Bar Exam a Few Weeks Away Podcast (Episode 001)

by Dustin on

The bar exam is only a few weeks away.

Two Tips for Final Few Weeks

Greetings and welcome bar exam takers across the nation. My name is Dustin the creator of here to give you some tips to help you pass your bar exam for most of you there is only a few weeks left until your exams.  So I want to give you a couple of tips of what I recommend you focus on for these next few weeks.

The first tip is going to be taking practice test and the second one is going to be avoiding the negative talk. So let me go more in depth with the first tip about taking practice test. This is probably the most important thing you can do in your bar exam preparation and this time is probably the best time to do it. Not only have you spent months memorizing rules, but now it is really time to get in the mindset of taking practice exams, because guess what that is what you are going to be doing on your bar exam.

Now I really recommend that people do this right from the beginning of their bar exam prep and for those of you who have done that, that is excellent, however these next few weeks even if you have not been doing that, these next few weeks is still a great opportunity and I would say must do before your bar exam. From my own experience of what I have seen with others and from when I would take classes for my own bar exam, consistently we were told that people who did not take practice test many times ended up failing.

That was a huge cause for failure on the bar exam and it is very understandable after having taken the bar exam to see why, because on the bar exam no matter how many rules you have memorized, you are guaranteed to have issues and facts that you have not seen before. That is going to happen because despite how much you study, despite how much you cover there is always going to be stuff there that you just have not seen before or that you do not know and that is fine, because the bar exam graders know this and you are not suppose to A’s this exam, you will only need a 65 which is a D minus to pass the exam.

On my bar exam out of the 6 essay questions probably only two of them do I feel like I really nailed every single issue. When I have been doing my practice exams if I had gotten every single issue; it took me about an hour to do the exam. If I finished an exam early then I knew I had missed an issue, and when it came to bar exam there were four of the essays where I finished the essays probably within 30 of 35 minutes of the one hour that I was supposed to have taken.

So I knew on all those essays I was missing issues, but that is okay because I know I do not need to get every single issue, and because I have taken a lot of practice exams I had been in that situation many times before, so I knew how to go back into the fact pattern look for facts I have not used, make up rules statement that maybe have been relevant and write something that could get me points, but if I did not take enough practice exams I would look blankly and really have no idea how to handle that situation. So the bar examiners are going to throw curve balls at you and that is okay, just prepare for it remember you only have to hit 65 out of a hundred to pass your exam.

So let us analogize  this now with sporting teams, for example football players, do they just spend a lot of their time just reading  the play book and in meeting and in discussions with the coach? Sure they spend some of their time doing that, but their real valuable time is spent when they are out there on field practicing what it is going to be like under playing conditions when the defense is throwing them looks they have never seen before, when they have to react in way they have never had to do before, because what that does is prepare their mindset for when it comes to game day they know how to react to the situation.

Same with actor, they just do not read the script over and over and over they practice their movements, they practice their blocking, they practice their motions, their motivation. They practice what it going to be like when they are actually on camera, so when it comes to the day that they are shooting and they are on camera they are ready for it. So as bar exam takers it is good to do the same, to prepare and practice how you are going to play it, to prepare for what is going to be like when you are there on bar exam day.

Also you can never be sure of what emotions you might be facing on exam day, so that if you have prepared yourself mentally to deal with that situation if there is some other thing that throws your emotion around you are going to be able to handle it and to deal with it, because you are training and your prep will come through. Also perhaps one of the best kept secrets of the bar exam is that taking practice test is a skill that needs to be learned and developed.

I know lot of the focus is on memorizing rules and perhaps outlining essays, but really taking practice exams is a skill, because like I said earlier you are going to have to learn how to adapt to situations when you do not know what is going on. So for me the best way I prepared was to take myself put myself in a corner give myself an essay and say no matter what I am going to spend one hour doing this essay, even if I have absolutely no idea what the question is, what the rules are, nothing, I would spend one hour I am going to do the best I can as if this is the real bar exam essay.

And when doing that those first 5, 10, 15 minutes are going to be very difficult and it is going to be very tempting to flip through to the back of the book and look at what the exam model answer is, but you cannot do that because on bar exam day you are not going to be able to do that.

So what this really did was to help me focus my mindset on how to deal with an exam when I have no idea what I am looking for or what I am doing. So often times even after I spent the hour I would look at the exam model answer and I would see that I actually got some of the issues, I used some of the facts that I was suppose to have used. In other words I did better than what I thought it was going to be like in those 10 or 15 minutes and just developing that skill helped me a lot on my bar exam, so I really recommend that for all of you who are taking your bar exam.

On to the second tip: avoiding the negative talk. I have seen in bar exam discussion forums on Twitter on Facebook everywhere there is a lot of tension right now as the bar exam is near that is normal, that is natural. The real question is; how do you want to deal with any kind of pressure and what not you are facing. Some people will turn to negative talk with others, some will isolate themselves, and some will practice Yoga or meditation.

Do what you need to do, do what is going to motivate you the most. I know for me what I did was avoid the negative conversations that people had. Sure the bar exam is a challenge, it is not a fun experience, but I do not need to keep telling others that or myself that every single day of my bar exam prep. Instead of focusing on what I do not want or what I do not like, instead I try to focus on what is it I do want, what is it I do like.

I want to pass the bar exam so what do I have to do, what steps I need to take in order to do that. And just asking myself that question would take me immediately away from the negative conversations other people were having and focusing on what I need to do, take practice tests, memorize rules, because ultimately that is what is going to help you pass the bar exam not necessarily engaging in these conversations  with other people.

Here is another sport analogy; you often times see a lot of ball players being very irritated at questions reporters are asking them after a game, because the reporters are analyzing their every move, making criticisms about how they played and a good focus ball player is not going to reflect on those or sit on those for too long. They do not care as much about the conversation about the game as they do focusing on what is it they need to do to get better for the next time. So try to do more focusing on what you need to do to pass rather than talking about how awful everything is about the bar exam.

A lot of people have passed this exam and so can you too. So good luck keep on pushing and remember that people want you to succeed and soon in time you too will see this name appears on the pass list.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dre July 15, 2011 at 7:48 pm


Although I like your approach with the PTs, I have a question for you about outlining. During my practice PTs, I frequently am running out of time after writing. My friends have suggested that instead of outlining on paper, I can save time and outline on my computer. However, I’m a bit apprehensive of doing that just in case I am one of the ding dongs that suffers a computer malfunction and end up not having an outline to work with.

Any suggestions?


2 Dustin July 16, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Yea, you could do that but it honestly won’t save you that much time. Where are you running out of time? You should be spending about 85 minutes outlining and 85 minutes writing (with a 5 or 10 minute break in between to clear your head).

If you’re taking more than 85 minutes to write, perhaps the outline is not complete or you missing too many things in the outlining portion.

If you’re taking more than 85minutes to outline, I’d have to know your approach and how long it’s taking to give proper feedback. You can post that here if you’d like as I’m sure others have the same issue. Or if you’re comfortable email



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