California Bar Exam Workshops

“How to Pass the California Bar Exam” workshop will be held Thursday, May 24th from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm in Orange, California.

To reserve your space, contact us at: (949) 891-8831 or via email at: pass@barnonereview.com

Additional workshops to be announced.

barnonereview.com

California Bar Results July 2011: 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 February or taking the bar exam for the first time this February. 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 visit our bar review website at: barnonereview.com and check out our calendar of workshops – we will offer a variety of free workshops for students taking the Feburary 2012 bar exam (some will be specifically geared to those who are faced with repeating the exam this February).

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

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.

Best,

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

California Bar Exam Tip: Essay Predictions

If you have read past postings, you will know that I believe it is not wise to base your studies on essay predictions. Instead, you should prepare for all subjects equally. However, this does not mean that it isn’t a good idea to know what has been tested in recent examinations or to develop a sense of which topics or combinations of topics might be likely scenarios on the upcoming exam. This just makes sense. You should know the test you are about to take extremely well.

Each bar round our students take a three-day, simulated bar exam. The exam is given under exam conditions. We use real bar exam questions for the exam. In preparing this mock bar exam, I review the past 6 bar administrations. I do this to determine which topics I will include in that bar round’s mock exam. I choose exam topics that I have not seen in recent administrations as I believe that these may have a greater likelihood of showing up on the next bar exam.

One of the certain things about the California bar exam essay section is this: each bar round the examiners repeat one or two (and sometimes even three) of the subjects that were tested on the prior bar exam. Usually it is at least two subjects that repeat. If you look at the past bar exam administrations you will see proof that the subjects repeat from one round to the next. As a result, it makes trying to predict the next set of essay subjects to be tested unrealistic. In addition, it means that you would be foolish to think that if a subject were just tested on the July 2008 bar exam, that this subject would not show up on the February 2009 bar exam.

Since the same subject will often be tested on the essay exam from one round to the next, it is important to review the past exams not in terms of which subject was tested (i.e., Torts, Criminal law, Criminal Procedure, Wills, Contracts etc.) but, instead in terms of which topic within a subject was most recently tested (i.e., Defamation? Negligence, Murder, 4th Amendment, 8th Amendment, Will formation, codicil, undue influence, Contract Formation, Common Law, UCC, Remedies, Conditions etc.).

This is what I look at when I am preparing our simulated bar exam for our students. And, this is also the same source that I go to in order to provide “predictions”. I try to be very careful with the word prediction in the bar exam context. First of all, it is misleading to even suggest that someone could predict the bar exam essay topics. But, if the bar examiners were going to test Property again on the February 2012 bar exam (it was tested on day three of the July 2011 bar exam) then perhaps the examiners would be more likely to test areas within landlord/tenant or easements.

Similarly, it would make sense that if the bar examiners have historically, over many years, tested certain areas, and one of those areas has been glaringly absent in recent years, then perhaps the examiners will test it soon. Just seems to make sense, doesn’t it? Well, I think it does. Still, this being said, I do not believe that you should place a great deal of stock or reliance on what anyone might predict for the exam. If it helps you think about possible scenarios, fine. But, if it is something that you use to direct your studies away from less predicted subjects or less likely expected subjects, then it is nothing short of dangerous. Be prepared for every subject and each topic within each subject.

Okay, I am not going to provide a list today of predictions. I will, however, pass along some of what I address in my lectures about areas that are probably worth a little extra attention simply because the bar examiners have not tested these areas in some time.

As I teach each subject in our bar review course, I let our students know which areas of that topic were tested recently and which areas have not been tested recently.

Then as the bar draws even closer, we spend time reviewing additional essays that have tested these very topics (the topics that have not shown up in a while). It is not that all will show up on the next administration, or that it would be wise to study only these areas. However, I know that our students reap a great deal of confidence from this exposure simply because when they do arrive at the exam and open their essay booklets, they will inevitably see some of these areas tested in exactly the same way on exam day. This is a great confidence builder.

Still, I constantly reinforce with my students that anything can be tested (for example, First Amendment speech and Murder essays have shown up back to back on not just two administrations, but three in a row in some years). Other topics have repeated in this same fashion. Therefore, while predictions are very tempting not only to make but to rely upon, it is not a good way to decide which subjects to review or study harder. Instead, study all of the subjects, of course.

I will do my best to provide postings about some of these subject areas that I believe the bar examiners might be more inclined to test on the upcoming February 2012 bar exam.

Incidentally, I do not intend to pass along every point that I make in my lectures regarding the essay predictions. I do not think that my students would think that was fair as they chose to enroll in Bar None Review and paid the associated fees. But, I will provide some information here when I can and to the extent that I think is both helpful and fair.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to leave a comment here on my blog or to email me directly at: pass@barnonereview.com

Good luck in your studies!

Sincerely,

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

Baby Bar Exam Prep (FYLSX), Law School Prep, California Bar Exam Prep – Free Workshops!

Hello Everyone,

Bar None Review’s free bar exam and law school prep workshops are on their way! If you are a law student and want to improve your writing, or a baby bar examinee in need of baby bar prep or preparing for the February 2012 bar exam, then we have a workshop for you!

Our upcoming workshops will be held in September and October. For more information contact our office at: (949) 891-8831 or send us an email to be added to our workshop notification list at: pass@barnonereview.com

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

California Bar Exam: Free Bar Exam Workshop on May 25th!

Hello Everyone,

Our next “How to Pass the California Bar Exam” workshop will be held next Wednesday, May 25th from 7:00 pm until 9:30 pm in Orange County. If you would like to attend, contact us at: pass@barnonereview.com or (949) 891-8831 and we will be happy to reserve a space for you and provide you with directions. Space is limited.

If you have submitted your score sheet for our free score review, please bear with us as we have received an unusually high number of score sheets this round. We are doing our best to get back to everyone.

Good luck to all who are studying for the upcoming July 2011 bar exam!

Best,
Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(949) 891-8831
barnonereview.com

California Bar Exam Workshop: “How to Pass the California Bar Exam”

Bar None Review will provide free workshops for the July 2012 bar exam online and at our Orange County classroom location.

Workshops cover strategies and techniques for writing above passing essay exams and performance tests as well as how to increase your MBE scores.

To participate in one of our upcoming free workshops, contact us via email at: pass@barnonereview.com

California Bar Results February 2011: 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 visit our bar review website at: barnonereview.com

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

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.

Best,

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

Day One Essays for the California Bar Exam: Wills, Con Law and Property

Hello All,

I have spoken to some of my students now and have learned that this morning’s essays were: Wills, Constitutional Law (Religion) and Property (landlord/tenant & covenants).

So . . . we predicted three so far, including the subtopics for both Con Law and Property. Not bad. (For more on “predictions”, see my earlier post from this morning, below).

Given what was tested today, I would think that you will see topics on Thursday that were tested on the July 2010 bar exam. As I mentioned in my previous post, usually each bar round includes topics that were tested on the preceding bar round.

I still think that Civil Procedure is a possibility (if not this bar round, then I would expect it for July). Also, typically each bar round there are three MBE topics tested. So far two have been tested (Property and Constitutional Law). Perhaps then we will see Evidence or Criminal Law/Procedure or Torts (maybe as a tort remedies or defamation essay) repeat from the July 2010 exam and show up on Thursday. We shall see. Obviously it is not realistic to think that one can predict this exam. But, we are excited that so far, today, three of our essay “predictions” were tested: 1) Wills, 2) Property (landlord/tenant & covenants) and 3) Constitutional Law – Religion (free exercise and establishment clause). While I have not seen these exams yet (obviously) it sounds like the Constitutional Law exam may have presented an issue with respect to compelling government interest since the backdrop for the First Amendment Religion claim was in the context of the military. The examiners may have wanted a discussion of compelling government interest having been met since national security is a compelling government interest. Again, since I have not seen this exam and am only hearing about portions of it from students, I can not be sure. But, clearly the topic coverage for today was: Wills, Property and Constitutional Law.

Professional Responsibility is usually tested on the essay portion of the bar exam. However, this might be the bar round where the examiners decide to drop this from the essay portion and instead cover it more extensively on the performance test. (Professional Responsibility has to show up on either the essay section OR the performance test section or both).

Once I hear what was tested on the Performance Test section for this afternoon, I will have a better idea of what I think should be expected on day three.

Again, I do not claim to be able to predict this test. I have over the years had a good grasp on what is likely simply because I study this test year after year after year. As a result, I feel as though I have a good sense of what to expect. But, truly, you have to simply be prepared for every topic.

If you are wondering what you should study or review tonight and tomorrow night (in preparation for Thursday’s essays), the answer is this: study your weakest areas. Think about it this way – ask yourself what would be the worst topic for you to get on Thursday morning? Whatever that subject is for you, that is the subject you should spend a little time reviewing. Ideally, you would skim all the topics in a short  review version (for example, our one sheets are one to three page condensed outlines of each topic). Whatever your source, try to do an overview of the subjects so that you feel comfortable on Thursday. And, if there are one or two topics that bother you more than other topics (topics you hope you will not get on Thursday) then study those topics over all others.

Above all, relax, do not doubt or second guess yourself . . . write, write and write as much as you can during each essay and performance test. Remember, the graders can only grade what you put down on the page (laptop or bluebook). The graders will not give you credit for the things that you thought of but, did not write on . . . so WRITE!

Good luck to everyone who is taking the bar exam this week!

Sincerely,

Lisa Duncanson

California Bar Exam Predictions: The February 2011 Bar Exam – Expect Some Cross-Over Essays and Repeat Topics from July

Hello All,

First of all, good luck to all of those who are taking the February 2011 bar exam.

While it is not realistic to think that one could predict the topics on the bar exam, there are subjects that seem to each round seem more likely to appear than others.

Here is our list of topics that might show up this round:

Property (Two of the most common areas of testing in property are: 1)  landlord tenant issues and 2) easement issues (which can include recording statutes – the application of which will determine whether a successor in interest takes land subject to an easement). For landlord tenant issues the typical scenario is a leasehold with a non-assignments clause in the lease, tenant subleases to a new tenant in spite of the non-assignment provision, new tenant fails to pay rent, and there are arguments for non-payment of rent – constructive eviction (as long as the tenant actually moves out), partial eviction (if tenant stays) or breach of warranty of habitability (so long as it is a residential lease, but, discuss even if it is in a commercial lease setting and explain that generally the warranty of habitability is not extended to commercial leases. Less common areas of testing are: equitable servitudes and covenants real, takings (regulatory takings are the most likely as this gives you more to discuss than a simple taking) and land sale contracts. Covenants and Equitable Servitudes have been absent from the test for a spell, so if property were tested, I would not be surprised if it were in this area or another area that has not been seen on the exam recently which is land sale contract issues (which can include mortgages, whether there is good title, recording statutes)
Wills (but, expect it to be an oddball question – the reason for that is that since it has not been tested as recently as some of the subjects, it is likely to be a topic that most people will expect or predict. Therefore, in my opinion, the bar examiners, if they test Wills this round, would likely test it in a less than straightforward way).
Constitutional Law (First Amendment Religion has not been tested in some time now. Also, constitutionality of a statute is a likely option for testing – this is always very common. If Con Law is tested and it is not a First Amendment issue, then Standing/Case or Controversy Requirements are likely)
Professional Responsibility (This is an obvious prediction since it is on nearly every bar exam. In 1994, the California bar examiners announced that Professional Responsibility will be tested on the written portion of each bar exam. Of course this could mean the essays or the performance test or both. On most bar rounds, Professional Responsibility shows up on at least one day of the essay portion of the bar exam. However, on a few occasions the bar examiners have tested Professional Responsibility only on the performance test section. This is more rare, but, is a possibility).

Civil Procedure (The California bar examiners have yet to test any California specific rules of civil procedure since the addition of this area to the test in July of 2007. As a result, it would be expected that something from the California specific areas of Civil Procedure would show up soon – even if it is to simply address a demurrer (which is motion that is only available under the California Rules – while there is a similar mechanism under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (motion for summary judgment, for example) it is something that could come up on the exam.

The most commonly tested areas of Civil Procedure are jurisdictional issues – specifically 1) subject matter jurisdiction and 2) personal jurisdiction (requiring a minimum contacts analysis).

Federal subject matter jurisdiction involves either Federal Question or Diversity based jurisdiction. Diversity Jurisdiction questions require you to address the amount in controversy and diversity of citizenship – this often brings up the following sub-issues: 1) with respect to amount in controversy: aggregation of claims to meet the amount in controversy requirement, combining the value of equitable relief (injunctive relief for example) plus a lower damages amount to meet the amount in controversy requirement. 2) diversity of citizenship: corporate citizenship often becomes an issue, requiring a discussion of principle place of business, the muscle test and the nerve center test to determine citizenship. Also, a person’s domicile can be at issue for purposes of diversity – college student moves away for college, or person moves out of state to care for a family member – these are typical scenarios.

Diversity Jurisdiction questions lend to testing of the following issues: joinder of claims and parties and removal or venue.

Of all the areas of civil procedure that have not been tested in a while – class actions is an area that has not been seen on the exam for some time. At some point, it will be on the exam again).

If one were simply to “predict” the subtopic of Civil Procedure by what has been tested most recently and least recently, then Class Actions (which has been absent for some time now), then Collateral Estoppel/Res Judicata and finally jurisdictional issues. That would be the order of what is likely simply based upon what has not been on the test in some time (and recognizing that jurisdictional issues were tested fairly recently. Still, this is not how the bar always tests – reaching back to the subtopic that has not been tested in a long time. Like I said above, it isn’t a good idea to think you can predict this test. However, there are areas that you want to perhaps give a little extra attention to).

Expect topics from the last bar administration to repeat on this bar exam – From the last bar exam administration, I would expect three topics to repeat (that would mean three from the following: Torts, Criminal Law/Procedure, Evidence, Professional Responsibility, Community Property, and Business Organizations). My pick for the repeats are: Evidence, Professional Responsibility and either Crim Law/Pro or Corporations.

I am not leaning towards Corporations, but, if it were to show up, I would think that the securities area (10b5 & 16b) could come up OR a fact pattern that lends itself to Securities but, you are told to apply on the common law – this would limit you to fraud, misrep and ultra vires issues.

While Torts is not my first pick for topics to show up on this exam administration, topics repeat back to back all of the time. (Torts was tested on the last bar exam and has been a frequent topic for testing in the past several years). However, if Torts were to be tested on this bar exam, I would predict either Tort Remedies or defamation. Also, I would not be surprised to see a Torts/Contracts/Remedies cross over. This is not unusual and is due at some point in the relatively near future.

Cross-overs – Expect to get a few (Cross-over essays were absent from the last bar exam administration. As a result, I would expect a couple of essays to test multiple topics on this bar round. An easy crossover topic is always professional responsibility. Other good candidates for crossovers are: Evidence, Community Property, Wills&Trusts and Criminal Procedure. These are very commonly tested as cross over exams).

Evidence always lends itself to a great cross over exam since it can come up in nearly any context – a property essay for example, “At trial, Hal attempted to admit the statement of Wilma . . . ” The upside of a cross-over exam is that typically the bar examiners provide separate calls that identify the different topics (for example: Can Hal prevent Wilma from testifying in the probate case? This is an example of how a marital/spousal issue can come up as a cross over exam in Wills). The key thing to remember is that it will not be harder to write an essay that is a cross over. In fact, it may be easier since the calls on a cross-over essay generally make the issues pretty clear.

“Frequent Flyers” Any topic can repeat from one bar round to the next . . . and, in fact, it is not unusual to see one topic three times back to back. Yep, that’s right, the same subject on a February bar round, again on the following July bar round and then again on the following February bar round. Most people are surprised by this and make the mistake of thinking that if something was tested on the last bar administration that it is not likely to show up on the next bar exam. This could not be further from the truth. Typically you will see three subjects repeat from one bar round to the next (either as a whole essay or as part of an essay on a cross-over essay). Of these repeating topics, there have been a few over the years that have appeared back to back a little more frequently than other topics. Evidence has appeared three times back to back, Civil Procedure has appeared three times back to back, Community Property, Constitutional Law and Criminal La/Procedure have all repeated back to back on three successive bar rounds.

I know, not what you were expecting, right? Well, it just goes to show that you need to be equally prepared for every topic.

So, these are my thoughts on this upcoming test. I have been providing my students with sample tests in these areas through out our course. I do not like to “predict’ the test as I think that is a very foolish way to study for the exam. However, there ARE some topics that have not been on the exam in some time and as a result, I make certain that my students see essays in these areas as well as the commonly tested areas. Our students begin every class day by writing a past California bar essay. I use these practice essays as a way to ensure that our students get the the actual bar examination and don’t see anything on the essays that they have not already seen, studied and written before. It makes taking the bar exam a much, much easier experience.

Okay, one more thought – the 8th Amendment has not been tested on the California bar exam in some time. This typically includes either 8th Amendment bail issues (common past areas of testing included: right against excessive bail, that the purpose of bail is to ensure the Defendant’s appearance at trial and NOT to punish the Defendant, also that there is not a constitutional right to lower bail for indigents. Another past common area for the 8th Amendment is Cruel and Unusual Punishment with respect to the imposition of the death penalty – here the examiners are testing the adherence to the guidelines for imposition of the death penalty. If this is tested, it is often tested along with peremptory challenges – based upon belief or not believing in the death penalty).

And, as I think of it, 6th Amendment issues are always a favorite. See the Criminal Procedure Exam Writing Template (found on the Bar None Review website under “Exam Templates” at http://www.barnonereview.com

Good luck to all who are taking the February 2011 bar exam!!!

Sincerely,

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

Bar Exam Review – Free California Bar Exam Workshop

Hello Everyone,

Bar None Review will offer a free bar exam workshop, “How to Pass the California Bar Exam”, on December 7th in Orange, California. Students will receive free bar templates. For examples and free downloads of bar templates, see our website: Bar Exam Templates

For examples and free downloads of bar templates, see our website: Bar Exam Templates

To reserve a space in the workshop, contact Bar None Review at: (949) 891-8831 or pass@barnonereview.com

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

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