Sunday, November 9, 2014

November Bar-Result Worries (It's That Time of Year Again)

At this time every year, my blog tends to be on fire.

My readers are nervous.  You don't know whether the Friday before Thanksgiving is going to ruin your life or fulfill your dreams.  I get it.

I know that bar examiners will fret constantly until the time arrives when you check your results.  The fact is that about half of you will pass and the other half will not.  For those of you who do not pass, I need to impress upon you that, although failing the bar totally sucks, it is not the end.  Trust me.  I've been there.

It is very, very possible to pass the California Bar after failing it.  I failed twice and passed it on my third shot.  One professor (whom I love dearly) told me that I was an anomaly because (1) she thought there was no way that I would have failed to begin with (thank you) and (2) it is very difficult to pass on the third try or beyond.

The key for me, though, was to finally figure out precisely how to write for the bar.  Most people fail on the writing, not the MBE.  (Again, for the MBE, I recommend PMBR through Kaplan; particularly, I recommend the combination course. Courses can be found here.  I receive absolutely nothing for promoting this, by the way; it's just what worked for me.)

For the writing, you need to understand that there is a particular way to write the exam.  I have explicit writing tips here.  I explain how I passed the California Bar Exam (CBX for short) here (this post does not go into as much detail about the writing, but I talk about the MBE, the Performance Tests, and the essays; I also talk about test anxiety).

For now, since there is nothing that you can do to change whatever the result will be, I suggest that you spend this time with friends... hopefully, non-law-school friends.  Talk with your friends about what is going on in their lives.  Keep the focus off of you.  Relax if at all possible.  If you drink, enjoy some wine or something.  If you meditate, do that.

Point being: Please don't work yourselves into a frenzy.  Stress is called the Silent Killer, and that's not going to be good for anyone.  If you are going to pass, then all of this worry is for nothing.  If you're going to fail, then your worrying right now isn't going to help with that.  You will simply need to get back on that horse and tackle this monster of an exam again.  And you can do it.  If I did it, anyone can do it.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom! I am on the verge of taking the bar exam for the 3rd time and find your blog very inspiring. I would like to know if you had a set schedule for the 3rd time, since you worked fulltime and studied from 6pm-10pm? If you did, could you share some insight on that?

    1. Hello, Kristy. I apologize for not having seen your comment earlier! If it makes you feel better, although I initially set up my own schedule, I re-vamped that many times based upon what I felt my weaknesses were. I made sure to practice writing (timed and without looking at notes) as soon as possible. The way I saw it was that I was never going to get comfortable enough to write practice essays timed and without looking at my notes, so it was paramount that I forced myself to do so despite my discomfort. I also worked on MBEs every day, but I only did about 30 per day, if I remember correctly.

      So, just practice your writing and practice those MBEs. Studying is great, but you learn through practice more than anything else. There is a New York Times article about a study that just came out in Science in January 2011. It was conducted at Purdue. The conclusion of the study is in the title of the NYT article: To Really Learn, Quit Studying, and Take a Test.

      Best of luck to you!