Predictions Update: February 2018 Bar Exam

Hi All,

Wishing all who are taking the February 2018 bar exam the very best of luck! For insights on what might be most likely to be tested, I recommend that you review the past two predictions posts for the February 2017 bar exam and the July 2017 bar exam. I would consider any topics that were “predicted” on these two prior bar rounds that did not appear on the exam as more likely to show up on the February 2018 bar exam. Of course, there is no way to predict what is going to be on the exam, but these are good indicators of what might be more likely.

Here are a few possible topics – that have either not been on the exam in some time – or simply may be a bit more likely:

  1. A Criminal Law Murder Exam: this topic has not been tested in nearly a decade now. It has been predicted by most who are in the habit of predicting the bar exam essay topics. It should be on your list of possibles. The approach for this subject is easy. However, given that it is over predicted and over expected, my thinking is that the bar examiners – if they were to test murder after such a long absence – might do so in a more unusual way. One of the the challenging ways murder can be tested is when the call of the question asks for you to address first any defenses available to the defendant or defendants. Another thing to to keep in mind is the possibility of testing with Criminal Procedure. If this were to happen, there are a few areas I would pay extra attention to as they have not been tested in many, many years – these are: 6th Amendment jury issues (peremptory challenges, race based, bias, jury of peers) and 8th Amendment issues (bail issues, sentencing rules, cruel and unusual punishment).
  2. Constitutional Law – either First Amendment (possibly speech) or Dormant Commerce Clause. The last time there was a Dormant Commerce Clause essay on the California bar exam was in 2006, so this is a topic that is due.
  3. Professional Responsibility is always an expected topic for the essays as the bar examiners have committed to test Professional Responsibility on either the essays or the performance test (and sometimes test it on both sections). However, once in a while they leave it off the essays allowing for more testing of other subjects. Still, you will have to face Professional Responsibility in some form on the written exam.
  4. Remedies of some kind. Remedies is the most heavily tested subject on the bar exam. It is not only tested from one bar round to the next, it is often tested more than once on the same bar exam. Be on the look out for Remedies issues – tracing rules (like “first in, first out,” “lowest intermediate balance rule” and “replenishment” theory are all possible tests you can utilize in determining who is entitled to funds in a commingled bank account). Other areas to consider: Equitable Lien and Constructive Trust. These come up in many different scenarios.
  5. Possible repeat topics from July: You should always expect to see some topics repeat from the prior bar round. While anything can repeat, I am leaning towards the possibility of Evidence repeating or possible Civil Procedure.

Wishing everyone the very, very best of luck on the February 2018 bar exam!

Bar Exam: Getting Support From Family & Friends

Taking the bar exam is such a challenging and all consuming effort. Often family and friends really want to help, but simply do not know how. If you are taking the February 2018 bar exam you may want to share this short video (click on link below) with your family and friends for ways they can be a support to you in the coming weeks of bar prep.

How You Can Help A Loved One Pass The Bar Exam


All the best to everyone studying for the bar exam!

Lisa Duncanson
Founder/Program Director


  1. The first time I was studying, I told everybody that I would reach out to them and not to reach out to me. I really isolated myself by doing that. The second time I took it, I relied on my friends and fiancé for support and advice. Fortunately, most of my friends had taken the exam so they understood what I needed when I called.

    Also, I found it really helpful to set ground rules with family at the very beginning of bar prep including: don’t ask me if I feel prepared, don’t ask me if I’m nervous, and don’t ask me how I think I did/if I passed. It was so helpful to be on the same page up front so I didn’t snap at them during studying.

    • Thank you for your comment and for following the blog! These are all great suggestions. Setting ground rules for family and friends is really important. People want to help, but often simply don’t know how. I did the same thing in telling family and friends to not ask me how my studying was going and to stop asking if I thought I was going to pass or not. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here, great advice! And congratulations on passing the bar exam!