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 bar exam for the first time, or whether you’re retaking the exam 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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You Need a Study Plan: Why You Should Make Your Own Bar Prep Study Schedule in 2020

The only thing I remember from law school is my negotiations professor saying this in class randomly:

“Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.”

It’s so true. Is bar preparation worth doing? Then it’s worth doing right.

We know that we must enjoy the process (not merely fixate on the goal of passing the bar) for sustainable momentum.

Just as what’s enjoyable is personal, bar prep is also personal.

You might be working while studying for the bar exam. Maybe you have every day free for bar prep and don’t want to blow this opportunity. Or maybe you have the first 6 hours of your day free while the kids are in school/Zoom classes.

There are a million ways you could approach this which can’t be captured with a unified master calendar. There is no one-size-fits-all study schedule. This alone is reason to abandon the cookie-cutter plan and create one that works for your situation.

Cool, but where do you begin?

You may be lost and not sure where to start heading from here. Like you ran into an unfamiliar part of town and your phone’s about to die (which is why I finally got a car charger after months of denial about how good my phone’s battery actually was).

Here’s a first step that will narrow down your routes and simplify the sudoku of choices…

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