Distractions and Passive Learning vs. Active Learning

Dude, I get it… This shit exhausting.

You don’t want to take this exam or SEE another question EVER again. You want nothing more than to pass this stupid bar so that you can move on with your life.

You can see the One Outcome on the horizon. So close yet so far.

So close yet so far to end of bar prep

But you can’t escape this endless cycle. You’re not allowed to. Not yet.

Wake up, then crash your face into the pillow. Hope and despair, rinse and repeat. It feels like you’ve been preparing for this bar exam your whole life.

It doesn’t even feel real anymore. But this exam is the realest thing in your life right now. So I hope you’re not spending all day thinking about unimportant fiction, catching up on all the distractions, panic, and the doom and gloom.

All the constant news in bar world, about remote testing issues, how the grading works, diploma privilege, exam software concerns, new coronavirus variants…

Feels great to have some drama in your life. Something OTHER than Civ Pro to vent about!

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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 because 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 2019 July California Bar Exam and people got mad over it?

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 what to focus on instead):

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Two Biggest Fears of a Bar Exam Taker

“I need to know all the law first!”

What were those three years of law school for? Never mind.

There’s this strange concern in the atmosphere floating around.

A concern that if you don’t know it all, then you won’t be prepared to solve the problems… The thought that all you need to do well in practice or even the bar exam itself (!) is to know it all…

So you sit there, fold your arms, and wait for osmosis. A passive approach. Maybe your soulmate will fall out of the sky, too.

And then when you finally flip open that essay after weeks of becoming a know-it-all…

You stare at the blank page.

In front of you, a blank canvas ready to be filled but only reflecting a harsh stillness.

The cursor blinks at you, urging you for your next order.

Cold sweat squeezes out of pores you didn’t even realize you had on your body. 😓

“…”

You decide to hit the books and videos again. Maybe you just need to know more… Maybe you’ll get ’em next time…

You’re mostly grasping the material, but then when you take a practice exam it’s like everything you know is out the window.

WTF? Why didn’t it work?

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Dominating the Essays: Organize Issues and Prioritize Rules to Know on the Bar Exam

Ever wonder how you’re supposed to juggle everything in your head? How do you prioritize the rules to know for the bar exam?

How are you supposed to learn all this when time is tight? How do you tackle the massive body of rules to know?

How do you know you’ve completed the essay in full? Did you even talk about the correct issues? Are the graders going to give you the points? Are they even going to read your prose?!

You’d love to start practicing essays but feel like you just haven’t learned enough law yet. It’s overwhelming to even begin from scratch.

If you’re a bar taker struggling with coming up with what to write, essays are the bane of your existence. Your rambling paragraphs start to blur. There’s just so much to know (or so you think) and say.

Let’s breathe. We can simplify the essays and make them less scary…

Key takeaways:

  • Learn not just the rules but also how to present and organize the issues (with examples below)
  • Highest-priority issues and rules are those that have appeared in the past (there are two other categories)
  • There are efficient and effective ways to hit both of the above at once
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You’re the Dean of Your Own Bar Exam Studies

Here’s something that people who pass the bar never say:

“All I had to do was listen to all those bar course lectures. They were so helpful!”

Can you imagine?

Sometimes we think “doing whatever it takes” to pass the bar exam means throwing 1000 hours and even more dollars into a black hole. (But it doesn’t have to be expensive.)

Or following some unsustainable cookie-cutter schedule (which doesn’t care if you have other responsibilities like work or family). Good luck if you fall behind by one day.

Or letting a perfectly fine morning slip through by religiously sitting through 4 hours of droning lectures. Worse, pausing lectures to fill in all the notes. Then not even remembering 99% of it.

tfw you think the lectures are making sense

I remember those days. Those are things I didn’t do my second time. Here’s what I would do instead:

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