You don’t Need to Measure up to Bar Exam Model Answers!

by Dustin on

For some of us, the only way to check out bar exam answers is to look at the calbar website with a list of selected model answers.

I know the selected answers are supposedly only ‘passing’ answers and not ‘model’ answers; however, those essays are phenomenal!  It’s really hard to believe that a student wrote an essay like that in a single hour.

You don’t have to write NEARLY this good to pass the bar.  Not even close.  These answers probably got at least a score of 75 or 80.  If you get a 75, you’re around the top 25% of bar exam takers.  Most people get between 60 and 70.  The lowest you can get is a 40, so long as you write a sentence.

The bare minimum elements you need to pass are:

                1) Good issue spotting

                2) Use of the majority of the facts applied to law

                3) Lawyer-like writing (concise and direct)

If you throw in good rule statements, accurate rule statements, headings, and a conclusion (see 8 Things every bar essay should have), you’ll be jumping for joy in three months time!

For you barbri takers, don’t think those barbri model answers were written in one hour either.  They took weeks to perfect and would score WAY ABOVE a 65.

I know sometimes the model answers and the barbri answers conflict on issues that were raised.  All that means is there is no perfect or right answer.  Even the barbri people and the bar exam graders don’t get it all right.

If you have nothing else to compare an answer to, then fine, take a look at the models.  However, please don’t think you have to write like that to pass.  I sure as heck didn’t.  Not even close.

Best of luck bar exam day!

“This name appears on the pass list”

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Peter March 22, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Thank you for putting up this information about the bar exam. By the way, you’re talking about California bar exam, right? Just wanted to make sure. I’m taking CA bar this summer and I did get quite shocked by how great the model answers were on CA Bar website. It’s good to know it doesn’t have to be as good. I wonder if there are model answers for the score 60-70 available somewhere online.


2 admin March 23, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Yes, this is mostly applicable to California; however, it is also similar for many other jurisdictions.

I haven’t see any 65 passing answers online. I know bar prep programs, like barbri (which I used), will give these students. If I find some, I’ll definitely post!


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