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

July 2014 Bar Exam Predictions: More Final Thoughts and Best of Luck to You!

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Hello All,

All the best to everyone taking the bar exam tomorrow! Remember to stay positive and focus on doing your best, you can do it!

There is still time to join our July 2014 Bar Exam Tips List:

Each bar round I pick a test location and meet up with my students after day one of the bar exam. During this meeting I go over my revised essay predictions for day three (based upon what was tested on day one’s essay) and provide tips on where to focus your studies for day three of the exam.

I also provide an email version of this that I make available to my enrolled students who are at other test locations. This year, I will also make this available to blog followers. If you would like to receive this information, you can join our list here:

Please be sure to select “yes” or “no” in the drop down menus below and click on the “submit” button at the bottom of the form to be added to our list. Be sure to see more exam tips below this form.

Ontario Test Location Bar Exam Meetup:

If you would like to attend our Ontario Bar Exam Meet Up, we have a few spaces available. Send an email to me at: and we will get back to you on a first come, first served basis.  

Okay, and now a few more exam tips list: Areas that I have not mentioned outside of my class sessions include: the tracing rules (from Remedies – First in, First Out, Lowest Intermediate Balance Rule, Replenishment Theory) and Fifth Amendment Takings (specifically what is known as a “Regulatory Taking”). These two areas have not shown up in some time on the bar exam.

If you were to have the tracing rules tested, you would have an essay with a commingled bank account. If you were to be tested in the area of Regulatory Takings you would have a regulation that took away (limited, decreased, etc.) some use of the land. Past exams have included: an ordinance that provided the public the right to picket on private property and also statutes that limited land development due to a need to protect the habitat of an endangered species. If you were to see something like this, you would need to address the Fifth Amendment Taking issue and explain that while the statute or ordinance does not amount to an “actual physical taking”, the landowner may have a claim under a regulatory taking theory (this still allows for “just compensation”).

A little more on Property . . .

Property – As I mentioned in an earlier post, Property could repeat on the July 2014 bar exam (it was tested on the February 2014 bar exam). So if Property is tested tomorrow or on Thursday, what might likely show up? Well, Landlord/Tenant is one of the most commonly tested areas of Property. So, that is always fair game. However, Easements (it has not been tested in quite some time) is very possible (either alone or in a possible land sale contract setting or even with Landlord/Tenant). And as I mentioned in an earlier post, Covenants and Equitable Servitudes are possible.

If you were to get an essay on Easements and it was in the land sale context – the scenario could go like this: Betty is granted an easement by Grant for a 20-foot road. She receives this easement by express grant, but never records. Betty uses the road and ultimately paves a thirty-foot wide road and begins using it for part residential and part commercial use. Grant sells his land (the servient tenement, the land that is burdened by the easement) to Buyer. The issues become 1) Does Betty have a valid Easement, 2) Does Buyer take the land subject to Betty’s easement etc.The above scenario generates many discussable points.

To determine whether Betty has a valid easement you should follow the Easements approach:

1. Is the easement appurtenant or in gross? (this should be a very short discussion)

2. Is the Easement affirmative or negative easement? (this should be a very short discussion)

3. Creation – how was the easement created (PING)?

4. Scope – what is the scope of the easement and was the scope exceeded – or was the easement overburdened?

5. Was the easement terminated?

With respect to whether Buyer takes the land subject to Betty’s easement will likely require a few discussions: 1) a discussion of notice (actual notice, inquiry notice and constructive notice) and potentially recording act statutes and 2) a potential Warranty Deed discussion where you discuss the present and future covenants (six total).

**Incidentally, I think that an essay involving an Easement is just as likely an essay testing scenario in Property as is a straight Covenants/Equitable Servitudes essay.

Further Predictions for day three: I will continue posting on my blog through the bar exam (but, to get the complete inside view, please sign up for our tips list). After I know what was tested on day one, I will provide my suggestions of areas to focus on for day three’s essays (revised predictions for day three’s essays). However in order for me to do so, since I am not sitting for the test, I need to hear from examinees as to what was actually tested. My students will contact me, but, the more examinees I hear from, the more I will know and the more focused I can be about making suggestions for areas to study on day three.

Help me help you: So, if you have a moment, please feel free to email me on Tuesday during your break with your thoughts on what was tested. The more I know, the more I can offer to you. I can be reached via email at:

Hang in there, I know these last hours can be tough, but, be positive and believe in yourself!

Best of luck to all who are taking the bar exam! Thank you for the following and for your positive feedback via email – it is greatly appreciated, I love hearing from you!

Lisa Duncanson

Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(213) 529-0990 and

California Bar Results February 2014: What Should I Do If I Just Failed The Bar Exam?

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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: OUR NEXT FREE “How to Pass the California Bar Exam Workshop” will be held on May 22, at 7 pm in the city of Torrance, California, to register for this free workshop, click here.  And, for tips on how to create a study plan, click here.

We offer a variety of course options (including a live course designed specifically for the repeat taker as well as home study options, tutoring online and in person, The Score Maximizer Program, Performance Test Courses, Attorney taker bar review and of course our Bar Exam Cram Sessions). 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 – contact me (Lisa Duncanson) directly at:

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. For tips on how to create a study plan, click here.

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
(213) 529-0990

California Bar Exam Results: February 2014

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Hello all,

Congratulations to all who passed the February 2014 California bar exam! So proud of testimonials like this that have been coming in since last night! We are so happy for our students and look forward to helping more student pass the July 2014 bar exam!

There is still room in our free “How to Pass the Bar Exam” workshop this coming Thursday as well as our Bar Exam Cram Session on May 31st and June 1st enter promo code: GURU for a $50.00 discount!

“To Lisa & the rest of the Bar None Review Staff:

WE did it! You have helped, yet again, countless people pass the California Bar Exam. Congratulations!

I would like to truly thank you for everything you have done and all the efforts you put forth to help me through this hectic process. After being unsuccessful after my first attempt at the CA bar, I honestly did not know where to turn or what to do to improve my performance. After spending money and dedicating my life to one of the “big-box courses,” I felt defeated. And then, I found you.

From our first meeting at your free workshop, you made me believe that I could do this, and that the bar is not something to be feared, just something you need to understand to pass.

During the course of our studies, you continued to make me feel like I could pass the exam and gave me every tool necessary to do so. Most days, I was even excited to open your materials and get started. I learned more than I ever thought I could and even felt semi-confident during the exam. Ok, afterwards I was a wreck, but who isn’t!

When I saw those green letters appear on the screen last night, that my name appeared on the pass list, I couldn’t have been happier. I have been waiting for this day for years and owe it to you.

From my heart, I thank you, Lisa.”

Chelsee Montgomery, Esq.

California Bar Exam Predictions: July 2013 Bar Exam – Part One

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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:

Today, this blog will likely reach over 400,000 views. I am deeply humbled by the following. It truly gives me great satisfaction to be able to reach so many and to provide assistance to those who are in the midst of their bar studies.

A few caveats about my “predictions” . . . 

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. Know that no one can predict what will be tested on the bar exam. And, anyone directing their studies completely around what someone has “predicted” is not making a sound bar exam prep decision. That being said, it cannot hurt to entertain potential essay scenarios – especially if this causes you to seek out examples and to improve the focus and intensity of your review. You should, of course, be prepared for any subject as any subject can be tested.

My commitment to my enrolled students: 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 year, 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, As I have done in the past year, 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.

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

Constitutional Law: Note: this was on my list of possible repeat topics for the last bar exam. It did not repeat and therefore, now that it has been skipped for an entire bar round, it is a subject that many are predicting. I also think that Constitutional Law is a very likely subject for testing. Possible areas of testing within Constitutional Law: I think an essay that requires you to address the constitutionality of a statute (state or federal) which can then require you to address due process (both substantive due process and procedural due process), commerce clause, dormant commerce clause (if it is a state statute regulating an interstate activity). While this is not the only area that could be tested, it is an area that the bar examiners have not tested as recently as some of the other testable areas. Free Handout: I provide a free downloadable approach for determining the constitutionality of a state or federal statute –  this approach will tell you when you should and should not address 11 Amendment immunity and provides a checklist of the order of things to go through in writing an exam like this – often students do not understand how a constitutional law question can bring up many different issues – 11th Amendment Immunity, Due Process, Equal Protection and Commerce Clause OR Dormant Commerce Clause can all very easily be tested on the same essay exam. So it is often not a matter of which you discuss but, how quickly you can manage to discuss all of these topics. I will be making this handout available again through this blog later today.

Evidence (or as I like to call it: Off to the races):  Like most people would predict, I am leaning towards an Evidence exam. Transcript style has not been tested in some time so I would not be surprised if you see that. Bear in mind, most are predicting this topic. As a result, most have given this area a bit of extra treatment in their review. Evidence essays are typically racehorse exams. This is important to keep in mind because you will need to work quickly and begin writing your answer as soon as possible to allow for enough time to address as many relevant (sorry for the bad pun) issues as possible. Be sure to know your form objections (for example: leading, non-responsive, assumes facts not in evidence, etc.). A great way to prepare for any essay tested subject is to review past essay exams. This is particularly true of Constitutional Law and Evidence. By reviewing past exams you can develop an efficient approach (which is necessary for both of these topics as both typically involve many issues on just one fact pattern).


Every bar round, the bar examiners repeat subjects from the prior bar round. Therefore, you should not eliminate any topic or presume that a subject will not be tested this July simply because it showed up on the last bar round or, showed up on the last two consecutive bar rounds. That’s right – subjects repeat sometimes back to back – three times. Civil Procedure has appeared back to back three times as have many other subjects. Therefore, I would not be surprised – nor should you be surprised – if you were to see either Civil Procedure OR Criminal Law – tested again (for a third time in a row) on the this next bar exam. Below are a few scenarios to consider should you see either Civil Procedure repeat or Criminal Law repeat:

Civil Procedure could come up again:  Some of the most commonly tested issues in civil procedure are: jurisdiction and collateral estoppel and res judicata. 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. 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, it is not all that unusual that it has not come up in a while. Still, it is an area (Class Actions) that I would be certain to be familiar with in the event that it is tested. Even though class actions has been absent for many bar rounds, it is still no more likely in my mind, than jurisdiction or Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata. What about California Civil Procedure? Well, one area that has yet to be tested on the California bar exam is the area of SLAPP Suits and Anti-Slapp Motions. I will write more about this possible area of testing in the coming days. In the meantime, I would give it a quick review.

Civil Procedure Tip: 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 – especially – crossed with Criminal Procedure could come up again: Criminal Law was tested last on the February 2013 bar exam and on the July 2012 bar exam. However, Criminal Procedure has not been tested recently and neither has a murder exam. (The  February 2013 exam tested accomplice liability heavily and did not include any criminal procedure and the July 2011 exam tested larceny and other possession crimes but, no murder). 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.

NOTE: I do not think it is incredibly likely that you will see both Criminal Law/Procedure and Civil Procedure on the July 2013 bar exam. However, I do think that each is as likely to show up – so be sure to review both topics – do not dismiss either subject.

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 (this should serve as a hint to one of the next topics on my “predictions” list).

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 posts 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 fairly 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
(213) 529-0990

California State Bar Exam Releases Answers to February 2013 Bar Essays

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Hello everyone,

The California bar has released their “selected answers” to the February 2013 bar exam.

You can view and download the February 2013 released answers here.

All the best to all who are studying for the July 2013 bar exam!