop, DM everyone offering something — spreading themselves so thin that they end up not using any of it!

The materials collect digital dust, and bar takers end up restarting at square one, exhausted. But “the great aim of education is not knowledge but action.” (Herbert Spencer)

I, too, offer study materials for the California Bar Exam and the Uniform Bar Exam. Here’s my answer to questions about them, including HOW to use them. This will be useful whether or not you use my material.

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Should you forget about essays and just focus on the MBE (“auto-pass” with the MBE)?

No, this approach has a few potential inaccuracies and dangers.

Below are four of the dangers and a better approach to take instead if you want to prioritize a few areas.

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