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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Predictions for the Bar Exam (What to Focus On)

Before every exam, a handful of people come out of the woodwork and shamelessly ask about subject predictions for the bar exam.

“What do you think will be tested?”
“I don’t think ____ will be tested.”
“Anyone think ____ will be tested?”
“Does anyone know the predictions?”
“What are ____’s predictions?”
“Here are MY predictions!”

If you’re like many bar takers, or if you’re a repeater, you say:

“Haha of course I’m not going to rely on the predictions. I shall adequately study all the subjects. You should too!”

And then you look at the predictions anyway.

BTW, I’m calling out California mostly because it’s almost entirely California bar takers who do this shit and (as a resident myself) Californians think the world revolves around them.

Did you expect me to tell you, “Aww poor baby, don’t worry. It’s normal and happens to the best of us 🥺”?

You SHOULD worry if you’re secretly tempted about relying on predictions… because this kind of thinking is entirely predictable and avoidable. Sweating about predictions is not a good place to be in and requires intervention.

Also, remember when subjects actually leaked for the CA exam in 2019 and people got mad over it? Maybe you’re too young to remember. Good times.

Make up your minds! Do you want to know the subjects ahead of time or not? Jesus

Here’s why you should only look toward subject predictions for entertainment value (and 3 things you can focus on instead):

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What to Do in the Final Month of Bar Prep (“I’ve fallen into the trap of relying on what Barbri tells me to do”)

A question about what to do in the final month of bar prep after sitting through Barbri:

“I have fallen in the trap of relying on what Barbri tells me to do. I am 200 hours in and have watched all the videos for the 7 main MBE sections. I know basics, but I feel vastly unprepared to tackle this exam and kind of hopeless. Now that I have your materials, do you have any advice on what I can do to master all this material will four weeks left? Sitting through hours of lectures did nothing for me. Thank you so much for preparing all these materials.”

Sound familiar?

The Plan isn’t working. Panic sets in, and cold sweat oozes down your unkempt hair.

First off, this understandable and common. Still, in years past, many people have made it out in the final month and even in the final two weeks.

So right off the bat, know that you can do this (as cliché as it sounds). You are capable. And you will make it out, even if you don’t believe so right now. You have to make it out, to be exact.

No pressure, right? The thing to do right now to regain your sanity is to take stock of what you need to do and have at least a rough idea of what to do from here. Create a plan of attack if you don’t have one yet.

Here are some areas to prioritize and some pointers on how to spend the remaining few weeks (and when to stop relying on notes for closed-book practice):

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How to Study for the Bar Exam While Working Full Time

Studying for the bar exam is no easy feat. It takes a lot of time, energy, and focus to make it happen. But if you’re juggling work on top of all that studying, it can feel even more overwhelming.

Preparing for the bar exam is costly not just in time but also financially (and mentally, and emotionally, and…). If no one else is supporting you or your family, then you’re probably working and cramming your studies, if you even have the energy left. Yikes, even the thought of that is dreadful.

But other bar takers have done it. And they were able to blow the exam out of the water. How did they balance a job and studying for the bar exam? It’s not impossible to do both at the same time, but it does require some creativity and discipline.

The first thing to keep in mind is that constraints force you to get creative and focus on what moves the needle. You’re not going to have much time or attention to waste on stuff like sitting still like a statue while the lecturer rambles for 4 hours. So you gotta make the most of your time.

This can be a blessing in disguise because you won’t be wasting time. Let me share some tactics for studying efficiently while working full time, with examples from past bar passers.

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Admire the Buttcrack (and 9 Other Last Minute Tips for the Bar Exam)

Ahh shit… You utter the first word of the day as a dying declaration.

Because it’s time. Is it really that real? Let’s do this!

Implementing, practicing, and doing. I hope, by doing those things consistently, you’ve made solid progress!

Maybe you don’t feel ready. The good news is that the more prepared you actually are, the less you feel prepared. The bad news is that the other way isn’t necessarily true.

Not all hope is lost, ye weary traveler. It’s time to put your training to the test.

For now, go in with a “might as well, even if I don’t feel ready” or a “you never know until you try” attitude.

You'll never know unless you try

You’ll be able to say, “I’m glad I tried.”

You’ve worked hard these past weeks and months. You’ve come all this way. Let’s finish it without any hiccups at the very end.

We don’t want a “failure of the last mile” to undo all we’ve done up until now.

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