How Stan Finally Passed the Bar Exam Using Proven Bar Preparation Strategies (Anyone Can Do This!)

I recently had a back-and-forth with Stan, yet another reader who passed the (online/remote) 2020 October California Bar Exam on this 5th try.

When I asked to showcase his incredible personal journey, Stan offered to rewrite his emails into a more comprehensive story with approaches he discovered, his realizations, and specific study tips to help others join him beyond the bar.

Some of my favorite impressions among many:

Respecting the exam is important but so is enjoying the process

Practice as if it were the real thing. Do the real thing as if it were practice—with confidence

Bar prep doesn’t have to be expensive

Enough about my impressions. It’s time for yours. Here’s Stan’s story on what he did to finally pass the bar exam. No substantive edits made except adding relevant links and [comments in brackets] and writing out some abbreviations.

One for Five: How I Finally Passed the Bar Exam

After I told Brian about my journey to passing the Oct 2020 California bar exam, he was gracious enough to offer me a chance to share my story on his blog.  I discovered Brian’s website by searching stories on how people passed the exam.  I’d bet that’s pretty common.

Before we get into my story, please know my only intent is to show you if I can pass, you absolutely can too.  I’m not special, nor am I looking for credit or praise of any kind.  I’m just an ordinary guy from LA who took the bar exam five times, dealing with life along the way.

Everyone’s journey to passing the bar is unique.  What worked for me might not necessarily work for you.  But I would bet a quality everyone needs is discipline.  My story is a cautionary tale of why discipline should always be where bar prep starts and ends.

The October 2020 California bar exam was my fifth attempt, but I was finally ready to pass.  Let me tell you why you should never think you’re not smart enough or good enough to pass, or that it must not be meant for you.

Continue reading “How Stan Finally Passed the Bar Exam Using Proven Bar Preparation Strategies (Anyone Can Do This!)”

I Accidentally Convinced Someone to Never Take the Bar Exam Again

After results for the 2020 October California Bar Exam came out, my inboxes were flooded with over 100 messages and DMs.

I individually responded to almost all of those over the course of a week and a half. It’s part of a post-mortem ritual that involves celebrating my community’s wins, greeting new readers and followers, and commiserating with the reality some have to face.

One of the messages was from Tracy, who was completely overwhelmed as she planned to take the next exam (click to enlarge, text version below):

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Be a Producer, Not a Consumer

Reading outlines. Reading sample answers. Memorizing.

All good things to do. But that’s simply being a consumer. It feels like progress.

Being merely familiar with something or being able to recognize it—even being able to recite a rule statement—doesn’t mean you can USE it.

Just because you love reading books or watching videos doesn’t mean you’re going to make a good creative. You have to keep putting work out there under the eyes of scrutiny.

  • Can you recall the issues and rules?
  • Can you pick out the correct answer (for the right reason)?
  • Can you identify all the relevant issues by looking at a fact pattern?
  • Can you organize an answer for an essay or a performance test?
  • Can you write out an answer in time?

That’s being a producer. That’s what you’ll do on the bar exam. That’s what the bar exam will ask you to do: to know HOW TO USE your knowledge to solve problems.

Consuming only prepares you to do the work that matters. It’s not the main thing to focus on.

It’s harder to test yourself with a question, take way longer than it should, and realize you don’t know how to answer it.

That’s what preparation is for… so that doesn’t happen while you’re on the hot seat.

Be a producer. Don’t just stand there. Give it a try now.