How to Pass the California Bar Exam with a Focused Approach of Discipline and Consistency

Got yet another success story, by a reader who shared with me a very detailed and specific recap of her journey to pass the 2020 February California Bar Exam (26.8% pass rate) on her second try.

It was too good not to share.

Before:

  • Big bar course made her “dumber,” wasted her time, DRAINED her energy and time. She was too wiped out to memorize or practice
  • Did not even know how to START any essay
  • Panic, doubts, insecurities, mind games, pressure

After:

  • Practical and effective approach
  • Used the right tools for her
  • Enjoyed herself because she could see herself getting better

Key takeaways and full story below…

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How to Maintain Motivation and Momentum While Studying for the Bar Exam: Enjoy the Process

You’ve seen all the euphoria from people who passed the bar exam.

You’re probably “inspired” and “motivated” when you look at success stories, case studies, and accounts of people who excitedly announce they passed the bar exam.

When that happens, we say things like “if they can do it, so can I” (true). Or “I needed this today.”

Today? I’m not letting you off the hook just consuming intellectual candy. That’s some “new year, new me” type energy.

Anyone can desire to pass the bar. Anyone can fixate on the goal and tell everyone they want it. It’s not gonna happen just because you said it.

“I want to pass the bar exam” will require thousands of actions.

Being calm, collected, and confident on the bar exam is based on decisions and actions you make well ahead of time. You could try to conjure up “confidence” at the last moment, but all bets are off when it’s game time and the cards are on the table.

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

Look, you probably won’t feel confident. That’s normal. Expect that. Don’t get misled by the allure of being confident on the bar exam. That’s not the point.

If you want someone to coddle you and give you cookies, visit your grandma. You want to be barred like those people? You want to know how exquisite that feeling is?

Don’t waste your time chasing after confidence. Chase after competence.

Then perhaps you will find yourself feeling reasonably assured of your answers on the exam (and they’ll actually be right). The point here isn’t to feel nice. The point is to pass the fucking bar.

That’s why I’m going to ask you now, while hopefully still early in the preparation process.

Whether you’re just getting started on preparing for the 2020 July/September bar exam for the first time, or whether you’re retaking it once again, I want you to keep it up and not run out of steam over the next few months. But motivation is not sustainable by itself. There’s a long way to go.

So instead, use your fleeting motivation to create that determination, that momentum. Otherwise, you’ll email me in three weeks asking, “Are we there yet?”

Here’s a real-life example from someone who invented the future (and the best way to do it):

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Passing the California Bar Exam with the “Tripod Approach”?

A coaching client and I were on the phone discussing strategy for the upcoming California Bar Exam in July.

The good news was that his MBE scores from previous attempts were already on track to pass the bar exam in California. He consistently got scaled scores of over 1440.

(If you’re taking the exam elsewhere, you’re already halfway home free with a good MBE score according to the “tripod approach” I’ll describe in a bit.)

The issue was that he couldn’t consistently score well on the essays. The essays he thought were the best, he’d get a 55 on them. The essays he wrote fewer than 1,000 words and thought were his worst, he’d get a 65 or more.

BY THE WAY: You don’t “pass” the MBE, or an essay, or a performance test. You pass the EXAM with enough total points—all or nothing. I will throw my keyboard out the window and hope it falls on the next person who talks about “passing an essay with a 65.” How does grading work for the CBX? Read.

Given his situation, I suggested a couple of approaches that would focus on a few key areas that would easily bring him over the hump to pass the California bar in July, once things “clicked” for him…

One of these is the basis for the Tripod Approach, which is a minimally effective approach where you focus on a few key portions when preparing for the California Bar Exam to get the largest return.

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