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

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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: pass@barnonereview.com

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

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