If you are studying for the July 2014 bar exam, you have just under 40 days to prepare. This may not seem like a lot of time to study, but it really is – especially if you commit right now to make the very best use of the time remaining.
How will you ensure that you are ready for the bar exam this July? That is a question that many examinees fail to ask themselves. One of the most important things you can do right now is to take control over your studying. Think about what you will have to do on day one of the bar exam and think about what you need to do to be ready to do it. Are you ready to handle any essay topic that comes your way? Will you know what to write and how to start your essay if you were tested on say products liability or what if you see an Evidence Transcript Style essay – would you know how to approach it? These are questions you should be asking yourself right now and not waiting until a week before the bar exam to think about.
Incidentally, the odds of your seeing an Evidence essay on this bar exam are pretty high in my opinion. That being the case, what are you doing right now to prepare for that possibility? Most examinees are reviewing outlines and watching video tapes about now. I don’t recommend this as a sound approach. While reading outlines should have a place in your studies, far too many examinees never leave their outlines and end up completely at a loss when it comes to writing their essays on exam day. It is critical that you get out of your outlines, turn off the videos, and review past California bar exam essays and answers. One of the very best ways to prepare for an Evidence essay (or any essay) is to simply study past essays. Learning the material in the context of the test will not only be a valuable substantive review, it will also enable you to see how the issues come up so that on exam day you will have a better likelihood of addressing the correct issues.
A bit about the predictions and what to expect:
I will be posting more predictions as it gets closer to the bar exam (I know, it is close already, but I do promise this material to my enrolled students first). Until then, read this post and then take a look at last February’s predictions – anything that did not show up on the last bar exam that I was leaning towards as possibilities for February, are even more likely now (at least that is my opinion). And, remember, it never makes sense to study around what is being predicted. Anything could be tested – so your goal is to be ready for whatever comes your way.
Side note: In February the bar examiners tested in the area of subjacent and lateral support. Prior to the February 2014 bar exam, one of the last times the bar examiners had tested subjacent and lateral support was in 1989. We provided this 1989 essay to our students. Every bar round I look the exam and think about areas that have not come up in many years and look for examples of those issues in past exams and I provide these exams to my students. As you can imagine, it is quite something to be on exam day and see an exam that you have just read and studied because someone drew it to your attention. It provides a huge boost of confidence. And, more importantly, you actually know how to handle the answer because you have actually seen it before.
Evidence: I have already mentioned Evidence as a possibility for this bar round. Remember that anything could come up on the essays and so you need to be prepared for anything. That being said, Evidence has not been tested on the essay portion for the past two bar rounds. It did show up heavily on Performance Test B on the February 2014 bar exam. However, I do think it is likely to show up on the essay this July. See my earlier post to join our email tips list and to receive a free Evidence handout. This hand out is a simple overview type of approach for writing Evidence Essays. If you are struggling with Evidence, or any topic, we have two more Bar Exam Cram Sessions prior to the July 2014 bar exam. For more information on our upcoming dates, click here. I will provide more about Evidence and what I think is likely to be tested in the coming days.
Civil Procedure is a likely repeat. You may not want to hear this, but I think Civil Procedure will be on July bar exam. I know, it was just tested. But, you should know that the bar exam repeats essay topics every bar round and sometimes topics are repeated back to back three times in a row. If Civil Procedure is tested, I think that Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata are likely to show up. If so, this provides a nice opportunity for testing in California Civil Procedure because you would likely need to address the California (and minority) Primary Rights view. If you do not know what this is, look it up (and/or stay tuned, I will provide a sample essay to those who join our tips list). It is not that hard, but if you have never seen it, well, it might as well be a foreign language. It is important to see and to know how these areas are tested, how these issues come up on an essay exam. The best way to do that it to review past exams. Reading an outline will not help much when it comes to figuring out how issues arise on a fact pattern. It is critical that you read past exams and answers so that you can start making these connections in time for exam day!
The bar examiners are fair.
You may disagree, but I truly believe that the bar exam is very fair. This is not to say that the bar exam is not hard. It is a very difficult test. But, it is also very doable. The problem is that far too many examinees do not actually do anything more than read and memorize the law. This is simply not enough. The bar exam requires you to think and to apply the law to factual situations. This is something that you need to practice. One of the best ways to prepare is to review past essay exams and to work through MBE questions. This will provide the best connection between how particular facts and issues are connected. And, it one of the best ways to learn and truly understand the law.
I will post more in the coming days and weeks.
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Remember to stay positive and to believe in yourself. You CAN do this! Stay tuned for more predictions. Wishing you all the very best in your studies!
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