California Bar Exam: How to Pass the California Bar Exam Free Workshop


Tuesday, November 24th from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm is our next free workshop! Class fills up quickly, so be sure to reserve your space early!

Register now for our upcoming, free, How to Pass the California Bar Exam Workshop. Learn how to put together a successful study plan, learn strategies for successful essay and performance test writing and keep up to date on changes to the bar exam, get answers to when and where should you include California distinctions, how long is a typical passing essay answer, learn the proper form and structure of a solidly passing essay and performance test. And, as time allows, we will discuss strategies for the MBE, including how to approach the recently added Civil Procedure MBEs.

Space is limited, so sign up early to secure your spot!

Sign up here!

Baby Bar Prep in Pasadena – Join Us for Our Baby Bar Cram Session!

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If you are facing the California baby bar examination, then you know that unlike the general bar exam, you absolutely have to pass within three tries. Baby Bar pass rates are very low. Learn how to pass this difficult test and master both the essay writing and technique of the multiple choice section and give yourself the best opportunity to pass this very difficult test. Check back soon for registration details. Class will be held on Sunday, October 25th and will fine tune your skills so that you have the very best opportunity to succeed on test day on October 27th! You do not want to miss this session, it could make the difference between passing and failing.Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 10.10.33 PM

New Bar Exam Resource Site: February Bar Exam

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For those of you taking the February bar exam, visit for the most up to date information on registering for the February bar exam. Visitors will find information on all states’ bar exam filing dates and keep abreast of news affecting those taking the bar exam.

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Bar Exam Tip: Should I Study for the Bar While Waiting for Bar Results?

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So now you have the July 2015 bar exam behind you (congratulations) and hopefully you have been able to enjoy some of your summer. Bar results are still months away and probably one of the most common questions I receive at this time of the year is: Should I study while I am waiting for my results?

The answer to that question depends upon a lot of variables. Each examinee’s situation is different and so whether you should continue your studies while you wait for your bar results really depends upon your own unique circumstances.

I don’t recommend it to everyone to study while waiting for results. However, there are some good reasons why you might want to consider opening up those books while you wait.

1. If you feel as though you did poorly on the bar exam. If you feel you did poorly on the exam, then studying some now while you wait for results, is a good idea. If nothing more, it is a little bar review insurance. If you find out that you passed the bar exam, I doubt you will regret the fact that you put in some time studying that apparently wasn’t needed.

2. If you are working full time. If you currently have a full time job, will you be able to take time off from that job to study if you do not pass the July 2015 bar exam? No one plans on failing the bar exam. However, too few examinees give much thought to a game plan in the event that they do not receive passing results. Something you can do now is to spend a few hours each week until bar results come out in November (see, you have a lot of time). This way, if you do fail, you will have already made some headway with the material and the task ahead of you will be less daunting. In addition, you won’t be trying to juggle quite as much in the event that you are unable to secure time off from work to study full time again. And, if you are fortunate enough to receive passing results, then no harm, no foul. You won’t regret it.

3. If you did not finish a portion of the test. if you were unable to finish one of the essays or perhaps were unable to finish one of the performance tests, you may very well want to start studying again just to be on the safe side. While failing to finish an essay or even a PT does not mean you have failed, it is an indication that things did not go as planned. If it were me, under these circumstances, I would start putting in some study time early.

The bottom line is only you know how you feel about your performance on the July 2015 bar exam. As the test is designed to be difficult, it is normal for it it feel very difficult. Most examinees (pass or fail) do not walk out of the California bar exam feeling like they aced it. So try to keep it in perspective. But if you have serious doubts as to whether you passed the exam, then I recommend putting in a little time now on a weekly basis. It simply can’t hurt.

All the best to those who are waiting for bar results!!!


Lisa Duncanson, The Bar Exam Guru

Founder/Program Director Bar None Review and The Bar Exam Cram Session


Bar Exam Predictions – Update, Final Thoughts

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Congratulations on completing day one and day two of the California bar exam!

So far all of the topics that were tested on day one (on the essays) were on my list of predictions. As a result, I do not have real changes to the predictions since nothing tested on day one was off my list. However, I do have a few final thoughts and a few downloads for you that may assist you in the event that you see either Evidence or Constitutional Law tomorrow.

If you have not seen my predictions yet, see my blog post from a few days ago with a list of predictions here

Final thoughts and Free Handouts
Based upon what was tested on Day One, I still think you could see Constitutional Law and/or Evidence. In case you would like a shorthand approach for Evidence, you can download one here and if you would like to review a sample Evidence Transcript style essay, complete with form objections, you can download a past Evidence Transcript style essay here. Also, here is a Constitutional Law essay that I highly recommend reading and reviewing the answers to (as these areas of Constitutional Law have not been tested since 2005).

I still think you could see Community Property or Corporations. I am leaning slightly heavier towards seeing a Corporations essay now given that everything tested on the first day of the bar exam was an MBE topic (remember, Civil Procedure is now an MBE topic).

Beware of cross-overs! Typically each bar round there are 8 topics tested on the essays – meaning two of the essays are cross-over essays. Since Day One did not seem to have cross-overs (and remember I have not seen the actual exam yet, so I am going completely off of examinee reports) I would expect to see at least one essay that is a cross-over essay. In the past, the California bar has tested a cross-over essay with Community Property, Wills and Evidence. It happens and when it does the calls of the question usually refer to each of the separate topics. In other words, you will likely be told what to write on if you have a cross-over that contains three subjects. It is not as common as seeing Criminal Law crossed with Criminal Procedure, but it happens. And since I still think murder (see below) could be on the exam, perhaps it could show up with Evidence, just a thought.

Beware of Criminal Law Murder STILL! While it would seem a little unusual to see Criminal Procedure on day one’s essays and then see Criminal Law Murder on day three’s essays, it is not an impossible scenario. Remember, that the bar exam has tested the same subject (different topics and issues) twice on the same bar exam. Professional Responsibility has shown up on both day one and day three’s essays. So has Remedies, Contracts and Torts. Just keep this in mind and do not write off the possibility of getting a murder exam tomorrow.
I do think you have to have at least one non-MBE topic tomorrow. This could be Professional Responsibility, or any of the non-MBE topics. But, remember, the examiners could skip Professional Responsibility on the essays and test it on the Performance Test instead.
The most important thing for you to do is to put today and Tuesday behind you and not think about it anymore. If you feel you missed things or could have done better, then you feel like everyone else (including myself when I took the bar exam and passed it)!
So put it behind you, do not entertain anyone else’s version of what was supposedly tested or what you supposedly should have written. Yesterday and today are behind you (congratulations)!
Believe in yourself, review what you can this evening, be confident, make an effort to relax, and to be positive.
Maintaining a positive attitude tonight and tomorrow is important, it is critical. So make the effort to be positive – choose this attitude, choose to believe in yourself.
All the best of luck to you tomorrow!


Lisa Duncanson
Founder/Program Director Bar Exam Cram Session and Bar None Review

Bar Exam Tips: July 2015 Bar Exam Predictions


Hello All,

Thank you for following my blog. We have had thousands of views each day this week. I am grateful for the following and glad that I can be of service. As it comes down to these final days before the bar exam, examinees feel more and more anxious about the test. This is normal. One of the ways that can help with easing up on that anxiety is to have a few areas to focus on in terms of the essays.

About the “Predictions”

While it is not possible to be able to predict what will be tested on the bar exam, I think it can not hurt to be made aware of certain essay scenarios that may be more likely to appear on this upcoming exam simply because these areas either have not been tested in a very long time, or because these areas/topics happen to be frequent flyers (favorite areas for testing) on the California bar exam.

So it is with that in mind, that I will be sharing some of my predictions. While there is no guarantee that these topics will appear on the July bar exam, it can not hurt to review these areas. Also, it gives you something else to focus on other than the constant memorization of long outlines (not something I think is especially productive) and should any of these topics appear on your bar exam, you will feel great for having studied these areas a little extra in the days leading up to the exam.

Another note about the “predictions” and release times

I write this blog to provide help to bar examinees who are all too often struggling and without guidance from their own bar prep providers. I do however, owe my first loyalty to my enrolled students who pay for the privilege of my predictions and other insights. As a result, my students get this information first. So please understand, that while I do release predictions on my blog, out of respect for my enrolled students, I release these only after I have provided this information to my enrolled students.


Professional Responsibility – Professional Responsibility is almost always tested on the essay portion of the California bar exam. As of 1994 the California bar examiners committed to tested Professional Responsibility on every bar exam on the written portion. This means that it it is on ever bar round on either the essays (most typical) or on the performance test or on both the essays and the performance test. Professional Responsibility was not tested on the essay portion of the February 2015 bar exam. Since it was skipped last bar round, my thoughts are that it is coming back. It is rare for Professional Responsibility not to show up on the essays. Assuming it is tested, what areas might come up? Generally you can always expect to discuss breach of the duty of loyalty – as this is the most common duty breach on a professional responsibility essay. The bar examiners can test anything and in Professional Responsibility since there are only so many areas for testing, these areas tend to repeat and are harder to predict. That being said, there are a few areas that have not been tested in a while – the area of attorney advertising has not shown up in a while. In addition, you always want to look at favorite areas of testing when trying to prepare for what is most likely. Favorite testing areas for Professional Responsibility are: when an attorney has a sexual relationship with their client, fee agreements and a fact pattern where you have a corporation as a client. These are favorite areas for testing. Above all, be ready for Professional Responsibility.

Constitutional Law – If Constitutional Law were to be tested (and I think there is a very good possibility it could show up on the July 2015 bar exam) then I would be prepared for this scenario – where the state is regulating in such a way that it potentially places an undue burden on interstate commerce. This requires you to evaluate the constitutionality of a state statute. You will need to address whether the state has the power to act (SHWEM – the states per the 10th Amendment can act for the Safety, Health, Welfare, Education or Morals of its citizens. In addition you will need to balance the state interest that is at stake against the burden that is placed on interstate commerce. One of the best ways to prepare for this type of essay is to review past California bar essays that test this exact area. Of course anything can be tested, including any area of Constitutional Law. I am leaning toward a commerce clause/dormant commerce clause issue because it has been several years since the examiners have tested this on the California bar exam. However, be mindful that favorite areas of testing for Constitutional Law are First Amendment Speech and Equal Protection. If you were to see an essay involving a state statute that treats out of staters differently than instaters – then this would also pose a minor Equal Protection issue.
Criminal Law/Procedure
Murder has not been tested in quite some time. This could be tested either on its own as a straight Criminal Law essay or possibly crossed over with criminal procedure. Typically when murder exams are crossed over with Criminal Procedure it involves the 4th and 5th Amendments. However, 6th Amend void dire and peremptory challenges based upon race and/or belief or opposition to the death penalty have not shown up in a very long time. This lends itself to an easy cross over with 8th Amendment capital punishment. Watch out also for 8th Amendment bail issues and 6th Amendment issues regarding pro se counsel and request for standby counsel. These areas are not favorites for testing, but since we have not seen these issues tested in some time you should be prepared.
Community Property
Since Community Property was not tested on the last bar exam, most are predicting that it will show up on this next bar exam. I agree it could come up and I think it could come up potentially as a crossover, it could even show up with Evidence – for example testing a Marital and Spousal Privilege issue.
Many are also predicting Evidence. If you were to see Evidence you know that you will need to be prepared for Hearsay issues and the exceptions. Be very well prepared for this area as it always shows up when Evidence is tested. Also be prepared for the potential of seeing a transcript style exam, look out for marital and spousal privilege (as I mentioned above) and any privileges. Always expect Hearsay, follow the approach. Know your form objections in case you see a transcript style exam. Remember that there are form objections for answers (for example: “non-responsive”) that are different than form objections that area available for questions.
Each bar round we usually see two or even three topics repeat back to back. So you need to be prepared for anything and everything. I personally think that the following topics might be a little more likely to repeat: Civil Procedure and Property and Business Associations (which was really only barely tested on the last bar exam in the area of Agency). Here is what I think you should consider for these possible repeater topics:
Civil Procedure
Watch out for res judicata and collateral estoppel as it has not been tested in quite some time. Also, remember that res judicata would allow the examiners to test the California (and minority) “primary rights view”. Also look out for notice and code pleading issues. And, of course be prepared for the most heavily tested area of Civil Procedure – jurisdiction.
Look out for Easements, warranty deed issue in a land sale contracts context, also always consider landlord tenant as it is the most common tested area of property.
Business Organizations 
Agency and Partnership were tested on the last bar round, but could always come up again. However, be on the look out for a straight Corporations essay. Securities law has not been tested in years so you should be prepared for this possibility. But you could also see common law fraud, ultra vires. How? The call of the question could ask you to only address the common law and not to address federal securities law. This has been done in the past. It is not my first pick, I just want to make you aware of it as a possibility. Commonly tested areas include pre-incorporation contracts, formation of a corporation (demure, defacto and by estoppel would need to be discussed) and what I refer to as “tack on issues” where you have to answer short answer calls like: “whether stockholders who own a particular class of stock can force the corporation to pay a dividend.” These are typical short answer questions that you need to be prepared to handle in Business Organization. Another example of a short answer/tack on type issue is whether it was proper for the corporation to deny access to the books (the shareholder’s right to inspect records) to a shareholder. This is one of the challenges of Business Organizations – there are several tack on issues that the bar examiners can test. The best way to prepare for this is to review past essays and to know these tack on issues.
Obviously, anything could be tested this bar round. I never claim to be able to predict the bar exam. I think it is just as likely that you would see Wills repeat on the July bar exam as you would see a Community Property essay – so be prepared for it all.
I wish you all the best in these final days and on the actual bar exam!
Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar Exam Cram Session and Bar None Review
(213) 529-0990 and

Bar Exam Tips: Where to Focus in the Final Days

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Hello All,

Thank you for following my blog. If you are about to take the July 2015 bar exam then you are undoubtedly getting at least a little nervous. This is completely normal. As it gets closer and closer to the bar exam and you are down to a matter of days, it is increasingly important that you control your focus and that you have a plan. If you have been following this blog you will know that I do not believe that memorizing 150 page outlines for 15 subjects is an effective or realistic way of preparing for the bar exam. You need to have your material that you are memorizing condensed down to what you actually need to know and what you can actually use on the bar exam when writing an essay or analyzing an MBE. The shorter and more concise definitions and rule statements you can have memorized – the better.

Think about it this way – if you are trying to analyze an MBE from a one paragraph definition or rule (and this is what many – if not most – bar prep courses provide) it will be very difficult to do. The same goes for writing a passing or above passing essay. You simply do not have time to include long, unwieldy rule statements. You need to be succinct, to the point and clear. One of the most effective ways to achieve this on the essays is to use what I call “working definitions” – these are definitions that are complete, but are not longer than necessary and as a result are clear, do not confuse the grader, do not take a long time to write down and are effective because your point is clear. If you are using clear and succinct definitions, your analysis will become more clear and concise as well. This is really critical.

The next really important thing to focus on in the coming days (and I mean laser focus) is how you are going to approach each essay topic. Do you have an approach for Defamation, for example? Do you have an approach for Products Liability? Do you have an approach for a Contracts formation problem? These are the things that you should be thinking about and working on in the coming days so that you are prepared for how to attack and write a passing answer for any essay topic.

Memorizing long, unwieldy outlines at this point is not a good plan. Your MBEs should be in shape (or come into shape) by your simply doing MBEs and memorizing shorter rule statements. Your success on the essays will be dependent upon your ability to identify the issues and whether you have an approach for each topic (sub topics like defamation and products liability – as opposed to an approach to all of Torts). This information is not to send you in a panic. You can start creating shorthand approaches for each topic now and be ready in a week – truly. But, remember that you need to prepare for the actual test – you will not be writing out a contracts outline on exam day – you might be asked to write a Contracts essay – but not an outline. So keep this in mind in the coming days as you prepare and work on memorization.

And, if you are at a loss for these things, we still have room in our final Bar Exam Cram Session. We address all of these things, provide you with working definitions and approaches that reflect what the California bar examiners have historically embraced on the essays. These same definitions and approaches make navigating the MBEs easier as well because you are working from a more succinct and concise version. Our students credit their passing to this two day course. We also provide you with a study plan that tells you what to do every day leading up to the bar exam so that you maximize your study time. To register or for more information, visit our site:

Thank you again for reading the blog and all the best to everyone who is studying for the July 2015 bar exam!

Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar Exam Cram Session and Bar None Review
(213) 529-0990 and