California Bar Exam: 4 Days to Go!

Hello All,

The California bar exam is just four days away! At this point, it is normal for anxiety and nerves to run high. But, you need to channel that nervous energy into something positive. Instead of focusing on how little time you have left to prepare, focus on what you can do. And, put to rest those things that you had planned to do, but did not get around to doing during your bar prep. You know what I am talking about: “I will write 25 timed essays” or “I will do 50 MBEs every day” So, you didn’t do that. So, maybe you didn’t do anything close to what you thought you were going to do to prepare for this exam. That does not mean you can’t pass it. Let that stuff go. It is over and there is nothing you can do about it now. So put it behind you. What can you do now? You can make use of every (waking) minute between now and the bar exam.

HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF THE NEXT FOUR DAYS! Read as many essays as you can. Reading essays is a fantastic way to prepare for the California bar exam. There are several reasons (and I have written on this quite a bit) for why this is true. One is that the California bar examiners repeat the same essays over and over. The odds of their being essays on the February 2017 bar exam that are very similar to essays that were tested on prior exams is very high. In fact, based upon bar exam history, it is pretty much a guarantee that many of the essays that are on day one and day three of the bar exam will be essays that have been tested pretty exactly the same way in earlier exams. As a result, the more essays you see now, the more likely you will see something on the actual exam that is like what you reviewed and studied. This is a big deal. Think about it – you could walk into the test on Tuesday morning, open the exam booklet and see three essays that were virtually identical to essays that you had read and studied the answers to – now how great would that be? Pretty great!

So, read essays and study the answers to essays. That is probably the single most effective thing that you can do right now to increase your score and increase your chances of passing this exam.


Here are a few more predictions (and I will write more soon). So far, I have suggested that you might get a Criminal Law/Murder exam. This could be all Criminal Law or crossed with Criminal Procedure and/or Evidence (see earlier post for more details on this). I also suggested that you might see Evidence and Wills. I think both topics are likely.

If you were to get Evidence just know that it is typically a racehorse type of exam. It goes fast and so must you! You need to get in and get out quickly. If you were to have a transcript style essay, then the pacing and speed is even more challenging as these types of essays can have as many as 11 calls. Yes, 11 calls! I know that sounds crazy, but it is true and if you have never seen one, well you need to see one so that you know what to expect and how you can successfully navigate it on exam day. And you can do it. But, if the first time you see a transcript style exam is on the actual bar – well, that is less than desirable. So make sure that you get your hands on one of these and study the answers (preferable – study the bar examiners’ released answers as this is the far more realistic version of what you need to and can do). We haven’t seen an Evidence transcript style essays in quite some time. So it is due. That doesn’t mean that you will get it this bar round, but I would be prepared for it. This means that you should a) review a transcript style essay so that you can see how these are answered and b) review and memorize the form objects (as these come up quite a bit on transcript style essays).

If you join our tips list (see previous post) I will send you our 9 step approach to Evidence.

WILLS:  Wills is certainly a possibility. Of course, there is no way to know for sure what will be tested on the bar exam. However, it has been a will since we have seen Wills tested as whole essay. Instead, it has only (in the past several bar rounds) shown up as a cross over with Trusts. This is fairly common (to see Wills and Trusts as a cross-over essay). And, in fact, it is the most common way to see Wills or Trusts tested – together as a cross-over. However, the bar does test both topics separately (for example, a Trusts only essay or a Wills only essay). It has been a while since the bar examiners have tested just Wills, all by itself. As a result, I think this may be due.

If you see a Wills only essay then I would expect to see some of the typical repeating issues/favorites. These include: pretermitted heir, omitted heir (these are a frequent flyer for Wills essays), DRR (remember, you have to have TWO purported wills on the fact pattern for DRR to be an issue), integration, incorporation by reference and acts of independent legal significance (highly, highly testable), undue influence (the bar examiners LOVE this topic within Wills. Know the test: SOMU: Susceptibility, Opportunity, Motive and Unnatural disposition – meaning the gift(s) go to a non-relative) and Will Formation. If Will formation is at issue, you may very well have an issue with DRR (but, again, only if there is another will on the fact pattern).

Other topics that you might see on the exam (and that I will write more about) are: Torts. Constitutional Law or Civil Procedure. With respect to the latter two, these were both on the July bar exam. However, if you have been following this blog, you will know that subjects always repeat from the prior bar round to the next (and I don’t mean just Professional Responsibility – that almost always repeats, we all know that). But, other topics repeat as well. I think Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure and even Property are all possibly candidates. I will write more on these topics and what might be more likely in terms of testing if these show up on the bar exam.

Until then, keep reading past essays! This is so key and can make such a difference in you passing or failing – really, it really makes a difference. So do it!

Also, the last day to register for the LIVE STREAM of our Final Bar Exam Review session on Saturday, February 18th is today at 1:00 pm. We overnight materials to you, so today is the final cut off for live stream program. For more details about this program, see my earlier post. If you want to attend in person, you can register now online all the way through Saturday at 11:30 am. We also take registration at the door on the day of the event.  (but we recommend that you pre-register online).

All students who attend in-person will receive our latest Cram Sheets and predictions.  They will also be able to ask me their last minute questions, and get in-depth insight on topics that are predicted to be on this upcoming Bar Exam.  Spots for this session are limited!  One of the reasons of this session is that it builds confidence – something I feel is really necessary in order to navigate the exam. The confidence comes from the fact that you learn how to put the material that you have been studying all of this time, together into a manageable approach. For example, what if Constitutional Law repeats (and it absolutely could, and SOMETHING is going to repeat) would you know how to write a First Amendment Speech essay? Would you know how to write Products Liability (now this a real race horse exam, and the bar examiners look for and want certain things addressed – if these things are missing from your answer – then it simply isn’t likely be a passing answer). Again, read more essays! This is SO important. But, if you are looking for a guided review and a way to walk into the exam with approaches for what may very will come up on your exam, then consider attending our Final Bar Exam Review (either in person in Los Angeles) or via LIVE STREAM

Click Here to Pre-Register Now for the Final Bar Exam Review on February 18th!

Deadline register for the live stream option is today, February 17th @ 1:00pm PST.



If you are unable to join me on Saturday, please be sure to sign up for my February Bar Exam Tips List.  You can do that by following the link below.  After that, you will be added to our exclusive list of examinees that receive daily tips and “how-to’s” for test taking up until the day of the exam. The first set of tips will go out a bit later today.

Sign Up For the February 2017 Bar Exam Tips

The most important thing you can do for yourself is to believe in yourself and to remain positive. You are the only person that can control how you feel, put a positive spin on this and actively work at telling yourself that you can do this. YOU CAN DO THIS!

I will post more predictions and essay scenarios. Until then all the best in your studies. And, I hope to see some of you in class this Saturday!

All the best of luck!

Lisa Duncanson

Bar Exam Guru
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(213) 529-0990


  1. If there is any possibility of viewing via stream vs attending it would be appreciated. The drive causes me to lose about 3 hours of study time which is desperately needed

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Good day !

    Please how can you send or email me the cram sheet document and essay scenarios for each topic of the California Bar exam

    Thanks !

    On Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 7:41 AM, Bar Exam Guru’s Blog wrote:

    > barexamguru posted: “Hello All, The California bar exam is just four days > away! At this point, it is normal for anxiety and nerves to run high. But, > you need to channel that nervous energy into something positive. Instead of > focusing on how little time you have left to prepa” >