Passing the California Bar Exam with the “Tripod Approach” (Just Triage These Areas)

Let’s say you have an overwhelming amount of material to learn for the California Bar Exam with limited time. (Who doesn’t?)

Or when one door opens, another door closes. You’re not consistently scoring well on the essays. You’re getting a 55 on some. You know you can get a 65 or more if you had more time. Or you just need a little push to get to a 1390 scaled score on the MBE, but then you feel like you’re sacrificing the written portion.

There are a couple of approaches focusing on a few key areas (rather than spreading yourself thin) that could bring you over the hump to pass the California Bar Exam…

This is the basis for the Tripod Approach (click to scroll directly there), which is a minimally effective approach to get the largest return for your efforts in preparing for the California Bar Exam.

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How Do You Even Know You’re Practicing Correctly for Bar Prep?

They tell you to “study,” but do they ever teach you HOW to study? Are you studying correctly? Of course bar takers get lost when there are so many different ways to go about preparing.

You could try everything yourself, or you could find a few trustworthy sources and ignore the noise. You could pinpoint insights rather than cobble together information from random people with their own views (bar prep is personal).


  1. Too much conflicting information actually STOPS you from doing anything.
  2. I want the right insights, not just information. The information doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as it makes sense to me and gets me to do something about it.
  3. The more I respect the insight, the more likely I am to do something with it.

How do you know whether to trust someone? Trust yourself to know.

Some resources and advice will work for others, and some will work for you. Big bar review courses cater to the lowest common denominator. It’s like Olive Garden’s menu where there’s something for everyone but also the primary ingredient for everything is butter.

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Samantha passed the Georgia Bar Exam on her first attempt (even though her law school had a 30% pass rate)

Samantha went to a law school with a 30% pass rate, and she took an unconventional route to bar prep to pass the Georgia Bar Exam on her FIRST try.

Despite the sobering statistic of her school, 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.”

Her process:

1️⃣ Walking the unconventional route to bar prep (ignoring the fear)

2️⃣ Using a few key resources to hone in on practice

3️⃣ Beating the beast on her own terms, confidently (with the help of 20/20 foresight)

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Where to Get More Civ Pro MBE Questions to Practice With

I have a love-hate relationship with Civil Procedure. Maybe a like-dislike relationship since I did get a B+ in my 1L Civ Pro class (almost A-), and that ain’t half bad for Civ Pro.

It can actually be somewhat straightforward if you get to know it, but it’s a pretty technical subject. Not all of us is a gunner nerd who went on to clerk for some circuit judge.

Here’s the real problem: Civ Pro has been a wild card since it was introduced as a new subject in the MBE. It used to be pretty simple to find practice questions for the other subjects, but…

What are the best places to get Civ Pro MBE questions to practice with now?

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Improve Your MBE Score: 3 Rules for Effective MBE Preparation

Ah yes, the MBE, everyone’s favorite multiple-guess section…

  • 1.8 minutes per question for 6 hours
  • Paranoia from seeing 7 of the same letter in a row
  • 50/50 choices that make you go, “Damn, what’s with this ultimate decision?”

Up to half of your score hangs on a series of letters. I don’t mean essays, which are also a series of letters.

Wow! That sounds important. So how do you practice and prepare to improve your MBE score?

That’s actually the good thing about the MBE. It’s relatively objective and quantitative. This means that, while the MBE is formidable, improving on the MBE is a very improvable and figure-out-able portion of the bar.

Keep these rules in mind to go from “multiple guess” to “multiple choice”:

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