California Bar Exam Predictions: Back By Popular Demand

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Hello All,

Our bar exam “predictions” are back by popular demand. First of all, I do not claim to be able to predict which subjects will be tested on a given bar exam round. That being said, I have had a pretty high rate of accuracy in my “predictions” over the years.

No good bar review provider would suggest that you direct your course of study based upon bar exam predictions. Instead, you must be prepared for all topics.

Still, each year, I provide my students with these projected scenarios. And, over the years, we have had a very high level of accuracy in these “predictions”.

It is my intent to make these “predictions” . . . or what I like to call projected essay scenarios . . . available here. If you subscribe to this blog you will receive updates on new predictions and bar exam tips.

For more information on bar exam predictions, see the post below.

Good luck to everyone who is waiting for bar results!


Lisa Duncanson
Bar None Review
(949) 891-8831

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:

Good luck in your studies!


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

California Bar Exam: 2012 February Bar Exam Workshops

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Workshops for the February 2012 bar exam will be held after November 18, 2011

Our “How to Pass the California Bar Exam Workshop” will be held soon! Call (949) 891-8831 to pre-register. We will also post upcoming workshop dates here.

Bar None Review offers several different workshops throughout the year. Our workshops cover essay writing for the California bar exam as well as strategies and techniques for the MBE portion of the exam. Students receive free MBE handouts, free bar exam writing templates and have the opportunity to meet with our course founder. Space is limited. Workshops are held in Orange County and Los Angeles County. Workshop dates and times will be announced.

In addition to our free workshops we also offer courses to specifically address the needs of the repeat bar exam taker:

The Performance Maximizer Program: This two day course provides students with a proven system to tackle the performance test. We take our students, step-by-step, through each type of performance test. By the end of this course, students will be prepared for anything that comes their way. Our students learn how to approach the many different types of performance tests, how to set up their exam, how to effectively manage time, how to determine which issues should be discussed, how to organize and structure each performance test answer and how to format performance test answers. Students are taken, step-by-step through several performance tests. Course fees are $595.00 and include all course materials (including our Performance Test Maximizer Workbook), online access to our performance test library, grading of performance tests, class room instruction, study plans and our proprietary approach to the performance test. For more information on course dates contact us at: or (949) 891-8831.

Essay Exam Workshops: Bar None Review provides essay workshops for all bar tested subjects. We are now making these workshops available separately, outside of our comprehensive bar review program. Each essay workshop includes our proprietary bar exam templates and specific exam approach for each topic. In addition, students receive essays and model answers, issue analysis and coverage of each essay. Students are taught how to identify the relevant issues, how to set up their answers and write in the style of the California bar examiners.

Score Maximizer Program: Dates and times to be announced. The Score Maximizer Program is designed for repeat bar examinees. Students begin their studies with an evaluation of their scores from their past bar examination and an initial private consultation. After this bar exam score analysis and consultation, Bar None Review will prepare a study plan to address the student’s needs.  The study plan is designed to attack problem areas while maintaining and developing strengths.  Students attend weekly workshops and receive private mentoring and tutoring along with exam grading. This combination allows students to make quick progress. Available on site (live in Orange) and online via home study.

Exam Grading Options: Bar None Review provides exam grading. For more information regarding exam grading options, contact our office at: (949) 891-8831.

For additional course information, see our website or call (949) 891-8831.