Free California Bar Exam Workshop!

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Hello All,

Thank you for following the Bar Exam Guru blog! For those of you waiting on results for the February 2017 bar exam, our staff at Bar None Review is working hard to provide issue analysis for the February 2017 essays. Stay tuned for another post this week!

If you are getting ready to take the July 2017 bar exam, you will not want to miss out on our free “How to Pass the California Bar Exam” Workshop.

In this free workshop, I will address the upcoming changes to the California bar exam, how to best prepare for these changes and how to prepare for the new 90 minute performance test as well as give a preview of bar exam predictions for the July 2017 exam. The test is changing, the scoring is changing and the weighting of each section is changing. Are you ready for these changes? Don’t worry, because we are! Space is limited. Click the link below to reserve your seat!

YES, I want to PASS, sign me up!

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Reserve your spot today!

California Bar Exam: Performance Test Tips!

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Hello All,

By now you have finished Day Two of the California Bar Exam and have hopefully settled into your room to rest and hopefully study (at least a little – I do not recommend pulling all nighters at this point, but some review is a good idea. Equally acceptable is resting and flipping channels. Still, I was never a rest and flip channels kind of bar taker and that has served me pretty well up to this point – your choice, of course).

Given that tomorrow is another Performance Test and that you want to finish this exam strong, I have decided to provide some last minute Performance Test tips.

See below:

1. Follow the instructions carefully! Exam pressure can lead to missing things and to misreading instructions – so slow it down enough to make sure you are not missing something in the instructions. You are going to base your whole answer on your interpretation of the senior partner memo (the letter to you from your would be boss) – so make certain you read it very carefully and more than once! (See more on following instructions, and evidencing that you have followed instructions, in # 2 below).

With respect to following instructions, do so to a T. If the senior partner memo tells you not to write a statement of facts, then do not write a statement of facts. Pay close attention to the instructions you are provided. Failure to adhere closely to these instructions will cost you dearly – so be careful!  Examinees are often in a rush to get through the materials quickly and end up missing something in the instructions, failing to pick up some of the easier points. So make sure you read through the senior partner memo a few times and be certain about what you are being asked to do.

2. Make your answer look like it is an answer to that particular performance test. Whatever you are asked to do on the performance test, make sure that you create a document that looks like what you were asked to produce. There will typically be two places from which to obtain your format and instructions for the document you are asked to prepare. The first source is the from the senior partner memo (the letter to you from your would be boss). The second source is also in the case file portion of your performance test and it is a firm wide memo (usually with the title: “To all associates . . .”) that provides instructions on how to write an appellate brief or a memorandum (or whatever it is that you are being asked to write). It is critical that you refer to both of these sources to make certain that you include all sections that you are supposed to include (assuming there are sections, i.e., statement of facts, or point headings, etc.) in your document.

These two sources will also help you to format and organize your document – for example, if you are asked to write a memorandum about the the Constitutionality of a proposed ordinance, then a) you need to make sure that your document is identified as a “memorandum” and b) you need to make certain that your document visually makes it clear that you are in fact addressing the constitutionality of a proposed ordinance. This may seem obvious and it may seem less important than figuring out what the cases mean, but the reality is that many examinees simply fail to do some of these very basic things and end up losing points. So, make certain that you do not forget to make your performance test answer look like it is the very document that you have been asked to produce.

3. How do I know which cases to use? Use them all. Seriously. Really. Do not be afraid. Try to find a use for each case. That is it.

4. What part of the statutes should I include? Assuming you have statutes (not all performance tests do) then look to see which parts of the statutes are referred to in the cases. It is a pretty safe bet that you should also use the sections that the cases refer to as well.

5. Use headings – this is SO important! (First, make sure you follow any format that you are instructed to follow). Always err on the side of following instructions. Some of your formatting will likely come from the instructions (either from the senior partner memo and/or potentially from a firm wide, memo to “all associates” in the case file). Remember that your performance test answer (whether it is a memorandum, a points and authorities, an appellate brief, a letter to a client, a closing or opening argument) it is still an exam answer. It will be graded by a human being and you need to be cognizant of that – make it easy to read and easy to follow. Use headings.

6. What if I don’t finish my answer? This is not an option. You need to make certain that you do finish your answer. Just do it. I take my job very seriously and I work hard, I go the distance, I do whatever it takes to get whatever I need done. Why am I telling you this? Because you should too – you should work your butt off and I don’t just mean in your preparation for the bar exam – but I mean right now, right now on this test, today. Suck it up and get through it. I know that sounds a bit harsh, but if you want to pass this thing then go after it, especially in these last hours. Insist on finishing today’s performance test – because you can and because you need to.

7. Okay, but what if I don’t finish my answer? Sigh. Okay, if you see that you are not going to finish what you had planned on writing, then adapt and do so quickly. The clock may not be your friend, but it does not have to be your enemy either. Watch it, keep track of your time. Don’t wait for the proctor to provide a time warning for you to know how much time you have left to finish. Keep track of your time and speed things up as you need to in order to finish your answer. And, if you are really up against the wall, then make it look like you have finished. If it is appropriate for the document that you are writing, then add a heading for “conclusion” and have a few sentences or a paragraph summarizing as best you can what you have written. And, you can even pre-write a conclusion if you think it will help (this is really only helpful to laptop examinees).

8. Be POSITIVE! (I know, how nice of me to yell at you to be positive :)) Seriously though, please do not be miserable – it will only hurt your performance. No one forced you to go to law school (well, I hope not). You presumedly wanted to do this, you want to be a lawyer. Therefore, today is about doing what you want to be doing – taking and passing the bar exam. Be proud of all the hard work you put in to get to where you are right now. So many people say things like: “I was going to go to law school” or “I always wanted to go to law school” . . . well you did go to law school. Be proud of that and don’t let the struggle of the bar exam take any of that away from you. Now go kick the bar exam’s butt!

All the best of luck this afternoon!

Please feel free to comment on this blog – I would love to hear from you and would love to know if you find it helpful, or if you have suggestions.

Sincerely.

Lisa Duncanson

Founder/Program Director
Bar Exam Cram Session and Bar None Review
(213) 529-0990
barexamguru@yahoo.com

California Bar Exam: Free Workshop

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Hello all,

Thank you for following the Bar Exam Guru blog! We have now had over 870,000 views. I am humbled and grateful for your following.

If you are taking the February 2017 bar exam, you will not want to miss out on our upcoming free, “How to Pass the California Bar Exam” Workshop on November 22, 2016 from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm. This session will be held in Los Angeles.

Class fills up quickly, so be sure to reserve your space as soon as possible.

Students will receive a free copy of our Guide to Passing the California Bar Exam as well as free bar exam writing templates. The workshop will provide substantive coverage on how to successfully write for the California bar examiners. Get answers to when and where you should include California distinctions, how long is a typical passing essay answer, learn the proper form and structure of a solidly passing essay.  And, as time allows, we will discuss strategies for the Performance Test and the MBE.

Come and learn how to develop a plan for succeeding on the February 2017 bar exam. Space is limited. Reserve your space today!

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What Should I do if I just failed the July 2016 bar exam?

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What should you do if you just failed the bar exam?

If you have failed the bar exam, keep in mind that you are in good company. The bar exam is not an IQ test. Many very bright and hardworking examinees fail the exam. As devastating as this experience is, it is important to start thinking about what you need to do next. Below are some tips and suggestions. Above all, don’t lose heart.

1) Get past being devastated as quickly as possible – I know this sounds really harsh, but the sooner you are able to get back on track and develop a plan for passing – and yes, start studying again – the better. Those that do, have the best chance of passing the next exam.

2) Find out why you failed – this starts by getting your scores back from the bar. The bar will automatically mail score sheets to all examinees who failed the bar. This usually takes 1 – 3 days after bar results come out. When you get your scores, don’t panic and don’t make assumptions about any one section. You will receive raw scores and scaled scores. Take the time to read the materials that come with your score sheet that explain the raw and scaled scores. See also, other posts on this blog about making it to re-read and interpreting bar scores. And, if you need help interpreting your scores, you can get it free through Bar None Review – contact me (Lisa Duncanson) directly at: barexamguru@yahoo.com (Note: I offer this on a first come, first serve basis and for a limited time. To participate you must send a copy of your actual score sheet, including your name and a phone number where you can be reached). For more information on what to expect if you have just learned you were unsuccessful on the bar exam, click here.

3) Commit to taking and passing the next exam – in almost every case, I would recommend taking the very next bar exam. Obviously there are sometimes reasons to sit out a bar exam administration – but in most cases, the best advice is to take the very next exam. Think about it, the material seems like it has fallen out of your head right now – just think how hard it will be to put it all back together if you wait another six months – that would be a whole year since your last review – not a good plan.

4) Attend our free workshop –  I will be teaching a free, How to Pass the California Bar Exam workshop this Tuesday, November 22nd in Los Angeles. Students will receive a free copy of our Guide to Passing the California Bar Exam as well as free bar exam writing templates. The workshop will provide substantive coverage on how to successfully write for the California bar examiners, how to develop a plan for succeeding on the February 2017 bar exam, tips for writing Performance Tests and strategies and tactics for success on the bar exam. Space is limited. Click here to reserve your space in the November 22, 2017 workshop.

5) Develop a plan of attack – Your plan might include taking another bar review course, hiring a tutor, or continuing your studies on your own. There are many courses available (assuming you already tried barbri) that cater to different needs – small classes, private tutorials. Do your research and due diligence before enrolling in a course. Ask for references, ask to see the course materials before enrolling, make sure the bar review provider is a good fit for your needs. And, don’t abandon your common sense – if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is. But, whatever you do (take a course or study on your own) make a plan – figure out how many hours you will study each day, where you will study, how long will you have to review each topic, how many essays you will write each week, how many MBEs you will do each day, how many PTs you will write – figure it out, map it out and develop a plan. For tips on how to create a study plan, click here.

6) Work hard – no matter how hard you worked the first time, you are going to have to work just that hard again. And, if in your honest assessment of your prior bar studies you conclude that you did not work hard enough – well then you are going to have to work harder and smarter. There simply is no magic bullet.

Best,

Lisa Duncanson

Founder/Program Director
Bar None Review and Bar Exam Cram Session (™)
barexamguru@yahoo.com
(213) 529-0990
http://www.barnonereview.com

California Bar Releases July 2016 Bar Exam Questions

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Hello All,

Today the California State Bar released the essays and performance tests from the July 2016 bar exam. Click here to view the July 2016 California bar exam questions. From my initial review of the essays, I can say that the exam seems straightforward. However, this is not to say that it should have felt like a walk in the park. While the fact patterns were pretty straightforward (nothing unusual) and the issue coverage consistent with what the bar examiners have tested in past years, there were areas that would be tricky if you have not seen a lot of bar exam essays. But, given the proper preparation, the essays would be very doable. One of the keys to success on the essays is exposure to past bar exam essays. This is essential as it is one of the best ways to learn what the California bar examiners are looking for and what they are actually testing on a given fact pattern (more on this in a later post).

The results for the July 2016 California bar exam will be released on Friday, November 18th. I wish all of you who are waiting for results the very best of luck! I know this week, and next, may feel like the longest weeks of your life, but it is nearly over. It is normal to feel anxious (for many, saying they are feeling “anxious” would be an understatement). Nerves and anxiety are simply at an all time high in these final days leading up to the bar results. Hang in there, soon you will hopefully receive good news.

For those of you who are studying for the February 2017 bar exam, you will want to include extensive review of past bar exam essays. This is critical not only to learn what the bar examiners are looking for, but also to improve your understanding of the tested issues and topics. And, no, it is not too early to start studying for the February 2017 bar exam. For those of you who are studying for the February 2017 bar exam, our next free “How to Pass the California Bar Exam Workshop” will be held on November 22nd in Los Angeles.

Best of luck to all who are waiting on July 2016 bar exam results!

Lisa Duncanson
Founder/Program Director
Bar None Review and Bar Exam Cram Session
(213) 529-0990
barnonereview.com

California Bar Exam: Congratulations on Completing Day 3!

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Hello All,

By the time you read this, you will be done with the California bar exam! It is such an accomplishment. I know that all the weight is given to passing this beast of a test but, you really should be proud of yourself for the accomplishment of completing one of the hardest bar exams in the country!

SHHHHH people are still taking the test . . . 

Much has been said about day one’s essays – and a bit about the performance test. As there are examinees with testing accommodations that will be taking the bar exam through Sunday, I will not be discussing the performance test at all until after all examinees have completed the bar exam.

However, I am happy to entertain questions about the essays and will continue to update the blog as I hear more about today’s essays in the coming days. Please subscribe to the blog if you would like to be notified when I post next.

So far, from what I hear was tested, everything was pretty much as expected. Constitutional Law, Community Property and Professional Responsibility showed up today. No surprises here. I did not expect to see both Constitutional Law and Criminal Law on day three (I thought it would be one or the other) because of the heavy emphasis on day one of MBE topics. Still, I thought one more MBE topic was in your future on today’s essays. So, again, no real surprises.

I have not heard much yet about the actual fact patterns from today’s essay exams. However, I thought I would include a few of the brief breakdowns that I received during the lunch break today via email and text. Understand that I have not seen the exam – but, that you have – so – if you feel something else was tested – then trust your own interpretation of the the fact patterns and recognize that there are often multiple ways to both interpret the facts and to resolve the legal issues. In other words, do not freak out over what you read here!

Here you go!

A blog follower who emailed in during the lunch break, had this to say:

“Question 1 (Constitutional Law)
Procedural due process, Standing, 11th Amendment

Question 2 (Community Property)
Validity of prenuptial agreement, Property purchased with SP in H name only, Commingled savings account, W purchased rental property from commingle account in her name only, medical bill after permanent separation but before divorce

Question 3 (Professional responsibility)
Duty of loyalty, Conflict of interest, duty of diligence, duty of confidentiality vs duty of candor”

Here are a few text messaged reports from the lunch break today (as you can see, no facts or recaps of the actual fact patterns – yet):

SM Text Essays Day Three

And another who reported in via text:

Text Essays Day Three

And another who reported in via text (starting with a little encouragement from me yesterday):

Text Day Three Essays PY

Please continue to write in with your breakdown of what you saw on the essays as the more examinees that I hear from – the better picture I will be able to piece together of what was actually tested on today’s exams.

I will continue to post here in the coming days (although, do not be surprised if I take a day or two off this weekend – you should do the same too)! Be sure to subscribe to my blog so you will get a notification when I post next.

Get some rest & do something nice for yourself and those who have supported you . . .

I am sure you are all glad to have this test behind you. I know that I am. I always tell my students that they should be at least as tired from studying as I am from prepping my students. It has been a great bar round and truly a pleasure to work with all of the wonderful students I had the good fortune to work with – thank you to everyone who enrolled in one of our programs and to everyone following my blog. Get some rest in the coming days and do something nice for yourself (and for your family – for putting up with you – nothing like being married to someone studying for the bar exam, or a girlfriend or boyfriend studying for the bar exam, or a parent housing a son or daughter studying for the bar exam – you get what I mean – show a little gratitude for their support and do something nice for them too) 🙂

If you have questions, please feel free to send me an email at: barexamguru@yahoo.com or you can comment on the blog and I will reply to you here.

All the best,

Lisa Duncanson
Bar Exam Guru
Founder/Program Director
Bar None Review and The Bar Exam Cram Session
213-529-0990

California Bar Exam: Congratulations on Finishing Day One!

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Hello All,

Congratulations on completing day one of the California bar exam! And, thank you for following my blog! Nearly 847,000 views to date (thousands of which occurred just over the past 24 hours). It is very humbling, to say the least. Thank you! And, thank you to all who sent in reports from today’s essays. Please continue to send these in as it always helps me to complete a better picture of what was tested on the essays. You can email me at: barexamguru@yahoo.com While my enrolled students come first, I do try to respond to all emails and am happy to answer questions as I can.

So, what a way to start the day: Yes, the Civil Procedure essay was challenging! Anytime the bar examiners test areas for the first time it is a challenge for examinees as there are no points of reference from prior exams – there is no exact example of what was tested on today’s Civil Procedure essay because it has not been tested exactly like that before. So, if it felt challenging, well, that is because it WAS, but don’t let it get you down. You are not alone . . . which essay do you think I heard the most about today?

Which essay seemed to trouble the most examinees from the set of three? (I receive a LOT of emails after each day of the bar exam – and try to answer each personally). You guessed it – the Civil Procedure question. Four calls, lots to figure out and the very first time that California Civil Procedure was ever brought into play on the California bar exam! (Finally)! Whatever you wrote on that question – let it go and put it behind you. There are five additional essays and two performance tests in the balance for you, so don’t worry about it. I will write more about this essay from the reports I have seen. But, truly, you need to move on from it and perform tomorrow and Thursday. Still, I get that many want to hear more about the essays and what was likely tested as it kind of helps put it to bed in a way.

As you undoubtedly know by now, essay two was Property (Easements – as expected, in the context of a land-sale contract that likely generated issues regarding notice and warranty deed covenants – as expected). Not much to say about this one as it was pretty much straight out of the predictions/essay scenarios. This area has been overdue for some time, so no real surprise here.

Finally, essay three was (most likely, from what I have heard): Contract Remedies. The idea that Contracts and Remedies could repeat from the February 2016 exam is no surprise. And, the bar examiners could easily have more “repeats” up their sleeve for Thursday’s essays (more on that in my next post).

I know I said “Contract Remedies” – but, understand, that I have not seen the exam, so keep this in mind. I can not say with any certainty what was tested today – as I have not seen the exam. You have seen it, so you know better than I do what the fact patterns were like. I mention this here because this question (essay three) actually presented the most divide in terms of what I have heard from examinees today. By this I mean that I have heard varying reports of what was tested on essay number three. Just so you know. This means there are probably multiple ways that the exam could be handled and still be passing. For example, one examinee might spend more time on certain areas than another and still – both examinees can pass the essay. Again, whatever you wrote – put it behind you!

So, I promised that I would provide revised “predictions.” However, so far, the topics tested on the essay were subjects on my list of predicted/expected areas. As a result, I do not have any major changes to my predictions. But, I do have a few thoughts based upon the topics that were tested today. I will be putting this together in a separate post, a bit later this evening. In the meantime, keep staying positive and don’t let this test get you down!

Also, for more tips and insights, be sure to sign up for my Bar Exam Tips List, below!

 

And . . . Put today behind you!
Whatever you did today, however you felt about your performance today, it is over, history. There is no point in dwelling on it and there is no point in rehashing it. Do your best to put it out of your mind. We are often our own worst critics. If you have your doubts about today’s performance, I encourage you to put that behind you. You likely did better than you think. And, thinking that you did not do well is not going to improve your chances of doing well tomorrow or Thursday. So Put today behind you!

Congratulations again on your completion of day one of the bar exam! I will be posting additional thoughts on what might be more likely on Thursday’s essays a bit later this evening. But, you should be reviewing (if you are reviewing at all) for tomorrow’s MBEs. Whatever you do, keep it light – you need to be in good condition to get through the rigors of tomorrow’s 200 MBEs!

All the best,

Lisa Duncanson
Bar None Review
213-529-0990