February 2013 Bar Exam Study Tips: Begin Your Studies Early

Hello Everyone,

If you are taking the February bar exam, then I recommend that you begin (if you have not already begun) your studies now.  It is never too early to start preparing for the bar exam.  If you are in your last semester of law school you are probably busy with your final classes and perhaps looking into or seeking employment opportunities.  While these are both important, you should not delay in preparing for your next major hurdle – that of passing the bar exam.  If you have not already chosen a bar review program, then you had better get going on that very quickly.  Whether you have enrolled in a course or not, I recommend that you begin your studies now.

Here is what I recommend (for first time takers):

1.     Prepare for your bar prep by determining where you will study when you are not in class (will it be your bedroom, an office, a library?  Think about it and make a plan).

2.     Make a list of your best and worst subjects in law school.

3.     Identify your strengths and weaknesses early (for example, do you have trouble with MBEs or with writing?  You ought to know by now which areas you have difficulty with in terms of testing.  This will be important as you will want to devote more time to the areas that present the most trouble).

4.     Set aside time now, each week, to study for the bar.  Your bar class will likely not begin until after you graduate from law school.  However, you should NOT postpone your studies until then.  Instead, begin taking practice mbes so that you can begin to familiarize yourself with the format of the bar exam and re-acquaint yourself with subjects that you have not studied in a long time. if you are currently in law school and about to take the February 2012 bar exam, I recommend that you devote four hours per week during the months of October and November to early bar study.

5.     Begin preparing your family and friends for your upcoming unavailability (see our post about “disconnecting” during bar studies).  Your family and friends know what it has been like to have you in law school.  They certainly remember that you have midterms and finals and that during those few weeks each year that you were probably unavailable or less available.  However, they may not have an appreciation for the battle that is ahead of you when you begin your preparations for the bar exam.  You will do yourself a great service in explaining to everyone now what this process will require.  Let your family and friends know that you will be unavailable once you begin your bar review program.

It is very helpful to prepare those around you for your absence.  I am not suggesting that you don’t talk to anyone at all for two months.  However, if you are serious about passing the bar exam, you will limit your social activity and focus on your studies.  To really have an excellent chance of passing the bar on your first attempt (or any attempt for that matter) you will need to study all day and everyday for two months.  During this two month period of time you will need to take breaks.  BUT, you will not have time to go out several nights a week, to take lots of phone calls, spend copious amounts of time emailing and text messaging and surfing the net.

Stay tuned for more advice in the coming days and weeks.  Also, if you are interested in receiving our free MBE handouts, send us an email at: pass@barnonereview.com

Congratulations to all of you who are about to graduate from law school and good luck to all who are awaiting bar results from the July 2012 bar exam!


Lisa Duncanson

Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(949) 891-8831

July 2012 California Bar Exam – Day Three!

Hello bar takers!

Congratulations for nearing the finish line. Right now you are probably writing essay 4 – I can’t wait to hear what it is. I know many of you will write to me on the break (thank you in advance for doing that). I am so curious to know the essay topics!

In the meantime – while I sit here waiting to hear from you – I want to share something with you that you probably do not know about the bar exam guru. First of all, I want you to know that my Mom put me up to this – she is a very persistent woman (she would have made a great lawyer – when she makes a case for something it is pretty much impossible to say no to her) :)

So here goes . . .

A few years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was devastating for me and my family. The cancer was aggressive and thus required aggressive treatment – chemo, surgeries, radiation  (yep – the bar exam guru was once bald – see below for a picture of me back then).

It was by far the hardest fight of my life. I am happy to say that I am now cancer free. I am back to work – 14 and 15 hour days, thank you very much – I am healthy and I am strong. On the two year anniversary of my diagnosis I completed a half marathon (wearing a shirt with a sign on my back stating: “Leaving Cancer Behind” and a large arrow pointing down to my  behind (I have to have a sense of humor about all of this – otherwise I would have just given up).

When I was studying for the bar exam, my Aunt died of breast cancer. So the concept of cancer taking my life was very real to me. She passed away a few weeks before the exam. I didn’t want to take the exam. But, my family encouraged me to take it saying: “it would be what your Aunt would want you to do, take it in her honor

So, I took the bar, and in spite of everything that happened (and didn’t happen) leading up to the exam, I was lucky enough to pass it. And then shortly after, I was lucky enough to be offered a job at a law school – doing THE thing I wanted to do the most – teach.

The short version of this story is that after teaching for a few years and also doing bar review on my own time, at no charge to our students, I decided that I was onto something and that I wanted to focus on teaching bar students – so I quit my comfortable job with great benefits and started Bar None Review.

I have worked with hundreds of students over the years. It has been very satisfying work.

I fought very hard to be here today. My family and friends fought hard too. Fighting cancer is not only draining physically and emotionally, it is extremely expensive. I had excellent health insurance (albeit very expensive as a self employed person), and yet there is so much they did not pay for. In fact, I have postponed a reconstructive surgery because the co-pay is three thousand dollars and I am still dealing with unpaid medical bills from the portions that insurance just simply did not cover. And while I am back to work full time  – and have been for some time now (and so, so incredibly grateful to be well) the financial fallout from a cancer diagnosis and a nearly two year battle is long lasting.

One of the most satisfying things for me is to help others. It is why I write this blog. I know there are so many missing gaps with bar prep courses and so I write here to try to help fill in some of those gaps and to provide you with some free advice and support. I am humbled by the following here and by all of your  emails, praise and thanks. I am truly grateful and I am SO grateful to be here, to be able to help.

I am not someone who is comfortable asking for help. But, if you have found my blog to be helpful to you and you are able to help me by making a donation of any size, I will be grateful. It will help me deal with the financial fallout that still affects my life today. Again, I am so humbled by your emails and following and I am so glad to be of help.

Here is my P.O. Box if you would like to make a contribution: Lisa Duncanson, PO Box 853, Huntington Beach, Ca 92648 or via Paypal by sending it to: pass@barnonereview.com (thank you to an examinee who suggested I make it possible to make a donation through Paypal)  as he put it: “People are not likely to use the mail . . . set up a Paypal account . . . “

I don’t know how to set up a direct link from here to Paypal, but, my Paypal account is linked to my email (above). Anything is appreciated. Thank you for the support.

I am anxiously waiting to hear from you about today’s essays – I will post again as soon as I hear what was on this morning’s test.

Wishing you all the very best!

And now for some bald photos! (Okay, maybe just one bald photo) :)

Hang tough this afternoon!

This is me (a couple of weeks ago) with my niece – I fought hard so she wouldn’t lose her aunt to breast cancer.

This was three years ago. During chemo you don’t always feel like eating, but, on this day I did . . . so glad those days are over – this isn’t easy for me to share, but, perhaps when you are taking the PT this afternoon you might find it a little easier being reminded that things could be a little worse :)

California Bar Exam Predictions: July 2012 – Part Three

Hell0 All,

So far I have suggested the following topics as possible essay scenarios (please see Parts One and Two below for details): Civil Procedure, Torts (perhaps Products Liability, but, anything is possible – defamation has not been tested in a very long time . . .), Criminal Law/Procedure and Community Property.

Here is a bit more on Civil Procedure (and yes, additional essay “predictions” or essay scenarios):

Civil Procedure (possibly In Personam Jurisdiction – since the last time it was tested was on the February 2006 bar exam – along with other potential issues – Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata are always testable. And, while I don’t think I mentioned it earlier, Class Actions has been absent for a long time as well). Just know Civil Procedure and, read my prior posts addressing Civil Procedure for more details.

Know all of the topics as well as you can – do NOT predict a subject is NOT going to be on the exam and fail to study that subject. Anyone who tells you that Property can’t be on this exam “because it was tested three bar exam administrations in a row” is flat out wrong. I am not predicting Property, but, you should be ready for it. Anything is possible . . . anything.  So, if you were to get Property, I would expect something that tested easements – perhaps in a land sale contract setting where you have a marketability of title issue (perhaps a general warranty deed discussion, notice and recording acts) or Covenants and Equitable Servitudes. These areas are not complicated. And, you might very well get tested on Property again. It is definitely not out of the question. So, just endeavor to review all that you can, don’t discount any topic and remember the bar examiners do not expect perfection. They do expect you to spot enough issues.

A few words about issue spotting: Your ability to issue spot is very, very important. Think about it . . . how can you be a good lawyer if you are unable to determine what the actual and potential issues are when given a particular set of facts? Your ability to evidence an understanding of the legal problems/issues and resolve these legal problems/issues is far more important than reciting exact rules. Show the graders that you understand the law by identifying the issues, using the facts and analyzing. This is where the points are – in your ability to identify the correct issues (both actual and potential) and apply the law (hopefully a decent definition, but, it does not have to be perfect).

The best way to improve issue spotting: The best way to improve your ability to identify the correct issues on the actual exam is to see how these issues come up in the context of actual past bar exams. I have written about this quite a bit – the value of reading past essays. If you do not know what to do for the remaining days, then spend a significant amount of your time reviewing (not testing yourself – just reading and reviewing) past essays and answers. Anything you read in the coming days you will remember on the actual test days.

Other Essay Possibilities:

Contracts and or Contract RemediesThe last time Contracts was tested was in July 2011. The July 2011 Contracts essay was a common law formation exam with no testing of remedies. While the examiners could very well test all of these same things again (common law formation, defenses to formation etc.), I think that a UCC formation and remedies exam is possible.

Also, take a look at hybrid contracts – where you have an important or significant part of the contract that is clearly a service (and therefore, governed by the Common Law) and another important or significant part of the contract (a moveable, tangible good) that is governed by the UCC. The test to use is the predominant purpose test. However – be aware of the fact that sometimes the examiners will give you a fact pattern that is a hybrid contract – where both parts of the contract (the part governed by the UCC and the part governed by the Common Law) are really both important and significant and therefore you can not simply just choose to apply the Common Law or the UCC – instead, you must treat it as a hybrid contract and apply both. When the examiners are testing you on a hybrid contract you will be given a fact pattern where this is obvious (or fairly obvious). For example, past exams have tested it in this way: Buyer contracts with Seller for the purchase and installation of a large turbine. The cost of the turbine is a majority of the cost of the contract. However, Seller is the only person/company that can install the turbine because it is being installed out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

So, applying the “predominant purpose test” you could go either way (that is what makes it a hybrid contract). For example, if you used the high cost of the good as a way to evaluate the value of the contract and determine that the predominant purpose of the contract was to get the turbine, then the UCC would apply. However, if you recognize that the part of the contract for installation services (while possibly a much lower percentage of the cost of the entire contract) is very significant because the seller is the only person or company that can install the turbine (the good) then there is a good argument that the services are what is most significant about the contract. The key is to recognize that this scenario generates a discussion of how it could be either the Common Law or UCC, that you will address the predominant purpose test and then recognize that in a situation like the above hypo, that they want you to address it as a hybrid contract.

So how would remedies come up in a situation like this? Breach of the contract would result in a remedies discussion – for example Specific Performance to deliver and install the turbine. There would be obvious problems here – feasibility of the court to supervise – for example. But, you would simply address all aspects of Specific Performance and take each required point (inadequate remedy at law . . . etc.) and explain each element – how it is met or how there may be a problem with the element being met – and keep moving through it.

Professional Responsibility (duh . . . but, watch out, maybe not this time . . .). Professional Responsibility is generally a given. However, on occasion, the bar examiners skip Professional Responsibility on the essays and leave it for the Performance Test alone. However, be mindful of how rare this is: out of the past 23 bar administrations, the California bar examiners skipped Professional Responsibility on the essay portion only twice (It was tested 21 out of 23 times – 90% of the time). Still, it was left off twice . . . so this is always a possibility.

Wills or Wills/Trusts - I know Trusts was just tested. But, subjects do repeat. While it is not my first pick of subjects to repeat from the February 2012 bar exam, it is a possibility. I think that either Community Property OR Wills (possible crossed with Trusts, which is very common) could be on this exam. When you look at the statistics either is equally probable. I am leaning a bit more towards Community Property, but, be sure to be prepared for Wills (and of course any topic) as well.

Possible Repeat Subjects: Remember the bar examiners can repeat any topic they wish to repeat – and – they do repeat topics. Property was tested on the past three bar exams – and could be tested yet again. However, of the subjects that I think are possibly most likely to repeat are Evidence and/or Constitutional Law and perhaps Trusts (if you have a Wills exam for example, Trusts could easily come up again in this context). Know your Evidence approach, know how to handle form objections – I could easily see you getting a transcript style Evidence essay or simply getting an essay that asks you about a privilege (for example, marital and spousal privilege could come up as a cross over issue with Criminal Law/Procedure or Community Property. Also, know how to deal with the constitutionality of a state (or federal) statute - a very possible area to be tested would be a state statute – perhaps testing the dormant commerce clause as well as other issues. Always, always, always the bar examiners can retest any of the prior subjects and they have – First Amendment Speech was tested three times, back to back – so anything is possible.

Okay that is it for now. I have received many emails and am doing my best to respond to everyone. There are a couple of questions that have come up repeatedly and so I will likely address these in a blog post (I won’t release your name, just the question).

Keep at it, you are in the home stretch. Above all, stay positive, believe in yourself and in your abilities. This is key. Resolve to be positive and to remain calm. Encourage yourself, reassure yourself, be your own cheer leader.

Best of luck to all who are studying for the bar exam. Please feel free to email me at: pass@barnonereview.com.


Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(949) 891-8831

California Bar Exam Predictions: Feb 2013 – Part One

First of all I want to wish you all the very best of luck in your studies this week and I want to thank you for following my blog. I am truly humbled by the responses from examinees who have sent emails – thank you so much. If you would like to reach me directly, please feel free to send me an email at: pass@barnonereview.com

If you have been following my blog you will know that I do not really like to call my “predictions” predictions. I do not claim to be able to predict the bar exam. I have simply come up with what I call essay scenarios that I think might be worth considering. In the coming days (today included) I will be releasing these essay scenarios.

Please understand that my students who pay to take my course do not appreciate it if I release our “predictions” weeks in advance to the world. They pay for the privilege of our insights – at least they see it that way. So it simply isn’t fair to give away part of what they pay for to everyone else for free. In past rounds I have not made this available outside of our course. However, last February, after being asked over and over again, and after discussing it with my paying students (how they felt about it) I decided to release “predictions” – or, possible essay scenarios.

So here is the plan, I will release the essay scenarios I have come up with over the coming days (one or two topics a day). To do anything else would really not be fair to my enrolled students. I hope you understand. Once I have released all of the essay scenarios that I think are likely, I will put together a comprehensive post of all of the predictions (just like I did for the February 2012 bar exam – here is the link to this post: February 2012 bar exam predictions – it is worth taking a look at for some of the areas that I addressed thatdid not come up as these may be more likely now).

So here are a few thoughts on what I think could be tested:

Last bar round, I felt strongly that Evidence or Constitutional Law could repeat. I felt a slight preference for Evidence and it was in fact slated

Since I released my predictions last time, there is now an expectation that I will provide these again this bar round. I will do this. But, I need to respect my paying students and so I can not simply give out all of my predictions today. (Last bar round, out of respect for my enrolled, paying students, I did not release my “predictions” publicly until the day before the bar exam).

Civil Procedure: This topic is being predicted by many and is sort of an obvious possibility. Most commonly tested issues in civil procedure are: jurisdiction and collateral estoppel and res judicata. The last time in personam jurisdiction was tested was in 2006. This exam is no longer on the California bar website. Incidentally, that administration tested Personal Jurisdiction (specifically: IPJ with a full minimum contacts analysis) and Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata. This is a very possible combination. Another area that has not been tested all that recently is supplemental jurisdiction (bear in mind that if supplemental jurisdiction is tested, it will likely be what I refer to as a “tack on” issue or call because it would not be a large part of the question, but rather a shorter call within an essay exam). Typically you would expect supplemental jurisdiction to come up in the context of a Federal Diversity Jurisdiction essay. I am leaning more towards an essay that has personal jurisdiction – since it has been since 2006 that the California bar examiners have tested In Personam Jurisdiction. But, anything is possible so be prepared for everything. Class actions has not been tested in a very long time – I keep thinking that is due, but, If you look at what is most often tested in Civil Procedure it is jurisdiction (PJ and SMJ and Venue) and Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata. So while class actions has been absent for many bar rounds, it is still no more likely in my mind, as jurisdiction or Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata.

Incidentally – be sure not to mix up Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel – make sure you know which one is issue preclusion and which one is claim preclusion. Here is one way to keep the two straight: the “C”s do not go together – in other words: Collateral Estoppel is Issue Preclusion and Res Judicata is Claim Preclusion. Should you get tested on this area – be certain to make note of the California (and minority) “primary rights” view with respect to claims. If you need further explanation of the “primary rights” view – please let me know and I will add a bit more here.

Criminal Law/Procedure: Criminal Law was tested last on the July 2011 bar exam. However, Criminal Procedure has not been tested since 2010 and neither has a murder exam. (The July 2011 exam tested larceny and other possession crimes but, no murder and no procedural issues). As a result, I think that a Criminal Law murder exam, crossed with a significant amount of Criminal Procedure is a good possibility. I also think that an exam with only Criminal Procedure is possible as well.

Okay, so that is it for now. Okay, well maybe not . . . make sure you know the California tests for value enhanced separate property businesses (Van Camp and Pereira) . . . more on this (Community Property) soon.

In the meantime, keep at it. Believe in yourself and stay positive. Maintaining a positive attitude in the days leading up to the exam is key. There is still a lot of time – use it well. You should expect any topic and be ready for any topic. To that end – please read my prior post about the importance of reading and studying past bar essays.

Clearly, no one should try to rely on predictions to guide their studies. You simply need to know everything as well as you can. Still, I think it can be helpful to have some possible essay scenarios to keep in mind especially in the few days leading up to the bar exam, just to have something new to focus on. Then in the event that you see any of it, you will feel good. And the odds that some of the above will be on the exam is pretty high (and that is not because I have some crystal ball, it is simply because there are only so many subjects, a person could throw a dart and get at least some right).

I hope this is helpful. Please, please understand that I give this out at this time as a way to be helpful and also to respect my enrolled students who are, after all, entitled to receive this information first. I wish you all the very best of luck.

Best of luck to you all!
Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review

California Bar Exam Tips: July 2012 Bar Exam Predictions are on the way!

Hello all,

I will be posting my “predictions” for the July 2012 bar exam later today.

In addition, I will post tips each day between now and the bar exam. Topics will include: how to study in the final days and hours, likely essay scenarios, as well as quick approaches for some of the possible essay topics.

So be sure to check back here on a regular basis.

Also, I am taking questions, so please feel free to email me if you have a question you would like to ask and I will do my best to answer it for you. You can email me at: pass@barnonereview.com (My enrolled students are my first priority. However, I will do my best to answer any questions that I can between now and the bar exam).

In the mean time, take a look at some of the study plans on this blog. It is very important to have a plan of attack for the remaining days leading up to the exam. While I have provided sample study plans, your plan can vary. It is more important that you have a plan for each day than your following every aspect of the suggested plans on this site. The key is to mix it up – rotate in multiple subjects into your review each day and be sure to spend a significant amount of time reviewing past essays – this is critical. Do not test yourself on these essays – simply read the fact pattern two or three times and then study the answer(s).

This is one of the best ways to prepare in the final days leading up to the bar exam. Most examinees make the mistake of spending all of their time cramming and memorizing the law and end up neglecting the essays. It is so important to see how the issues come up (how the issues are tested) on the California bar exam. No outline will accomplish this for you. And sadly, most examinees spend most of their time in outlines – divorced from the actual exam. My advice to you today and for next 7 days is to review as many past essays as possible. This is how you will improve your issue spotting and handling of the essays on the actual day. Also, it will greatly increase the likelihood that on the bar you will see essays that you have already seen all or part of before. How great would that be? You can make that happen by simply reviewing many essays every day.

Not only will review – right before the actual exam – of past essays improve your chances of spotting the correct issues, this essay review really is a substantive review. By reviewing four Civil Procedure essays in a row, you will have a much better understanding of how to approach the subject if it shows up on the exam. By the way, I am predicting Civil Procedure. This is a fairly obvious pick. Of course, it may or may not be there. But, if it is, it would probably be nice to know that the last time the California bar examiners tested In Personam Jurisdiction (the full minimum contacts analysis) was in 2006. And, this essay is no longer on the California bar exam website . . . interesting. This does not mean that Civil Procedure is a definite for the exam. But, it does mean that personal jurisdiction (specifically in personam jurisdiction) is due. Many things are “due” or “up”. All of this being said – no one can predict this exam. Nor should you direct your studies away from a topic because it isn’t on someone’s list of predicted topics. That would be very, very foolish.

So, read lots and lots of essay exams and answers. This will increase your issue spotting skills, serve as a substantive review that is in the actual context of the exam, and increase the chances of your actually seeing the exact or nearly exact essay or essays on the actual bar exam.

I will post again later today with my thoughts on what I believe is most likely to be tested. Keep in mind that anything can be tested. Do not dismiss any topic. First Amendment Speech was once tested three times back to back. Many other subjects have been tested three times in a row. Anything is possible. However, I will post what I think is more probable and provide essay scenarios of what I believe could come up on this exam.

Be sure to check back here for more and be sure to let others you know who are studying about my blog.

Remember that you can accomplish so much in these final days. This is really the most important time. You will be relying heavily on short term memory, so make certain that you study well in these last days. I am always stunned at how some examinees will say: “If I don’t already know it now, it is too late”. That could not be more untrue. It is NOT too late. Read essays, read essays, read essays!

I wish all who are studying for this exam the very best of luck!


Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review

July 2012 California Bar Exam: Free “How to Pass the California Bar Exam Workshop”

Hello All, 

June 2nd will conclude our series of free workshops for this bar round season as we will then need to focus exclusively on our enrolled students.

Our next, and final, “How to Pass the California Bar Exam” workshop will be held tomorrow, Saturday, June 2nd from 10:00 am until 12:30 pm in the city of Orange. This workshop will be taught by Lisa Duncanson (the author of this blog).

Workshop attendees will receive free handouts (including selected Bar Exam Writing Templates). Space is limited, but, at the moment there is still room in our morning workshop. To reserve your space, contact us at: (949) 891-8831 or via email at: pass@barnonereview.com

Note: if you wish to reserve a space this evening or early tomorrow morning, please send us an email and we will get back to you.

All the best to all who are studying for the July 2012 Bar Exam!


July 2012 California Bar Exam: Free “How to Pass the California Bar Exam Workshop”

Our next “How to Pass the California Bar Exam” workshop will be held Thursday, May 31st from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm in Orange, California.

Workshop attendees will receive free handouts (including selected Bar Exam Writing Templates). Space is limited. To reserve your space, contact us at: (949) 891-8831 or via email at: pass@barnonereview.com

Additional workshops to be held on:

Saturday, June 2nd – 10:00 am – 12:30 pm (How to Pass the California Bar Exam Workshop)

June 2nd will conclude our series of free our workshops for this bar round season as we will then need to focus exclusively on our enrolled students.

All the best to all who are studying for the July 2012 Bar Exam!


California Bar Results February 2012: What Should I Do If I Just Failed The Bar Exam?

NOTE: This is a repeat of a former posting, but relevant now, if you have just received failing results. Therefore I have posted it again. Good luck to all of you who are either repeating the bar exam this July or taking the bar exam for the first time this July. Time is on your side, especially if you utilize it. Here is my earlier post about “What to do if I failed the bar exam” – Also, please consider attending one of our free upcoming workshops: NEXT FREE “How to Pass the California Bar Exam Workshop” will be held on May 23, at 7 pm in the city of Orange, California.

Also, I will post rate sheets for our various course offerings here on this blog. However, you should wait until you receive your test scores before deciding upon what you need. For example, we offer a variety of course options (including a live course designed specifically for the repeat taker as well as home study options, exam grading only options, tutoring via Skype and online, Performance Test Courses – held live in both Orange County and Los Angeles). We will consider a Northern California Performance Test course based upon enrollment. However, again, I can not emphasize enough that you need to have your scores before making a decision. Best of luck to all.

What should I do if I just failed the bar exam?

If you have failed the bar exam, keep in mind that you are in good company. Also, realize that the bar exam is not an IQ test. Many very bright and hardworking examinees fail the exam. If you have failed, you will need to do the following:

1) Get past being devastated as quickly as possible – as harsh as this sounds, you really do just need to get back to work as soon as you can. Those that do, have the best chance of passing the next exam. Start by doing MBEs.

2) This is going to hurt, but – find out why you failed - this starts by getting your scores back from the bar. The bar will automatically mail score sheets to all examinees who failed the bar. This usually takes 1 – 3 days after bar results come out. When you get your scores, don’t panic and don’t make assumptions about any one section. You will receive both a raw score and a scaled score. Take the time to read the materials that come with your score sheet that explain the raw and scaled scores. See also, other posts on this blog about making it to re-read and interpreting bar scores. And, if you need help interpreting your scores, you can get it free through Bar None Review barnonereview.com or contact me (Lisa Duncanson) directly at: pass@barnonereview.com

3) Commit to taking and passing the next exam – in almost every case, I would recommend taking the very next bar exam. Obviously there are sometimes reasons to sit out a bar exam administration – but in most cases, the best advice is to take the very next exam. Think about it, the material seems like it has fallen out of your head right now – just think how hard it will be to put it all back together if you wait another six months – that would be a whole year since your last review – not a good plan.

4) Develop a plan of attack – Your plan might include taking another bar review course, hiring a tutor, or continuing your studies on your own. There are many courses available (assuming you already tried barbri) that cater to different needs – small classes, private tutorials. Do your research and due diligence before enrolling in a course. Ask for references, ask to see the course materials before enrolling, make sure the bar review provider is a good fit for your needs. And, don’t abandon your common sense – if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.But, whatever you do (take a course or study on your own) make a plan – figure out how many hours you will study each day, where you will study, how long will you have to review each topic, how many essays you will write each week, how many MBEs you will do each day, how many PTs you will write – figure it out, map it out and develop a plan.

5) Work hard - no matter how hard you worked the first time, you are going to have to work just that hard again. And, if in your honest assessment of your prior bar studies you conclude that you did not work hard enough – well then you are going to have to work harder. There simply is no magic bullet.


Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(949) 891-8831

California Bar Exam: February 2012 PTA

Hello All,

I have received an advance copy of Performance Test A (PTA) from the February 2012 bar exam. This was sent to me by the Los Angeles Daily Journal (an excellent legal newspaper) who received it from the California Bar Examiners. I received this advance copy because I was asked to write a model answer to PTA in the Daily Journal’s upcoming “Bar Results Issue”. The Los Angeles Daily Journal will publish a model answer for each essay exam as well as both performance tests in their upcoming “Bar Results Issue”.

I will provide a link to the Daily Journal’s Online Version of their model answers as soon as it is available.

Until then, for those of you who are interested, here is a copy of Performance Test A from the February 2012 bar exam: Performance Test A from February 2012 Bar Exam *

* Source: California State Bar Examiners and The Los Angeles Daily Journal.

Good luck to all who are waiting on bar results!

Lisa Duncanson

Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review

February 2012 California Bar Exam: Rehash About The Rehash

Hello All,

First of all, thank you to all who have been following the blog. And thank you to all who have written me personally. It is humbling to have such a large audience and I greatly appreciate your following.

I know some are waiting for a “rehash” of day three’s exams (at least some of you are – although, I am sure many would like nothing more than to not think about it at all.  And by now, maybe you have forgotten day three’s essays). In any case, a rehash there shall be.

I received many emails about day three’s exams. However, the recollections provided of the fact patterns have varied quite a bit. This makes providing a rehash (without the benefit of actually seeing the essays) pretty challenging. I pride myself on providing high quality content. And, the last thing I want to do is to ruin someone’s day by suggesting that they interpreted an essay (that I have not yet even seen) incorrectly.

So, I have decided to share with you some of what I believe to be the better breakdowns provided by actual examinees (with my own thoughts added – I will let you know when it is me and when it is an examinee’s interpretation of what was tested).

The California bar examiners are due to release the past questions (all essays and performance tests) any day now. At that point, I will be in a much better situation to provide my own interpretation of what issues were required.

However, in the meantime, I thought it would be helpful to share some of what I have received from some of the many examinees who took the time to write to me.

In addition to examinees writing in with their descriptions of what was tested, I have received many emails asking specific questions about the last exam. I believe that some of these these questions would be useful and so I will also post some of your fellow examinees’ questions (along with my answers). I will keep all email addresses private, of course.

I am still willing to address questions by email at: pass@barnonereview.com

I commit a certain number of hours each week to addressing questions at no charge and take all questions on a first-come, first-served basis.

Good luck to all who are waiting for bar results!  It can be a painfully slow wait to May 18th . . . hang in there!


Lisa Duncanson

Bar None Review


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