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

Leave a comment

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


California Bar Exam Tips: A few words about essay “predictions” and studying . . .

Leave a comment

First of all, my heartfelt thanks to those of you following this blog. We have now had over 300,00 views – I am grateful and humbled.

Predictions. First of all, no one can predict the bar exam. I do publish what I think are possible essay scenarios. I will begin providing these essay scenarios in the coming days. However, you should be prepared for every topic – because any topic  can be tested. In fact, topics that were just tested on the July 2012 bar exam will likely show up again on the February 2013 bar exam. It is not likely to see all of the same subjects, of course. But, it is extremely likely to see some. Therefore, rule number one for those of you who are studying for the February 2013 bar exam should be to assume anything is testable (DO NOT presume that since something was tested the last bar round that it will not rear its ugly or pretty head again this very next bar round).

We are holding our last Bar Exam Cram Session tomorrow (Saturday, February 16th and Sunday, February 17th). There are still some seats left, should you wish to enroll, please contact Viktoria at (213) 529-0990 or email us at:

Since I will be teaching all day tomorrow and Sunday, I will likely not post here again until this coming Monday.

Therefore, I would like to address what you might consider doing this weekend (study wise):

1. Do not allow yourself to let the stress of the bar exam get the better of you – actively push fear and negativity aside – you will end up retaining far more material if you maintain a positive and hopeful attitude.

2. STUDY. This is an obvious one. However, how you study at this point can make a critical difference. Memorization is obviously a very important part of success on the bar exam. However, what many examinees fail to do is to read essay exams and answers. All too often examinees spend most of their focus on reading outlines, memorizing outlines and far too little time on actually gaining an understanding of the law and how the examiners test each topic.

In order to succeed: it is critical that you are able to 1) identify the issues (this requires exposure to past bar exam questions so that you can see how the issues arise) and 2) that you are able to resolve the legal issues presented. These two points may seem really obvious. However, many examinees spend all of their final days of preparation reviewing their outlines rather than reviewing essays. The bar examiners are far more interested in your ability to identify and resolve legal problems than they are with your ability to memorize and spit back rules. Rules are important. However, it is critical that you are able to evidence an understanding of the concepts that are tested. One of the best ways to improve your issue spotting and your ability to write (and set up) a successful essay answer is to study past essay questions and answers. This is really important.

Think about it this way: on exam day, you will not be asked to write out a property outline or a wills outline or a contracts outline. Instead, you will be asked to write an answer to an essay. You can only do this successfully if you are able to spot the issues. I am not saying that memorizing outlines is useless. But, I urge you to read through as many essay exams and answers as possible in the coming days. The reason? You will learn how the issues arise (and how to successfully resolve the issues) far more readily from the actual test than you ever will from an outline. You will also learn valuable insight into how to organize your own answers. It just makes good sense.

Predictions (with a caveat that there is no such thing as being able to predict the bar essay tested topics):

While you are studying this weekend, I would suggest a good review of property (1. review a reasonable outline – not a phone book sized outline, but a reasonable sized outline AND, 2) review property essays). I am leaning towards the possibility of perhaps an Easements exam or Covenants and Equitable Servitudes . . . many are predicting Property. I am continually revisiting what was tested most recently, least recently etc. Of course there is absolutely no way anyone can actually predict this test. However, I think that Property is a very possible subject for testing (many would be predicting this) and I think that something in the area of Easements is very possible.

Good luck to all who are studying for the February 2013 bar exam! And, stay tuned for more posts, tips, and yes, “predictions” . . . but, PLEASE, prepare for all subjects.

All the best,

Lisa Duncanson
The Bar Exam Guru
Bar None Review
(213) 529-0990
(949) 891-8831

California Bar Exam: Two Day Bar Exam Cram Sessions!

Leave a comment

Coming soon: Two Day Bar Exam Cram Sessions!

Attendees receive a set of our Bar Exam Cram Sheets, all essay predictions, two weeks of email support leading up to the bar exam, essay approaches and a ten-day study plan!

Stay tuned for more information!

Bar Exam Cram Session dates and locations:

Saturday, 2/9/12 and Sunday, 2/10/12 (Torrance, California)

Saturday, 2/16/12 and Sunday, 2/17/12 (Los Angeles, California)

For more information, call (213) 529-0990 or email at:


California Bar Exam Tip: California Bar Exam Model Answers Published in Los Angeles Daily Journal


The Los Angeles Daily Journal will publish our model answer to the Community Property/Professional Responsibility Question (essay number two) from the July 2012 bar exam in their “New Lawyer Supplement” bar exam results issue. The issue is available at all California law schools. We will also be happy to send you a copy of our model answer via email. Good luck to those of you who are waiting for results from the July 2012 California bar exam!

Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(949) 891-8831 or (213) 529-0990

California Bar Exam Tip: What to do while waiting for bar results

Leave a comment

Hello All,

With the July 2012 bar exam results just around the corner, many of you who are waiting are wondering whether you should study while waiting for results, and, if so, what you should study.

For guidance as to whether you should study, see my prior post here.

If you have decided that you feel the need to study during the coming weeks leading up to the bar exam, here is what I recommend:

1. Take one or two topics and simply begin conducting a light substantive review of those topics. I recommend starting with a favorite topic – something that comes easily to you.

2. If you have decided to begin studying now, keep in mind that the point of studying now, is to provide yourself with a form of insurance, should you find yourself needing to take the bar exam again. Should you find out on the 16th that you did not pass the bar exam, then you will be ahead of the game because you have already begun some studying. And, if you do pass, then you really won’t care that you gave up a few hours here and there in the weeks leading up to results. The point is not to create anxiety, but instead to alleviate anxiety. So, the goal isn’t to study for hours and hours each week leading up to the 16th. Instead, simply take on one or two subjects. Spend an hour tomorrow morning (Saturday) simply reviewing one subject. Use it as an opportunity to shake off some cobwebs and then move onto the rest of your day. Do the same thing on Sunday morning and you will have put in two hours of study this weekend.

3. If you really have a definite feeling about your performance on the last bar exam – you are just certain that you did not pass – then  I would suggest completing MBEs. I do not recommend that you conduct an extensive substantive review prior to completing MBEs. Instead, start with Torts and complete one MBE at a time – pick the best answer choice and then immediately check the explanation to see if you were correct or not. Initially you will likely miss more questions now than you were missing right before the exam. However, most of the students that I work with who are repeating the bar exam are able to get right back to the scores they were getting in practice the week before the last bar exam, by simply doing practice MBEs for about 10 to 14 days. Be sure to use MBE sources you have already used previously – this way you will be able to compare your practice scores now to where you were in practice the days leading up to the bar exam.

4. Try to make it a game. When you are completing practice MBEs tell yourself you are going to pick the correct answer and then really focus on the fact pattern, carefully read the call of the question and focus on picking the best answer. Be sure to remain positive. Again, the point of studying now is to alleviate stress not increase stress. Much of this will simply come from your attitude about beginning your studies.

Remember to do the MBEs one at a time to get the correction value – it will cause your scores to go up more quickly than doing 30 or 50 at a time AND it is less painful to do one at a time (sitting and tackling 50 MBEs in one session is pretty tough after a long break from studies and a likely lack of familiarity with the questions). Remember also that your MBE scores will usually go back up to where you were right before the exam with or without substantive review – the students I work with who are repeaters generally have their percentages back to where they were right before the exam simply by doing and correcting the MBEs.

There is no right or wrong way to return to your studies. But, I do recommend that you ease into it by simply putting in one or two hours over the weekend. Be positive about it, go somewhere you enjoy studying and tell yourself that this is just bar exam insurance – if you find out on the 16th that you passed the bar exam you really will not care about a few hours lost to studying.

All the best to all who are waiting for results!


Lisa Duncanson

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

California Bar Exam: Evidence Outline With California Distinctions

Leave a comment

Hello All,

We have had many requests for our Evidence Outline. As a result, we are now making our Evidence Outline available for sale outside of our bar review program. Bar None Review’s Evidence outline is the only outline available for the California bar exam that combines both the Federal Rules of Evidence and California Evidence Code into one, comprehensive outline including color coded distinctions (all California distinctions are in red and highlighted in yellow (see excerpt below).

We have done all of the work for you. The outline is easy to follow and is printed in color so that the California distinctions are easy to review. This outline is excellent both for the MBE as well as the Essay portion of the California bar exam (for the MBE portion, simply ignore the red California distinctions, for the essay portion, the California distinctions are incorporated into the body of the FRE outline where ever there is a distinction to be made).

BNR’s Evidence Outline with California Distinctions. We’ve done the work for you and incorporated all of the CEC distinctions into the Federal Rules, including Calif Prop 8.

Evidence Outline Excerpt: All California distinctions are noted in red and highlighted in yellow to make for easy review.

To order your outline, call 949-891-8831 or send an email to

The Evidence Outline with California Distinctions is available for $129.95 plus shipping.