California Bar Exam, just hours away!

Hello Bar Takers,

I wish you all the best on today’s exam. Be positive and do not let tricky questions get the best of you. If it seems tricky or challenging to you, then it is tricky and challenging for everyone taking the exam. Be positive, write your heart out, do not hesitate to be bold in your answers – but, make sure that your boldness is correct. The best advice I can give you its to remember that the more you are able to write and to show the graders that you truly understand what is being tested, the more likely you will pass.

The California Bar Examiners are far more interested in your ability to issue spot and resolve legal issues than they are in seeing perfect rule statements. The most important thing to do on the essays is to identify the issues and to show the graders that you understand what is important. Think of it this way – the graders know that in practice you can look up the rules, use a practice guide and speak with colleagues about your client’s needs and issues. But, if you are not able to identify the issues, then you will not be a very effective lawyer. As a result, the graders are far more forgiving of less than perfect rules statements and even incorrect rule statements than they are with missing ,issues.

Also, if you are writing an argument and in the middle of that argument, you realize that there is a better argument/analysis to be made – simply wind up your argument and move onto the stronger argument. I do not recommend deleting an argument that you have already written that you think is weak. Instead, conclude that that this argument will likely fail and then move onto a better argument.

If you do this by explaining why the argument you just made will possibly fail, you have just let the graders aware of your thinking process. Think of it this way: if you fail to address areas or fail to dismiss areas, the graders will not know if you chose to leave it out or if you had no idea it could be tested. So, it is better to go with your gut, and if you realize the argument you just wrote is not the best avenue, simply wind it up and move on.

Editing paragraphs out, will only reduce the grader’s ability to see what you know and your essays may not be long enough or cover enough ground. So use the delete button sparingly!

Here is a video I posted on our YouTube channel a few days ago. I do not expect to you watch it before the exam. But, perhaps watch it on Tuesday evening. I think most of my followers have already seen it on our channel.

No matter how hard it feels on exam day, know that if you find it hard that everyone else finds it challenging. It truly is an even playing field. So much of your success will depend upon your ability to overcome, to write as much as possible and to remain confident. With the MBEs the typical passing percentage is about 60% accuracy on the actual test. That is a D! So you need to realize that passing might feel like you are failing the MBEs. Just keep your spirits up and do your best. Do not give up!

The first time I took the MBE portion of the exam I passed. But, I passed in spite of running out of time in both the AM and PM sections. I had to choose B on the last 5 to 7 MBEs just to finish. The second time I took an MBE exam I passed again. This time I did not run out of time, In fact when I read the questions I felt like I knew the answer, but when I went to the answer choices, I felt like the correct answer was not there.

The point I am trying to make is that both times I faced the MBEs I felt like was most definitely failing. But, in fact I passed! So you have to just stay above those thoughts of fear and do your best.

All the best to everyone taking the July 2021 bar exam!

Lisa Duncanson and the Bar None Review Team