What Should Your Final Preparation Look Like?

Oh you terrify me. But you also delight me. Can’t that be said for at least one person in your life?

True story. Last Friday, I was invited by a guitarist to play the keyboard for his band. Oh my! Exhibitionism was just what I needed to enflame a terror-delight in a heart that has been devoid of emotions since I started attending my alma mater (which dipped in ranking ever since, go figure).

Since I knew nothing about what they were playing, nor had I improvised anything in years, I had to regretfully decline. I got to watch them play for free, though.

Regret. Self-doubt. Insufficient preparation.

If last July is any indication, more than 50% of those attempting the CA Bar Exam will feel something like that come November.

I don’t want to tell you “I know for a fact u will pass if u believe in urself !!” because I’m afraid it will overinflate your optimism and also because I have no empathy. That’s what your friends are for, if you haven’t totally estranged yourself from them yet.

It may seem like a ridiculous coin flip at this point, but perhaps it isn’t too bad if you load the coin in your favor (some optimism is good):

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Arrogance as a Bar Exam Mindset

Not even gainful employment can save you from the terror of the bar. The other day, I was talking about the bar exam with David, a coworker. Although he is a first-time passer, he passed each of the California, New York and Massachusetts bar exams on the first try some time ago.

I usually discuss the more tangible side of bar preparation, such as actionable suggestions (I don’t give “advice,” only what worked for me plus motivation to follow it).

But are there any mental attitudes that you may want to consider cultivating when preparing for the bar and during the actual daunting task of taking it?

We were having such fun exchanging our thoughts about the bar that I recorded our conversation. Well, more like I was basically informationally interviewing him for his thoughts revolving around his core advice that day: Be arrogant.

What did he mean?

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All Bar Essays ARE Created Equal

This is a guest post from Nadine Heitz. She is a co-founder of BarIssues.com, a unique online searchable database of all legal issues tested on California bar exam essays since 2001. Here, she describes strategies for confronting the bar essays before and during the exam. Welcome!

The proctor has just announced “You may now begin.” You break open the seal of your bar exam essay packet to anxiously see what’s in store for you. First question appears to be Torts – not bad, you think. Second question is Evidence – yikes, it’s likely a race horse. Your anxiety level increases. Third and final question is Contracts, one of your better subjects. Now that you have a general idea of the three morning essay subjects, how do you decide which order to write them in? Do you tackle your easiest subject first to give you confidence and a great start? Or, do you get the hardest one out of the way while your energy level is high and it’s still early. Here’s my advice – you do neither.

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