Preparing for the 2020 Bar Exam: Learn from Their Biggest Mistakes

It’s that time again. Results for the 2019 July bar exam are in for every state.

You’ve endured the obligatory “aww… you got this” and “I’m sure you passed” comments for weeks and months.

Anxiety squirting into your heart every time you thought of the moment of truth. Heart ricocheting around your ribcage as you check for your name on the pass list. Waiting is the hardest part.

Well, the insanity of the wait is over. But it turns out your nightmare isn’t over…

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Why Are Pass Rates Lower in February? (Yours Doesn’t Have to Be)

Bar exam takers are some of the most anxious and superstitious people on the planet.

  • They spend more time agonizing over which subjects will be tested than prepare for each subject (and then get really mad when the subjects actually get leaked, like it did for California in 2019)
  • They plug in numbers into score calculators to figure out how many correct MBE answers they could get away with… AFTER the bar (I’m also guilty of this)
  • They get worked up over the smallest indications of possibly passing the bar (“My account won’t let me sign up for the next bar exam! There’s some text that changed colors! My C&F status is different! Does this mean I passed the bar?!”)

It wouldn’t surprise me if someone used a ouija board to divine what a magic 8-ball would say about their bar results. (Spoiler: The answer is always a superposition of “maybe” because there is no way to know beforehand. Schrodinger’s bar results, anyone?)

I’m only judging a little bit because it’s natural to get anxious over a high-stakes exam. But we sometimes focus on trivial minutiae as a proxy for the fundamental questions and answers.

One question that some repeaters (or first timers who don’t take it in July) have is whether they should take the bar in February or July. The lingering concern is whether the bar is harder in February than in July. Is it really?

This is a valid question, but one that you ultimately need not worry about.

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Regrets of Past Bar Exam Takers

By now, reality has sunk in: Bar Is Coming.

BTW, I have only seen one episode of Game of Thrones in my life. So I am (1) not going to understand any other reference you throw at me and (2) immune to spoilers so don’t even try.

Before you ask me why, you probably have better things to get cold sweat over, like…

“OMG, the pass rate last year (for example, California) was 40.7%… What should I know before preparing for the bar?”

They say hindsight is 20/20. Let’s look ahead instead of thinking backward.

Here’s how to get 20/20 FORESIGHT: Study your predecessors, especially the ones who took the bar more than once. What are their regrets? What would they do differently?

Luckily for you, I already asked your fellow students for help, who took the bar exam in different jurisdictions (California, UBE, and more). Here’s a sample of what they had to say after coming out of the trenches.

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Preparing for the Bar Exam: What You Can Learn from Their Regrets

It’s that time of the year again. Results for the bar exam are yet again in for everyone.

You’ve endured the onslaught of “aww… you got this” and “I’m sure you passed!” for weeks and months.

Anxiety, excitement, uncertainty squirting into your heart every time you thought of the moment of truth. Waiting is often the hardest thing. Uncertainty is being locked in a padded room alone with delusions of hopes and worries.

Well, the insanity of the wait is over. And the results were humbling.

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The Barbri Regret: How to Recognize the Trap and Decide for Yourself

Bar exam results.

Tens of thousands across the country face them time and time again. Hope and despair, rinse and repeat.

You endured the onslaught of “aww… you got this” and “I’m sure you passed!” for weeks and months.

Anxiety, excitement, uncertainty squirting into your heart every time you thought of the moment of truth. Waiting is the hardest part. Uncertainty is being locked in a padded room alone with delusions of hopes and worries.

Then… the ruthless truth. This is the result of all your work, condensed into one screen. It has declared that your efforts were not enough.

Maybe for the first time, a humbling moment. Maybe not your first time, even more painful. 

How do you face your family and friends? How do you face yourself?

You “trusted the system.” What needs to be changed?

"The more I review, the more I realize what a waste of time the big bar prep programs are. . . . Never will I 'trust the process.'"

Continue reading “The Barbri Regret: How to Recognize the Trap and Decide for Yourself”