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.

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

Anxiety, excitement, and uncertainty squirting into their 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 your hopes and worries.

Then… the ruthless truth. This is the result of all their work, condensed into one screen. It declares that their 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.'"
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BarEssays Review: Practicing Essays Is Not Enough

Ever wonder what you’re doing with your life? How you even got into this mess?

And by life, I’m talking about California essays (and performance tests) that seem to need a beautiful mind to unravel. Because that’s your life now. It should be. I’ve been there. So has Gabrielle:

(If you’re taking the MEE or another bar, you may want to stop reading when you get to the table of contents.)

Part of why the written portion of the California bar is so difficult is what they demand out of your essays. The hypos are dense and packed with a landmine of issues for you to figure out under constant pressure.

This is one of several reasons why the California bar is considered the hardest bar exam in the country. This isn’t up for debate. You can try, but I will win.

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How Do You Become Confident in Your Bar Prep?

Are you panicking? Feeling crazy like a possessed head of lettuce (which doesn’t even make sense because it’s just that crazy)? Feeling stuck and overwhelmed?

If so, these are perfectly valid reactions to the daunting task before you. You’re not alone in feeling this way!

It’s OK if you don’t feel confident about your bar prep. As a guy, I can understand being pressured to “be confident” and “be yourself.” That kind of advice is so vague and misleading I don’t even know where to begin.

But if you want to rant to me or ask me for “any advice?” so you can somehow receive a magical response with the one weird trick that will solve all your problems and make you feel a little happy for more than three minutes… If you’re hoping for that feeling of confidence to be infused in the form of a green-juice smoothie…


That’s not happening today. This is a letter to the you who is willing to develop confidence in your bar prep.

If you’re not ready or willing to generate that feeling from within yourself, you can come back to this later. Or never—who says you need to feel confident with your bar prep anyway?

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Bar Exam Success Commandment 3: How to Exploit Scarcity (and Improve Your Bar Essays)

We like to tell people we “don’t have time” or that “time is the most valuable resource” or that “life is short” (even though we love to procrastinate). But I think we do have a lot of time at our disposal. We just choose to squander a lot of it, too.

Then what’s the true scarcity of this world? What is the one thing that’s radically limited and expires very quickly?

Money? Time? Milk?

I think there’s something even more scarce: human attention.

Read on to see how you can use this scarcity principle to give yourself an edge on the written portions of the bar exam.

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Bar Exam Success Commandment 1: How to Gain a Superpower for the Bar Exam

Batman kicks ass! He’s also a classic embodiment of the idea that someone who can provide a unique benefit has a duty to offer it. A suffering pariah we can both relate to sometimes.

What? Are you one of those people who don’t care about animated characters because “they’re not real people”? Fortunately, superhero movies are all the rage nowadays, and I’m gonna use my favorite superhero as an exemplar regardless of what you think.

In conclusion, I think Batman is a pretty cool guy, especially with the current trend started by grimdark Nolan reboots. Is this post over? Everyone go home! Yeah right, like I’d ever fill your brain with nonsense (on purpose).

We’re pretty sure Batman hates the Joker, who always taunts Batman by causing chaos and even putting himself in harm’s way to see if he’d be rescued. So why doesn’t Batman just succumb to his temptations and commit the irreversible moral act? One life to save many. Here are some answers I like:

It always starts with one. That’s how justification works. But once you justify something once—you can do it again and again. It becomes easier. Right and wrong blur.
—Bruce Wayne

He refuses to become a murderer, because he knows that murdering the Joker leads to murdering all of them, making each killing easier than the last. And that casts him as the very thing that created him, as the thing he fights against, because at that point the only difference between Batman and the Joker would be that Batman thinks he’s able to justify his own murders.
—Mark Hughes, Quora

That is, Batman understands the dangers of a slippery slope and post hoc justification. Some even call his self-control a superpower.

Don’t you wish you could borrow this self-control superpower for bar success? Hold onto your tighties because I’ll show you a simple way to use it.

Wait, learn a superpower? Although we’d love to dress up in hockey masks and beat up the examiners who taunt us with their riddles, isn’t that a bit of a stretch?

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