Dominating the Essays: Organize Issues and Prioritize Rules to Know on the Bar Exam

Ever wonder how you’re supposed to juggle everything in your head? How do you prioritize the rules to know for the bar exam?

How are you supposed to learn all this when time is tight? How do you tackle the massive body of rules to know?

How do you know you’ve completed the essay in full? Did you even talk about the correct issues? Are the graders going to give you the points? Are they even going to read your prose?!

You’d love to start practicing essays but feel like you just haven’t learned enough law yet. It’s overwhelming to even begin from scratch.

If you’re a bar taker struggling with coming up with what to write, essays are the bane of your existence. Your rambling paragraphs start to blur. There’s just so much to know (or so you think) and say.

Let’s breathe. We can simplify the essays and make them less scary…

Key takeaways:

  • Issues: Learn not just the rules but also how to present and organize the issues (with examples below)
  • Rules: Highest-priority issues and rules are those that have appeared in the past (there are two other priorities)
  • There are efficient and effective ways to hit both of the above at once
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Enjoying Bar Prep: 6 Ways to Make Studying for the Bar Exam More Fun and Effective

Is it possible to enjoy bar prep?

It’s one of the dryest things a person can do on this planet. But we retain more and pay more attention when things are enjoyable.

I’ve talked about enjoying the process to maintain motivation when it comes to bar prep. How you do that is personal.

Ultimately, you can have fun with anything. It’s a mindset. If something isn’t fun, you can just enjoy not having fun!

You can have fun with bar prep too. Bar prep can be enjoyable if you go at your own pace and get better at it.

The default (typical, boring) approach of bar prep involves sitting still like a statue watching people in a suit drone on as you fantasize about throwing your computer or self out the window. If you’re especially masochistic, you’ll pause the video and make sure to fill in all the lecture notes.

This is surprisingly exhausting. As a bonus, you’ll also forget 99% of what you listened to. I’d rather watch water boil because at least I’d have something to show for it, like edible pasta. (Did you know the singular form of spaghetti is spaghetto?)

Something people forget to tell you is that you don’t actually have to follow the default.

“Just complete the course! Play it safe!”—The National Association of Barbri (probably)

No, instead of playing defense, it’s time to go on offense.

Follow this visual guide of 6 things that can help you make steady progress and enjoy bar prep—without the frustration and exhaustion that come with how bar takers typically approach studying for the bar exam.

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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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Bar Prep Wisdom from a Succulents Workshop

I went to a succulents gardening workshop the other day because I figured succulents wouldn’t wither into potpourri like the flowers I had arranged a few weeks ago. There’s a limit to how much talent one person can have, I guess.

There’s no limit to how much I think about bar prep because that’s what I started thinking about when I was listening to the instructor 🤦🏻‍♂️

I want to share 4 lessons and also photos of my bald-looking succulent bowl:

(First lesson: “You have to kill a lot of plants to be an expert.” 🤯)

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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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