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How to Tackle Essay Writing on the Bar Exam

How-To-Tackle-Essay-Writing-On-The-Bar-Exam

One skill that is expected to be cultivated and refined during law school is the ability to write well. This makes sense, since good writing will be essential for many legal careers. You will likely need to write memos, client letters, motions, petitions, briefs and other legal documents— so good writing is important! Consequently, the bar exam takes note of this and makes writing an essential component of it. 

Whether you’re taking the Multistate Essay Exam or a state-specific bar exam , you will be writing lots of essays during the bar exam and in your preparation for it. So here’s what you need to know about essay writing on the bar exam and strategies you can implement to improve your score.

Check out the most important bar exam essay writing tips below!

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Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) Jurisdictions

Most states use the Multistate Essay Exam. If you’ll be testing in one of these states, here are the basics you need to know:

There are 6 essay questions in total . This part of the test is 3 hours, so you have 30 minutes per question. Also, the subjects for this portion of the test cover:

  • Partnerships
  • Corporations and limited liability companies
  • Civil procedure
  • Conflict of laws
  • Constitutional law
  • Criminal law and procedure
  • Real property
  • Secured transactions
  • Trusts and future interests
  • Wills and estates

While any of these topics are fair game, these particular topics make up the majority of the MEE:

  • Corporations and LLCs
  • Family law and trusts
  • Future interests

Consequently, you may want to spend extra time preparing for these areas of the law while also studying for the other subjects. 

The good news is that there are guides you can use to determine the most highly tested essay rules. These bar exam study resources will identify these rules and teach you additional rules of law. 

Here’s another important tip: focus your time on these major rules instead of wasting too much energy on nuanced rules that are less likely to be tested. 

Keep reading for more important study tips to help you pass the MEE:

Bar Essays Studying Tips 

The first part of learning how to tackle the essay writing portion of the bar exam is to develop a solid study plan . Your plan should incorporate the following: 

Learn More About the IRAC Method and Format

You may have used a variety of writing styles in law school, such as IRAC, CRAC or CREAC. However, the IRAC structure is the most commonly used one on the bar exam, and is what bar examiners will expect. Hence, you need to be familiar with this writing system:

  • I – Issue
  • R – Rule
  • A – Analysis
  • C – Conclusion

This system ensures that you write concisely and only include the necessary information. It’s not flowery and won’t contain a lot of excess content— which is a good thing, since you’re on such a constrained time limit!

As you practice, read through your answers and label each sentence with an I,R,A, or C . if a sentence cannot be labeled under one of these letters, it probably does not belong.

Practice Essay Writing Each Week

When you spend so much time studying for the bar exam , it may feel tempting to skip practicing the lengthy essay portion of the test. However, this is one of the biggest mistakes made by most test takers. 

Bar essays are an essential component of the test; they can often help leverage a higher score if you don’t do as well on some of the other test portions. Furthermore, while reviewing the rules of law is important, writing about them can show you understand them and know how they apply. 

Basically, don’t leave practicing these essays until the end of your preparation. Instead, make practicing essays part of your weekly study plan!

Bar Exam Essay Practice Tips

Practice Under Timed Conditions

When you first begin practicing the essay portion of the bar exam, you may not want to time yourself so that you can be sure you are spotting all the issues and honing your writing style . However, toward the middle of your study time, you will want to start practicing under timed conditions. 

It is not enough to know how to write a good essay. You need to know how to write a good essay quickly . You need to be able to quickly discuss the most important issues and know when not to elaborate on others.

The best way to study for these questions is to find previous MEE questions and practice them under timed conditions. Then, review the analysis to determine how you did.

Review Rules the Last Two Weeks of Your Study

Focus on memorizing as many rules of law as possible during your last two weeks of studying. You’ll need to be able to recall these basic rules as part of your essay writing without hesitation, so be sure that you can recite rules of law without even thinking about them.

Learn More About The BAR Exam

  • Take These Steps To Pass The Bar Exam!
  • How To Crush The Essay Portion Of The Bar Exam
  • How To Study For The BAR While Working Full Time!
  • How To Pass The BAR After Failing The First Time
  • How To Become A Lawyer

Tips for the Day of the Bar Exam 

Okay, so now it’s the day of the bar exam— you need to know how to truly tackle these questions in the moment of truth. Here’s what you need to do:

Plan The Time You Have for Writing Essays 

Before beginning this portion of the test, you should have a plan on how you will manage your time, such as:

  • First 10 minutes: Read the essay prompt. Maybe read it multiple times. Don’t rush this part; your ability to recall this information will be essential to answering the question. Also, outline your answer as you read through the prompt.
  • Next 15 – 17 minutes: Write your answer.
  • Last 3 to 5 minutes: Review your answer to check for competition and to make necessary edits.

Bar Essay Time Managment

Stick to this timeline for every question. If you start going over 5 minutes on every question, you won’t have enough time to tackle the last question. Ultimately, it’s far better to get out an analysis of all the questions than to answer one question perfectly and not even address another.

Make an Outline

Making an outline can help you organize your thoughts and create a plan on what you will be writing about. Mark up the prompt as you go— you may want to highlight or underline certain information to help your recall later. 

Try to make this outline clear, such as making a bullet list of items related to the prompt. If you run low on time, you can always copy and paste this information to provide a semi-answer to the prompt. Write your rule statement and list the relevant facts that will support your analysis. Also, consider how much time you will need to discuss each subpart of the answer. 

Apply the IRAC Structure

Now it’s time for you to apply what you’ve learned. Use IRAC to fully answer the question. 

How To Use IRAC Method and Format to Crush the Bar Exam Essay Portion

Briefly state the issue in a bolded heading. Issues are usually clearly stated on bar exam essay questions rather than hidden in a fact pattern, so this should be an easy way to pick up points. Restate the issue and move onto the next part of your answer. 

State the rules that apply to the case. This is where rote memorization comes into play, since you need to be able to state the proper rule that applies to the question. Bold key terms to show that you know what rules and terms apply. This will get you the points you need on this section.

The summary of rules should be clear and concise and should demonstrate that you understand what is involved. Only address those rules that actually apply to this case and address the specific question. 

Show how the rule applies, given the particular fact pattern. This will be the longest portion of your answer. However, your analysis should still be shorter than your analysis in your legal writing class. You can pick up (or lose) a lot of points in this portion of the answer! You need to demonstrate that you know how to apply the law to the facts. Generally speaking, the more facts you’re able to explain, the higher your score will be.

Most of the facts in the fact pattern will be there for a reason— and you need to explain why these facts matter in your analysis. Provide a step-by-step analysis of how the facts support your conclusion. You may be able to score extra points by identifying counter-arguments or a majority and minority view. 

Conclusion 

End with a brief conclusion. One sentence is fine here. Perhaps unlike law school exams, there is usually a “right” conclusion. Some writing structures will use a conclusion first and then end with a conclusion, but this is not recommended on the bar exam. If you start with the wrong conclusion, the grader will look for ways to prove why you are wrong while grading your answer; therefore, save your conclusion for the end!

Organize Your Content 

Make your essay simple to read by taking advantage of all the tools at your disposal. Use paragraph breaks to organize your content, creating a clear I, R, A , and C section. Additionally, bold and underline key words and principles of law. Many essay graders will be scanning your work, so make it easy to identify that you understood the legal issues involved by drawing their attention to these key terms.

Also, use transitional words to qualify certain statements and to explain where you are going with your answer. This makes it easier for the grader to follow your analysis, as well as helps you to stay on track.

Answer the Question

Seems obvious, right? Listen:

While it seems simple to just answer the question you are asked, many bar exam essay questions include numerous fact patterns, potential rules of law that apply, and even some red herrings. Be sure that you only answer the question that is asked; don’t go off on a tangent that will not score you any extra points! 

Read over the instructions to the question and follow these instructions, even if that means ignoring something or assuming certain facts are true. Any time you devote to issues that are not relevant to the instructions takes away from time that can score you more points.

Manage Your Time 

Now that you’re in the middle of your answers, keep a close eye on time. It can be tempting to take just a few more minutes to feel you completed a question, but this can come back to haunt you by taking away necessary time from another question. Set alarms if you need to — and are permitted to — so that you know when time is up for each section. Also, you may want to set a reminder a few minutes before your allotted time so that you can quickly wrap up the question before moving on to the next one. 

With that being said, avoid writing a partial essay and then moving onto another one. It can take several minutes to regain your bearings and remember what the essay was about when you switch back and forth. Instead, finish each question in the allotted time and then move onto the next.

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Quick tips for essay writing.

Here’s a quick round-up of tips to keep you on track when preparing your bar exam essays:

  • Read the facts more than once. Don’t rush this part!
  • Don’t write a lengthy, historical background of the law. Instead, make it concise.
  • Don’t write a long analysis regarding policy if the question does not ask for it.
  • Present counter-arguments but spend less time on them than arguments
  • Provide a clear and decisive conclusion.
  • Pace yourself. The two-day bar exam is a marathon, not a sprint. Approach each question with patience and don’t try to rush it.
  • Don’t talk to anyone about your answers. This will undoubtedly make you doubt yourself; you don’t need a hit to your self-confidence at this time!
  • Have a fun plan for what to do after the bar exam to have something to look forward to.

bar exam essay prep

So, there you have it— a plan to help you tackle the essay portion of the bar exam. Use these strategies to help boost your score and you will soon be a licensed attorney!

Thanks for reading and good luck on your exam!

Frequently Asked Questions About Bar Essays

How do you write an essay for the bar exam.

There’s a specific structure that bar examiners expect when you write answers to essay questions. This structure is called IRAC, which is short for “Issue, Rule, Analysis, and Conclusion.” When writing a bar essay, try and structure all of your sentences around these four subjects in a way that makes sense.

How many essays are on the bar exam?

The essay portion of the bar exam is called the Multistate Essay Exam, or MEE for short. It is made up of six different essay questions that you must write answers to over the course of three hours. The subjects can vary depending on what test you take, but all are related to the legal field and will require excellent logical reasoning and critical thinking to earn a high score.

How long should bar exam essays be?

Although there may not be a set word limit for your bar exam essay, a good rule of thumb is to write at least 1,000 words for each answer. However, you should avoid padding out your article’s word count with excessively detailed descriptions of legal concepts; stick to the IRAC format and ensure each word in each sentence has a purpose.

Is it better to write or type the bar exam?

There’s no universal answer to this question, since some students will prefer to write by hand and others will prefer typing. However, there are significant benefits to typing your bar exam essay questions over using a pen and paper, such as easy erasing and the ability to copy and paste. However, power issues on rare occasions have forced essay writers to resort to pen and paper, and it makes it impossible to lose progress due to a software error.

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Valerie Keene is an experienced lawyer and legal writer. Valerie’s litigation successes have included wins for cases involving contract disputes, real property disputes, and consumer issues. She has also assisted countless families with estate planning, guardianship issues, divorce and other family law matters. She provides clients with solid legal advice and representation.

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Dominating the Essays: Organize Issues and Prioritize Rules to Know on the Bar Exam

Ever wonder how you’re supposed to juggle everything in your head? How do you prioritize the rules to know for the bar exam?

How are you supposed to learn all this when time is tight? How do you tackle the massive body of rules to know?

How do you know you’ve completed the essay in full? Did you even talk about the correct issues? Are the graders going to give you the points? Are they even going to read your prose?!

You’d love to start practicing essays but feel like you just haven’t learned enough law yet. It’s overwhelming to even begin.

At least the answer is right there in MBE questions… If you’re a bar taker struggling with coming up with what to write, essays are the bane of your existence. Your rambling paragraphs start to blur.

Let’s breathe. We can simplify the essays and make them less scary…

Key takeaways:

  • Issues: Learn not just the rules but also how to present and organize the issues (with examples below)
  • Rules: Highest-priority issues and rules are those that have appeared in the past (there are two other priorities)
  • There are efficient and effective ways to hit both of the above at once

Know not just the rules but also the issues

Put yourself in the essay grader’s shoes for a moment…, so now, as the applicant, what can you do to get the most points on the essays, 1) don’t write like a lawyer. write like a bar taker., 2) organize the issues., prioritize memorizing the rules and issues in this order…, 1) issues and rules that have appeared in past exams, including main issues, sub-issues, defenses, 2) issues and rules deemed important, 3) other fringe issues and rules that might come up (rule against perpetuities, anyone), take your practicing and memorizing to the next level.

Before getting into how to prioritize the rules for the bar exam, I need to emphasize something else first.

After working with readers and coaching clients over the years, there are two things that have become apparent:

  • Writing essays on the bar exam is NOT about writing like a lawyer
  • Issues are king (I talk about this more in this video )

That’s why gaining experience and intuition through writing bar essays is so helpful. You won’t be too surprised or lost on what to write about during the exam.

Meanwhile, some bar takers think they have to write a beautiful treatise so that bar graders can put on a monocle, do a deep literary analysis of the romance between P and D, and press it against their chest while looking out the window because your prose tugged at their heart.

The graders couldn’t care less about that LOL

If it helps, think about the time you watched someone slowly lose interest in you while being unable to do anything about it. And how futile texting them your thoughtful walls of text was.

You sigh at the pile of essay answers that waits for you every day.

You have thousands of the same shitty ass essays to sift through. You have to try to be consistent and fair across all those essays. You try your best at your thankless job, and all they do is complain about your “subjectivity.”

You also want to get through these essays as quickly as possible since you’re already getting underpaid. You’re already reading these answers while at the red light or sitting on the toilet. Your life is blurring together.

Perhaps it’s time to cut corners. Maybe just look for the headings and scan for keywords in the analysis…

This becomes a fairly mechanical process once you get through several similar issue patterns. Like fact patterns , there are corresponding issue patterns .

Prior law experience or creative writing will detract from answering the way graders want you to.

Practicing attorneys tend to not do as well on bar essays because this is a SEPARATE skill from real practice.

How do you write the way the graders want to see? Write like a bar taker instead:

Make the issues loud and clear. Punch the grader in the eyes by creating clear headings. Break out the sub-issues and elements into their own “street signs” for the grader.

Here’s an example of a major issue ( Contract Formation ) and an element (Offer) clearly called out, and their corresponding principles (rule statements):

How to organize issues for bar essays

In fact, being able to identify (or “spot”) and organize the issues is at least as important as knowing the rules. ( Here’s how to make issue identification a systematic process. )

It’s not about long-winded analyses or writing beautiful rule statements (neither got me to pass the first time).

Issues are where everything starts. An IRAC can’t sprout (and you get no points) from a seed that’s never planted.

Identifying the relevant issues is a signal to the grader that you understand what’s being tested. Rules and applications will naturally cascade down from the issues like a waterfall. Yes, you still want the meat of your answer written well.

Think of it as submitting a resume (or texting a girl). Hit the main points that the reader will care about. You’re but one out of a pile. Just a number. A hassle to go through. Better make the most out of the 10-15 seconds of the recruiter’s attention.

There is a certain logic and order to how you approach each issue.

Example of how to organize a call of the question in an Evidence essay:

Issue outline - Evidence

You can even start to notice common issues that clump together (that you should discuss to get as many points as possible):

Common issue clumps

Here’s one for a Civil Procedure essay. Just plug and play the rules:

Issue outline - Civil Procedure 2004 Feb

This is like 75% of the essay, so don’t freak out if it looks like a lot. But it’s a lot more structured than trying to start by typing a mess of words, right?

The best part: These issues clumps repeat! There are issue patterns like I said above. So if you see another SMJ or PJ question, just plug and play the same thing as here.

Outlining the issues and filling in the blanks should become a routine process because you will have seen the patterns so many times. Success is boring, not sexy.

If you have issues outlined like this, you’re pretty much home free. Do this for every essay, and you’ll know how to solve similar essays that appear on the bar exam.

OK, so that was about issues. Now about prioritizing rules…

Of course, you still need to know the law corresponding to the issues you identify. But if you need to prioritize, narrow the field of issues and rules in this order:

Issues and rules that have been tested a lot tend to be tested again. The more they’ve been tested, the more important they are.

Learn the important issues and rules by solving problems from the past and studying the answers.

  • Find a collection of past essays and PTs here (for the California and Uniform Bar Exams).
  • Find real MBE questions from sources such as Emanuel’s Strategies & Tactics for the MBE or AdaptiBar .
  • Here are the biggest (highly tested) areas on the MBE.

You don’t need to have “learned enough law yet” before you dive into the pool! Trying to ensure that is exactly how I failed the California Bar Exam my first time.

Knowledge removed from the facts is nothing. It’s all artificial if you don’t know how to use it.

Seeing real problems will be productive because it will reveal what you know and don’t know. It’s like getting on the scale to measure yourself. THEN you can review and fill in the gaps.

The essay and MBE questions you go through now will become familiar fact patterns you might see again on the exam. Practicing and self-critiquing your work help you accomplish everything you seek:

  • Getting better at identifying issues
  • Memorizing and remembering rules through active recall
  • Knowing how to apply the rules you memorized
  • Picking the right answer on the MBE more often
  • Gaining confidence

In other words, practicing will help solidify everything, including understanding and retaining the important concepts likely to be tested. Exciting!

You may not get through all the past essays, but you may have a feeling that there are issues and rules that would be good to know.

Maybe you’ve seen them around somewhere, maybe in law school or mentioned in a bar prep lecture. Typically, they’re listed in outlines .

You’ll still need to rote memorize these things, unfortunately. MBE questions especially may test you on specific obscure rules.

Note that I continue to mention issues and not just rules. That’s because memorization isn’t just about memorizing rules .

Better to at least get familiar in case they ask you about it.

When I retook the bar exam, there were essay questions I wasn’t sure how to answer because I didn’t know about zoning (issues I didn’t know about) and criminal prosecutor ethical duties (rules I didn’t know).

Even though my life flashed before my eyes thanks to these gaps in knowledge, I still passed the exam by focusing more on the first two priorities during bar prep than absolutely everything at once .

Now you know where to focus if you’re short on time. If you feel tempted to skip over subjects based on predictions , try this approach instead.

It’s still a lot to learn, though.

If you want to make the material more manageable and less overwhelming, check out Magicsheets and Approsheets.

Magicsheets condensed outlines contain all three of the above categories of priority—covering 95% of the testable issues and rules in 5% of the space of your bar prep course content.

Approsheets issue checklists and flowcharts help you hit all the relevant issues on an essay so you can stop having that “blank screen syndrome.”

It’s a no-brainer if you want to invest in your dreams:

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Optimize Your California Bar Exam Prep.

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MBE Smart Sheets

“Smart” Attack Sheets for the MBE Subjects Concise breakdowns of the law for each subject that were created for memorization & review in the weeks and days leading up to the exam. Designed to be used in tandem with our Priority Outline, these Smart Sheets help you quickly memorize the important rules and topics with our signature priority color-coded system.

  • Clear and concise rule statements.
  • 6 to 10 pages of succinct explanation per subject.
  • The most important rules at a glance with a color-coded Priority Rating (High/Med).
  • A focus on the highly tested MBE topics and rules.

Not only that, these sheets quickly condense rule statements into clusters , helping you spot and analyze issues likely to be tested together thereby reinforcing your memory and triggering connections on test day.

Frequency Charts

for the CA Essay, PT, & MBE sections Our Frequency Charts catalog the number of times each rule or item has appeared on the bar exam, and helps to further identify topics that are worth devoting your precious study time on.

The Frequency Charts:

  • Are sorted from most to least tested .
  • Include bar charts to visually see how often items are tested.
  • Can be used as a checklist to make sure you’re studying ALL of the important subjects & rules .

bar exam essay prep

Printable Flashcards

A printable version of the flashcards is also available in PDF format for those who like to study in a paper hard-copy format.

Step 3.  Practice

The Perfect Practice Materials .  Use the most current & relevant practice materials for YOUR bar exam study. 

Studying the law is one thing, but you’ll also need practice to pass.  To that end, we have developed smart study tools and licensed real MBE, Essay, & PT Questions straight from the NCBE and California Committee of Bar Examiners.

California Essay Practice

Real Practice Essays

You must actually practice writing essays to do well on the Essay Section!  No matter how painful.  We recommend writing at least 1-2 essays per subject area.

SmartBarPrep gives you access to actual Past California Bar Essays .  Use these to practice writing essays under timed conditions.

  • Real CA Essay Questions for 22+ years (over 250 essays spanning Feb. 2000 – Feb. 2023).
  • Two full Sample Answers for every essay . These answers received high grades by passing examinees, and are perfect to grade yourself to see how your answer measures up.
  • Clickable table of contents to easily find a particular Subject, Essay Question, or Answer. The Essays are organized in reverse chronological order by subject tested.  That way you can see the most recent essays first or click on a particular essay for a subject you want to work on.

bar exam essay prep

California PT Practice

Real Practice PT’s

The California Performance Test (PT) is often an overlooked section of the exam, despite the fact that it accounts for decent portion of your score.  With that in mind, we encourage practicing at least 1 question per Task type.

In our PT Practice Materials , we’ve made that easy by organizing past PT’s by Task so you can easily jump into practice.

  • Real newer current-format California PT exams (12 questions from July 2017 – Feb. 2023).
  • Plus two Selected Examinee Answers for each California PT included.
  • Real MPT exams for 22+ years (over 100 questions from July 1997 – July 2023). These mimic the current newer-format California PT’s and are excellent for practice.
  • MPT Point Sheets that the bar exam graders use to score MPT questions so you can grade yourself.
  • A clickable Table of Contents to easily find a particular Task Type, PT Question, Selected Answer, or Point Sheet. The PT questions are organized by Task in reverse chronological order, so you can start with the newest questions first.

bar exam essay prep

MBE Practice

bar exam essay prep

Four Practice Exams

Each Practice Exam includes 100 questions from six MBE subject areas: 

  • Constitutional Law
  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Real Property

Note :  Civil Procedure was not tested on the MBE until February of 2015, and for that reason is not included in this study set.  But rest assured, we have you covered with our Civil Procedure Mini Practice Exam (see below).

Detailed Explanations for the 400 Practice Questions

Explanations are essential to effective MBE Practice.  If you do tons of questions, but never review explanations of why your answer was correct or incorrect, then you’re missing the point of doing the practice questions in the first place.

Knowing why your answers were incorrect or incorrect will propel your studying to the next level.  This will not only solidify your MBE knowledge, but also eliminates any wild guess (that resulted in a correct answer) from being bypassed and not reviewed.

Civil Procedure Mini Practice Exam

Test your knowledge of Civil Procedure with 56 Official MBE Questions , including the first ever actual used Civil Procedure questions released.

PLUS, included are the official answer explanations written by the NCBE for each question – including the ones just released in 2019 and 2020.

Mini Practice Exams by Subject

Each mini-exam includes 30 MBE Questions drawn from recent exams.  The mini-exams are grouped individually by subject area, followed by an Answer Key.

Each group of questions is prefaced by the official Subject Matter Scope Outline released by the NCBE.

There are no explanations for these sets, but they are the most recent questions released by the NCBE and are the closest thing to the actual MBE questions still used on the test today .

Each Smart Study System Package Also Includes:

Integrate Our Guides With Your Bar Review Course

While our study guides are intended to be your go-to resource for passing the bar, they are also designed for integrated use along with popular courses like BarBri, Themis, BarMax, and Kaplan.

Our Priority Outlines, Smart Sheets, and study tools integrate well with review courses because each is arranged in terms of frequency and topic, saving you the hassle of trying to figure out which rules are the most important to study.

SmartBarPrep has helped thousands of examinees pass the bar exam since 2011!

“I passed the bar!  I wanted to thank you for the amazing outline.  Your outline was all I read for the essay portion, and it really helped me out.  It was very organized and it had all the rules that I needed for the essays.  Thank you again and have a great day.” Arezoo B. Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law (Passed California bar exam using SmartBarPrep).

Ready to get started?

Sign Up For Our System Now And Begin Studying Smarter Today

Frequently Asked Questions

Can i see a sample.

Sure… you can see samples of our California bar exam study materials here .

Is there a guarantee?

Yes… If after reading through our outlines and study guides, you aren’t happy for any reason, just email us within 30 days of purchase and you’ll receive a full refund.*  We obviously don’t think it’ll come to that, but if you’re even the least bit worried, then put your mind at ease.

*When 30-Day Guarantee is Not Applicable

NO REFUNDS are given under any circumstances for the portion of any purchase relating to MBE Practice Questions because of the nature of the materials.  We unfortunately cannot issue refunds for the MBE Practice Question amount, as substantial per student licensing fees must be paid to the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) for providing access to such materials.

When will the July 2024 materials be released?

The updated July 2024 bar exam study materials will be released in early June 2024.  [Note: The exact release date depends on when the most recent exam is released, so that we can update the priority & frequency statistics.]

If you purchase the current February 2024 version now, we will automatically send you the July 2024 materials for FREE when they are released.

If I purchase now, will you send me the July 2024 materials?

Yes, we will automatically send you the July 2024 materials for FREE when they are released.  You will immediately receive the February 2024 materials to get a head start studying.

What is the access period (how long can I access the materials)?

Smart Flashcards – Access Period

Access Period for All Other Study Materials

With the exception of the Smart Flashcards, all of our study materials are delivered in standard digital PDF format.  Once downloaded, you can use the materials as long as you wish.

However, the link to download the materials usually expires at 6 months from your purchase (for security reasons) – we can reactivate the download links in certain circumstances if you email us.  For that reason, we suggest that you download the materials on your computer or device.

What is the format?

With the exception of the Smart Flashcards, all of our study materials are an instant digital download in PDF format.  Unfortunately, we do not provide any materials in hard-copy paper format.  However, there are no restrictions on printing, so you would be able to print the outlines and study guides yourself.

You can use any PDF reader software to view the PDF files.  If you need a PDF reader software, you can download Adobe Reader for free here .

Can I print the outlines?

Yes, there are no restrictions on printing out copies of the materials for your personal use.

How long will it take to get access?

Immediately, since the files are downloadable.  After your purchase, you will be emailed a unique link to access and download the files.

What subjects are covered?

SmartBarPrep’s study materials cover the subjects tested on the California Bar Exam Essays and Multistate Bar Exam (MBE).  See the full list of subjects below:

California Essay Subjects

  • Partnerships
  • Corporations
  • Civil Procedure
  • Community Property
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Professional Liability
  • Wills & Estates

MBE Subjects

  • Criminal Law & Procedure

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Law Library

bar exam essay prep

Study Aids for Law Students

  • Aspen Learning Library - Formerly the Wolters Kluwer Online Study Aids Library
  • AudioCaseFiles
  • LexisNexis Digital Library
  • Themis Law School Essentials
  • Bar Exam Sample Essays
  • Sample Exams
  • Black Letter Outlines
  • Emanuel CrunchTime
  • Emanuel Law Outlines
  • Examples and Explanations
  • Gilbert Law Summaries
  • Glannon Guides

Many state bar associations post former bar exam essay questions and sample answers on their websites. These model answers are useful for studying for the bar and final exams.

Search online for state bar exam questions and answers, or use the list provided at the bottom of this page. Access is free.

  • Try writing a response to a practice question, then comparing your response to the model answer.
  • Some bar exam questions require the application of state law (e.g., California civil procedure), and may not be helpful if you are studying federal law. Read the question carefully. 
  • Subject coverage will vary by exam and by state.

1L Subjects:

  • Civil Procedure (federal and state questions)
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contract Law
  • Criminal Law

2L/3L Subjects:

  • Business Organizations
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Family Law/Community Property
  • Professional Responsibility/Ethics
  • Secured Transactions (Uniform Commercial Code 2)
  • Wills & Trusts

Sample Exam Questions & Answers By State

  • Mississippi
  • Pennsylvania
  • UBE  (Many of the states on this list administer the UBE, but the states offer more recent model essay answers than the UBE)
  • << Previous: Themis Law School Essentials
  • Next: Sample Exams >>
  • Last Updated: Jan 27, 2022 9:12 AM
  • URL: https://guides.law.byu.edu/studyaids

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BAR EXAM ESSAY PREP

Improve your essay scores. pass the bar exam..

Feeling a little squirmy about the written part of the bar exam? The analysis on the essays giving you some trouble? Freaking out about your timing on the MPT?  First, that is all completely normal! The essays and MPTs cause stress and anxiety for many students. And, you are about to be glad that you stumbled upon this website, because Vinco has proven essay and MPT strategies to help you improve your essay scores and pass the bar exam. Practice makes passing, and you can get started today working with a bar exam essay tutor!

Countdown To The February 2024 Bar Exam

“Before working with Vinco,

I failed the bar exam twice by following one of the major bar review companies’ “cookie-cutter” plan. On day one with Vinco, after reviewing my bar exam score sheets and some of my essay writing for the test, my coach immediately diagnosed my biggest flaw, and explained to me how to fix it in a way that was easy to understand. I made the adjustments she suggested, worked to hone those skills, and followed her plan faithfully. When I took the bar exam the third time, I passed by 30 points, and can now be admitted to practice in any jurisdiction in the UBE, not just the state in which I live.”

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How it works:

three quick steps to better essay scores!

  • Review the details of the essay package below
  • Complete the registration form
  • Receive access to materials and submission portal
  • Review videos and materials provided
  • Write and submit your essay
  • Receive and review feedback

Discover how the Vinco Method has helped students just like you:

bar exam essay prep

What's Included

What’s included:

  • Expert review of 20 Essays, 10 MPTs, or 12 essays and 8 MPTs (choose one of these 3 packages) 
  • Submit any essays or MPTs you choose
  • 3 Part MEE workshop (videos and worksheets) 
  • 3 Part MPT workshop (videos and worksheets) 
  • Access to Vinco's Prewriting Template (and how to use it) 
  • Access to Vinco's Prewritten Essay Templates
  • Dedicated essay "grader"
  • Personalized feedback on overall performance at the end of package completion 
  • Ability to ask 1 follow up question per writing submission
  • 24-hour grading turnaround (up to two essays submitted at a time)
  • 2 part payment plan available

*MEE/ MPT jurisdictions ONLY - inquire about other states.

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Bar Exam Toolbox®

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Tools for Bar Exam Success: Smart Bar Prep

February 7, 2018 By Bar Exam Toolbox Leave a Comment

Smart Bar Prep Review

The number of different bar prep programs, commercial outlines, and study aids available to test takers has grown considerably in recent years. If you’re weighing your bar prep options , here’s another resource to consider. Smart Bar Prep is an essay-focused set of study guides available in both UBE/MEE and California formats.

What is Smart Bar Prep?

Smart Bar Prep materials focus primarily on the essay portion of the bar exam. Their study guides are designed to help bar takers focus their time on the rules that are most frequently tested on essays. Its creators are clear that you shouldn’t ignore rules that appear less often than others. Rather, they believe that that you’ll maximize your chances of passing the bar exam if you focus 80 percent of your time mastering rules that are commonly tested and the other 20 percent of your time on rules that only show up once in awhile.

Many students struggle with prioritizing their time during bar prep and waste time lost in the weeds, agonizing over minor rules and trivial issues that are unlikely to be worth many points on exam day. While you should never rely fully on bar exam predictions and skip learning a subject in its entirety (this is a huge gamble and not worth the risk), it is appropriate to focus your energy on frequently tested rules. For example, professional responsibility is almost guaranteed to show up on the essay portion of the California bar exam. On the Uniform Bar Examination, civil procedure is a favored subject, appearing on nearly half of the past 46 exams. Smart Bar Prep is a great way for you to easily identify the subject areas and rules where you  should focus the majority of your time and attention.

Smart Bar Prep allows you to purchase previously released MBE questions in practice-test format. But, because there are no materials to help you learn the substantive law tested on the essays and MBE (like video lectures) or prepare for the performance test portion of the exam, you probably need to supplement Smart Bar Prep with another bar exam course like BarBri, Themis , or Kaplan. For repeat test takers who struggled with the essay portion of the exam or first-timers who are looking to develop a strategy for essay practice, Smart Bar Prep is a great option.

What are the Pros of Smart Bar Prep?

  • Smart Bar Prep Helps You Prioritize. Smart Bar Prep analyzes past essays to determine which rules are tested with the greatest frequency. Its comprehensive “Essay Prep Outline” contains detailed rule statements which are assigned “Frequency Ratings” and “Priority Ratings.” The Frequency Rating lets you know how many times the rule has shown up on previous essays (e.g., “6 of 46 exams”). The Priority Rating tells you whether memorizing a rule is a “High,” “Medium,” or “Low” priority.
  • Smart Bar Prep Helps You Understand How Rules are Tested. The Essay Prep Outline lists the exams on which a particular rule has appeared on in the past. This information appears in a sidebar right next to the rule. This makes it very easy to find practice essays that will test your knowledge of a rule and ability to apply it to a fact pattern.
  • Smart Bar Prep Materials are Searchable. When you purchase Smart Bar Prep, you can download outlines, attack sheets, past essays, and flashcards in searchable PDFs. This will save you a lot of time when you’re looking for a specific issue or rule. This is a big advantage over the voluminous hard-copy materials provided by major commercial test prep companies like Kaplan and BarBri.
  • Attack Sheets Help You Tackle Fact Patterns. Smart Bar Prep’s “Attack Sheets” group condenses rule statements into clusters, helping you spot and analyze issues that are likely to be tested together. These are much shorter than the comprehensive Essay Prep Outline, but a bit more robust than other condensed commercial outlines such as Lean Sheets .
  • Digital Flashcards Help you Commit Rules to Memory. Smart Bar Prep’s digital flashcards are organized by subject. Key concepts and rules are tested in a question-and-answer style. These are also available in mobile-compatible formats for iOS and Android devices.

  What are the Potential Cons?

  • There are no Guarantees when it comes to the Subjects Tested. When it comes to the bar exam, there are no guarantees. It would be dangerous to rely too heavily on Smart Bar Prep’s priority rankings. You will need to be disciplined and spend enough time memorizing the less frequently tested rules so that you’re not caught by surprise on exam day.
  • You Can’t Rely Completely on Commercial Outlines. You will still need to develop condensed rule statements and create some of your own materials. Most people find that they can’t fully digest bar exam materials without spending at least some time reworking commercial materials into a format that works for them.

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as the perfect outline that will guarantee that you pass the exam. But Smart Bar Prep is a great option for anyone looking to maximize their time during the crucial weeks leading up to the bar exam and boost their essay performance.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that we may be (minimally!) compensated if you purchase after clicking the link.

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Bar exam prep is overdue for an upgrade. This is it. Skyrocket your chances of passing with 1,300+ real MBE questions licensed from NCBE, plus over 600 simulated MBE questions, and Bar Exam Genie AI - a first-of-its-kind tutor.

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Get your hands on the last 23 years of official MEE essays - with full analyses. Plus the last 23 years of MPT tests, complete with the legal points, facts and possible issues within the lawyering tasks described.

Welcome to Barprephero Flashcards! We now have another proven way to help you study for your Bar examination. Scientific research shows that using flashcards as a study method creates strong neural brain connections. This means your memory improves as you go through the flashcards again and again; this is called "active recall." You’ll also gain confidence as you realize that you know and understand the information. Flashcards are one of the most effective study tools, because you know instantly if you have the correct answer. Since you’re "grading your own work," you will learn more quickly and be able to focus on areas that need further study.

  • Single-Subject MBE Tests
  • Mixed-Subject MBE Tests

MBE Exam Simulator

Con law test 1.

This demo prep test includes 15 simulated questions to familiarize you with the kinds of Constitutional Law questions that may appear on the MBE.

Con Law Test 2

This test includes 211 official Constitutional Law questions. The terms “Constitution,” “constitutional,” and “unconstitutional” refer to the federal Constitution unless indicated otherwise.

Con Law Marathon

Includes all 312 Constitutional Law questions (a mix of both simulated and official questions from past exams). If you make a mistake, we’ll show that question to you again until you’ve answered it correctly.

What’s Your Time and Sanity Worth?

Most traditional bar review programs are priced ridiculously high, yet they offer limited access (only unlock after a certain date) and fewer practice materials. See why BarPrepHero guarantees you’ll pass this year’s Bar exam with confidence -- without breaking the bank.

Contracts Test 1

15 demo questions on Contract Law. Revised Articles 1 and 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code are applicable to merchants/sale of goods where appropriate.

Contracts Test 2

190 officially licensed MBE questions on Contract Law drawn from past exams. Examinees are to assume that the Official Text of Articles 1 and 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code have been adopted and is in effect.

Contracts Marathon

Includes all 297 Contracts questions (a mix of both simulated and official questions from past exams). If you make a mistake, we’ll show that question to you again until you’ve answered it correctly.

Crim Law Test 1

This demo prep test gives you practice on the types of questions contained in the Multistate Bar Exam with respect to Criminal Law and Procedure. It is the usual multiple-choice format with four possible answers. You are to choose the best answer of the four.

Crim Law Test 2

This test lets you practice 193 real MBE questions on Criminal Law and Procedure. Approximately half of the Criminal Law and Procedure questions on the MBE will be based on category V, and approximately half will be based on the remaining categories – I, II, III, and IV.

Crim Law Marathon

Includes all 311 Criminal Law and Procedure questions (a mix of both simulated and official questions from past exams). If you make a mistake, we’ll show that question to you again until you’ve answered it correctly.

Evidence Test 1

This 98-question test deals with the subject of Evidence. You will be able to familiarize yourself with the types of questions on this topic that you may encounter on the official MBE.

Evidence Test 2

This test deals with the subject of Evidence and contains 207 official MBE questions from past exams. All Evidence questions should be answered according to the Federal Rules of Evidence, as currently in effect.

Evidence Marathon

Includes all 305 Evidence questions (a mix of both simulated and official questions from past exams). If you make a mistake, we’ll show that question to you again until you’ve answered it correctly.

Real Property 1

This is the practice examination for Real Property. It will assess how well you can apply fundamental legal principles and legal reasoning to analyze problems in this practice area.

Real Property 2

This is the practice examination with official questions for Real Property. It will assess how well you can apply fundamental legal principles and legal reasoning to analyze problems in this practice area.

Real Property Marathon

Includes all 304 Real Property questions (a mix of both simulated and official questions from past exams). If you make a mistake, we’ll show that question to you again until you’ve answered it correctly.

Torts Test 1

This is the practice examination for Torts. The bar exam questions should be answered based on principles of general applicability.

Torts Test 2

This is the practice examination for Torts. The 217 official Multistate Bar Exam questions should be answered based on principles of general applicability. Examinees are to assume that survival actions and claims for wrongful death are available.

Torts Marathon

Includes all 322 Torts questions (a mix of both simulated and official questions from past exams). If you make a mistake, we’ll show that question to you again until you’ve answered it correctly.

Civil Procedure 1

This 132-question prep test deals with Civil Procedure. This topic is a recent addition to the topics covered on the MBE. The National Conference of Bar Examiners advises you to answer the Civil Procedure questions according to accepted fundamental legal principles.

Civil Procedure 2

This test contains official Civil Procedure MBE questions. Examinees are to assume the application of (1) the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as currently in effect and (2) the sections of Title 28 of the U.S. Code pertaining to trial and appellate jurisdiction, venue, and transfer.

Civil Procedure Marathon

Includes all 219 Civil Procedure questions (a mix of both simulated and official questions from past exams). If you make a mistake, we’ll show that question to you again until you’ve answered it correctly.

Practice Exam 1

This practice test covers the following legal practice areas: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts.

Practice Exam 2

This practice test combines material from most of the seven legal practice areas covered in the MBE. It should be similar to the official MBE.

Practice Exam 3

The questions on this test are based on a mixture of most of the seven subject areas in the official MBE.

Practice Exam 4

This is the fourth prep test to assist you in preparing for the MBE. The test contains 100 multiple-choice questions that are similar to those on the actual MBE.

Practice Exam 5

The fifth prep test contains 100 mixed subject matter questions.

Practice Exam 6

Our sixth prep test contains 150 questions based on the types of questions on the official MBE.

Practice Exam 7

Our seventh prep test contains 160 questions based on the types of questions on the official MBE.

This annotated practice exam uses questions drawn from actual MBEs administered in recent years and officially licensed from NCBE. The annotations explain why each answer choice is correct or incorrect. Six MBE subject areas: Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts.

Practice Exam 8

Practice exam 9.

This practice exam consists of 100 official questions released by the NCBE that appeared in previously administered MBEs. Does not contain Civil Procedure questions. The purpose of this exam is to familiarize you with the format and nature of MBE questions.

Practice Exam 10

Practice exam 11, practice exam 12, practice exam 13.

This practice exam consists of 100 official questions released by the NCBE that appeared in previously administered MBEs. The purpose of this exam is to familiarize you with the format and nature of MBE questions.

Practice Exam 14

This 200-question exam simulates the actual MBE and contains a mix of questions from our other tests on the following subjects: Contracts, Torts, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Civil Procedure. You’re allowed to skip questions, but unlike the other practice tests, this test simulator provides no hints or explanations.

  • MEE (Essays)

2023 Questions & Analyses

bar exam essay prep

2022 Questions & Analyses

2021 questions & analyses, 2020 questions & analyses, 2019 questions & analyses, 2018 questions & analyses, 2017 questions & analyses, 2016 questions & analyses, 2015 questions & analyses, 2014 questions & analyses, 2013 questions & analyses, 2012 questions & analyses, 2011 questions & analyses, 2010 questions & analyses, 2009 questions & analyses, 2008 questions & analyses, 2007 questions & analyses, 2006 questions & analyses, 2005 questions & analyses, 2004 questions & analyses, 2003 questions & analyses, 2002 questions & analyses, 2001 questions & analyses, 2000 questions & analyses, 1999 questions & analyses, 1998 questions & analyses, 1997 questions & analyses, 2023 tests & point sheets.

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2022 Tests & Point Sheets

2021 tests & point sheets, 2020 tests & point sheets, 2019 tests & point sheets, 2018 tests & point sheets, 2017 tests & point sheets, 2016 tests & point sheets, 2015 tests & point sheets, 2014 tests & point sheets, 2013 tests & point sheets, 2012 tests & point sheets, 2011 tests & point sheets, 2010 tests & point sheets, 2009 tests & point sheets, 2008 tests & point sheets, 2007 tests & point sheets, 2006 tests & point sheets, 2005 tests & point sheets, 2004 tests & point sheets, 2003 tests & point sheets, 2002 tests & point sheets, 2001 tests & point sheets, 2000 tests & point sheets, 1999 tests & point sheets, 1998 tests & point sheets, 1997 tests & point sheets.

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Criminal Law

Real property, constitutional law, civil procedure, security transactions and mortgages, wills, trusts and estates, business organizations.

Glad I found this site. The explanations and cited cases is a huge plus. I think that they are good sharpening analytical skills. Keep up the good work here! ~ Jacqueline
First allow me to say that you guys are awesome, and I greatly appreciate your bar-prep site. I am currently a paralegal student, and have always wanted to know how I would perform on the bar multi choice section. Your site has given me that opportunity, and I am pleasantly surprised with most of my test scores (70’s -- 90’s), depending on whether I have had a course in a particular test area. Even mistaken answers become learning tools due to your highly instructive and nicely detailed answer sections. I have recommended your site to an attorney who has moved here from another state, and is now preparing for the Maryland Bar Exam. I can not thank you guys enough for your efforts in creating your site, I am very pleased with the level of confidence I have found in myself, by getting the number of correct answers as I have so far. Always wanted to know, and you guys are providing the challenge. Thanks, and please keep the questions coming. Best Regards, Bill Bennett ~ William Bennett, Maryland
This was very helpful. One of my classmates recommended this to me. He got 100% on the practice MBE’s in class last night and credits this page for it. ~ Ellen Fawl, California
Barprephero is fantastic. This gave me the inspiration to further my research in law. Thanks! ~ Edwin Vargas
I’ve written several books on bar preparation in my “In-Brief” series currently selling on Amazon. While writing the books, I received advice from a psychologist who told me that stories are easier to remember than rules. So for each tested bar topic, I included a case that reflects a story relating to the rule. BarPrepHero is the only test site that I have participated in which explains virtually all of its answers with a related case, and as such provides a mechanism for retaining rules through stories. Five stars in my book! ~ Glenn Riser, Juris Doctor Graduate at Florida Coastal School of Law
This is a great introductory MBE study tool. I have taken and passed the California bar exam previously and I am studying for the Tennessee bar exam currently. I feel that the questions provided are not as difficult as the actual MBE questions on the exam, but they are an excellent refresher and a wonderful study aid. ~ Chrystine Carvalho, TN
Some of these I recognize from actual cases I read in Crim Law!! Love it! ~ Jessica Stone-Erdman, NC
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What is taking the Bar Exam really like?

Bar admission process: how the bar exam is administered, bar exam day one: the multistate bar examination (mbe), bar exam day two: state-specific law questions, pass the next bar exam, guaranteed, constitutional law subject matter outline.

NOTE: The terms "Constitution," "constitutional," and "unconstitutional" refer to the federal Constitution unless indicated otherwise. Approximately half of the Constitutional Law questions on the MBE will be based on category IV, and approximately half will be based on the remaining categories - I, II, and III.

  • Organization and relationship of state and federal courts in a federal system
  • Congressional power to define and limit
  • The Eleventh Amendment and state sovereign immunity
  • The "case or controversy" requirement, including the prohibition on advisory opinions, standing, ripeness, and mootness
  • The "adequate and independent state ground"
  • Political questions and justiciability
  • Commerce, taxing, and spending powers
  • War, defense, and foreign affairs powers
  • Power to enforce the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments
  • Other powers
  • As chief executive, including the "take care" clause
  • As commander in chief
  • Treaty and foreign affairs powers
  • Appointment and removal of officials
  • Congressional limits on the executive
  • The presentment requirement and the president's power to veto or to withhold action
  • Nondelegation doctrine
  • Executive, legislative, and judicial immunities
  • Federal immunity from state law
  • State immunity from federal law, including the 10th Amendment
  • Negative implications of the commerce clause
  • Supremacy clause and preemption
  • Authorization of otherwise invalid state action
  • State action
  • Fundamental rights
  • Other rights and interests
  • Procedural due process
  • Classifications subject to heightened scrutiny
  • Rational basis review
  • Other protections, including the privileges and immunities clauses, the contracts clause, unconstitutional conditions, bills of attainder, and ex post facto laws
  • Free exercise
  • Establishment
  • Content-based regulation of protected expression
  • Content-neutral regulation of protected expression
  • Regulation of unprotected expression
  • Regulation of commercial speech
  • Regulation of, or impositions upon, public school students, public employment, licenses, or benefits based upon exercise of expressive or associational rights
  • Regulation of expressive conduct
  • Prior restraint, vagueness, and overbreadth
  • Freedom of the press
  • Freedom of association

Contracts Subject Matter Outline

NOTE: Examinees are to assume that the Official Text of Articles 1 and 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code have been adopted and is in effect. Approximately half of the Contracts questions on the MBE will be based on categories I and IV, and approximately half will be based on the remaining categories - II, III, V, and VI. Approximately one-fourth of the Contracts questions on the MBE will be based on the Official Text of Articles 1 and 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code.

  • Mutual assent (including offer and acceptance, unilateral, bilateral, and implied-in-fact contracts)
  • Indefiniteness and absence of terms
  • Consideration (bargained-for exchange)
  • Obligations enforceable without a bargained-for exchange (including reliance and restitution)
  • Modification of contracts
  • Incapacity to contract
  • Duress and undue influence
  • Mistake and misunderstanding
  • Fraud, misrepresentation, and nondisclosure
  • Illegality, unconscionability, and public policy
  • Statute of frauds
  • Parol evidence
  • Interpretation
  • Omitted and implied terms
  • Conditions (express and constructive)
  • Excuse of conditions
  • Breach (including material and partial breach, and anticipatory repudiation)
  • Obligation of good faith and fair dealing
  • Express and implied warranties in sale-of-goods contracts
  • Other performance matters (including cure, identification, notice, and risk of loss)
  • Impossibility, impracticability, and frustration of purpose
  • Discharge of duties (including accord and satisfaction, substituted contract, novation, rescission, and release)
  • Expectation interest (including direct, incidental, and consequential damages)
  • Causation, certainty, and foreseeability
  • Liquidated damages and penalties, and limitation of remedies
  • Avoidable consequences and mitigation of damages
  • Rescission and reformation
  • Specific performance and injunction
  • Reliance and restitution interests
  • Remedial rights of breaching parties
  • Third-party beneficiaries
  • Assignment of rights and delegation of duties

Criminal Law and Procedure Subject Matter Outline

NOTE: Approximately half of the Criminal Law and Procedure questions on the MBE will be based on category V, and approximately half will be based on the remaining categories - I, II, III, and IV.

  • Premeditation, deliberation
  • Provocation
  • Intent to injure
  • Reckless and negligent killings
  • Felony murder
  • Misdemeanor manslaughter
  • Theft and receiving stolen goods
  • Assault and battery
  • Rape; statutory rape
  • Possession offenses
  • Solicitation
  • Parties to crime
  • Acts and omissions
  • Required mental state
  • Strict liability
  • Mistake of fact or law
  • Mental disorder
  • Intoxication
  • Justification and excuse
  • Jurisdiction
  • Arrest, search and seizure
  • Confessions and privilege against self-incrimination
  • Lineups and other forms of identification
  • Right to counsel
  • Fair trial and guilty pleas
  • Double jeopardy
  • Cruel and unusual punishment
  • Burdens of proof and persuasion
  • Appeal and error

Evidence Subject Matter Outline

NOTE: All Evidence questions should be answered according to the Federal Rules of Evidence, as currently in effect. Approximately one-quarter of the Evidence questions on the MBE will be based on category I, one-third on category II, one-quarter on category V, and the remainder on categories III and IV.

  • Requirement of personal knowledge
  • Refreshing recollection
  • Objections and offers of proof
  • Lay opinions
  • Competency of witnesses
  • Judicial notice
  • Roles of judge and jury
  • Limited admissibility
  • Presumptions
  • Control by court
  • Scope of examination
  • Form of questions
  • Exclusion of witnesses
  • Inconsistent statements and conduct
  • Bias and interest
  • Conviction of crime
  • Specific instances of conduct
  • Character for truthfulness
  • Ability to observe, remember, or relate accurately
  • Impeachment of hearsay declarants
  • Rehabilitation of impeached witnesses
  • Contradiction
  • Proceedings to which evidence rules apply
  • Exclusion for unfair prejudice, confusion, or waste of time
  • Authentication and identification
  • Admissibility of character
  • Methods of proving character
  • Habit and routine practice
  • Other crimes, acts, transactions, and events
  • Prior sexual misconduct of a defendant
  • Qualifications of witnesses
  • Bases of testimony
  • Ultimate issue rule
  • Reliability and relevancy
  • Proper subject matter for expert testimony
  • Real, demonstrative, and experimental evidence
  • Spousal immunity and marital communications
  • Attorney-client and work product
  • Physician/psychotherapist-patient
  • Other privileges
  • Insurance coverage
  • Remedial measures
  • Compromise, payment of medical expenses, and plea negotiations
  • Past sexual conduct of a victim
  • Requirement of original
  • Completeness rule
  • What is hearsay
  • Prior statements by witness
  • Statements attributable to party-opponent
  • Multiple hearsay
  • Present sense impressions and excited utterances
  • Statements of mental, emotional, or physical condition
  • Statements for purposes of medical diagnosis and treatment
  • Past recollection recorded
  • Business records
  • Public records and reports
  • Learned treatises
  • Former testimony; depositions
  • Statements against interest
  • Other exceptions to the hearsay rule
  • Right to confront witnesses

Real Property Subject Matter Outline

NOTE: Approximately one-fifth of the Real Property questions on the MBE will be based on each of the categories I through V.

  • Fees simple
  • Defeasible fees
  • Life estates
  • Remainders, vested and contingent
  • Executory interests
  • Possibilities of reverter, powers of termination
  • Rules affecting these interests (including survivorship, class gifts, waste, and cy pres)
  • Types: tenancy in common and joint tenancy
  • Relations among cotenants
  • Types of tenancies
  • Possession and rent
  • Transfers by landlord or tenant
  • Termination (including surrender, mitigation of damages, anticipatory breach, and security deposits)
  • Habitability and suitability
  • Rule against perpetuities: common law rule and statutory reforms
  • Alienability, descendibility, and devisability of present and future interests
  • Fair housing/discrimination
  • Conflicts of law related to disputes involving real property
  • Nature and type
  • Termination
  • Property owners’ associations and common interest ownership communities
  • Prescription
  • Scope and apportionment
  • Zoning laws
  • Protection of pre-existing property rights
  • Rezoning and other zoning changes
  • Real estate brokerage
  • Statute of frauds and exceptions
  • Essential terms
  • Time for performance
  • Remedies for breach
  • Marketability of title
  • Equitable conversion (including risk of loss)
  • Options and rights of first refusal
  • Fitness and suitability
  • Purchase money mortgages
  • Future advance mortgages
  • Installment land contracts
  • Absolute deeds as security
  • Necessity and nature of obligation
  • Mortgage theories: title, lien, and intermediate
  • Rights and duties prior to foreclosure
  • Right to redeem and clogging the equity of redemption
  • Assumption and transfer subject to
  • Rights and obligations
  • Application of subrogation and suretyship principles
  • Restrictions on transfer (including due-on-sale clauses)
  • By mortgagee
  • Payment (including prepayment)
  • Deed in lieu of foreclosure
  • Acceleration
  • Parties to the proceeding
  • Deficiency and surplus
  • Redemption after foreclosure
  • Adverse possession
  • Requirements for deed
  • Types of deeds (including covenants for title)
  • Drafting, review, and negotiation of closing documents
  • Persons authorized to execute documents
  • Exoneration
  • Chain of title
  • Hidden risks (e.g., undelivered or forged deed)
  • Title insurance
  • Special problems (including estoppel by deed and judgment and tax liens)

Torts Subject Matter Outline

NOTE: Examinees are to assume that survival actions and claims for wrongful death are available. Joint and several liability, with pure comparative negligence, is the relevant rule unless otherwise indicated. Approximately half of the Torts questions on the MBE will be based on category II, and approximately half will be based on the remaining categories - I, III, and IV.

  • Harms to the person, such as assault, battery, false imprisonment, and infliction of mental distress; and harms to property interests, such as trespass to land and chattels, and conversion
  • Privileges and immunities: protection of self and others; protection of property interests; parental discipline; protection of public interests; necessity; incomplete privilege
  • The duty question, including failure to act, unforeseeable plaintiffs, and obligations to control the conduct of third parties
  • The reasonably prudent person: including children, physically and mentally impaired individuals, professional people, and other special classes
  • Rules of conduct derived from statutes and custom
  • Problems relating to proof of fault, including res ipsa loquitur
  • But for and substantial causes
  • Harms traceable to multiple causes
  • Questions of apportionment of responsibility among multiple tortfeasors, including joint and several liability
  • Problems relating to “remote” or “unforeseeable” causes, “legal” or “proximate” cause, and “superseding” causes
  • Claims against owners and occupiers of land
  • Claims for mental distress not arising from physical harm; other intangible injuries
  • Claims for pure economic loss
  • Employees and other agents
  • Independent contractors and nondelegable duties
  • Contributory fault, including common law contributory negligence and last clear chance, and the various forms of comparative negligence
  • Assumption of risk
  • Strict liability and products liability: common law strict liability, including claims arising from abnormally dangerous activities, and defenses to such claims; claims against manufacturers and other defendants arising out of the manufacture and distribution of products, and defenses to such claims
  • Claims based on nuisance, and defenses
  • Claims based on defamation and invasion of privacy, defenses, and constitutional limitations
  • Claims based on misrepresentations, and defenses
  • Claims based on intentional interference with business relations, and defenses

Civil Procedure Subject Matter Outline

NOTE: Examinees are to assume the application of (1) the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as currently in effect and (2) the sections of Title 28 of the U.S. Code pertaining to trial and appellate jurisdiction, venue, and transfer. Approximately two-thirds of the Civil Procedure questions on the MBE will be based on categories I, III, and V, and approximately one-third will be based on the remaining categories - II, IV, VI, and VII.

  • Federal subject-matter jurisdiction (federal question, diversity, supplemental, and removal)
  • Personal jurisdiction
  • Service of process and notice
  • Venue, forum non conveniens, and transfer
  • State law in federal court
  • Federal common law
  • Preliminary injunctions and temporary restraining orders
  • Pleadings and amended and supplemental pleadings
  • Joinder of parties and claims (including class actions)
  • Discovery (including e-discovery), disclosure, and sanctions
  • Adjudication without a trial
  • Pretrial conference and order
  • Right to jury trial
  • Selection and composition of juries
  • Requests for and objections to jury instructions
  • Pretrial motions, including motions addressed to face of pleadings, motions to dismiss, and summary judgment motions
  • Motions for judgments as a matter of law (directed verdicts and judgments notwithstanding the verdict)
  • Posttrial motions, including motions for relief from judgment and for new trial
  • Defaults and dismissals
  • Jury verdicts—types and challenges
  • Judicial findings and conclusions
  • Effect; claim and issue preclusion
  • Availability of interlocutory review
  • Final judgment rule
  • Scope of review for judge and jury

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Bar exam practice questions & answers.

bar exam essay prep

Reviewed by:

David Merson

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 2/16/24

As your bar exam looms near, it's perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed by the multitude of statutes, cases, and complex legal terms you need to grasp. Sure, the multitude of legal concepts might feel like a handful, but we’re here to help! This guide will delve into some bar exam practice questions to provide a clearer perspective on the exam.

We're here to help you study! We've gathered a bunch of practice questions for the bar exam. And don't worry, we've also included all the answers and some explanations. Ready to start?

The bar exam, a critical milestone in every budding lawyer's journey , is notorious for its difficulty. But remember, with a strategic approach, consistent practice of real MBE practice questions, the perfect bar exam practice test, and the right mindset , you can significantly improve your chances of success.

Practice Questions and Answers

Bar exam prep can be expensive, so to start you off on the right foot, we’ll explore some free bar exam sample questions and answers, with a special emphasis on multiple-choice questions:

1. Torts Law: Understanding Liability and Damages

Question : Tom, in a moment of inattention, collides with Jerry's car, inflicting $2000 worth of damage. Jerry decides to sue Tom for negligence. Tom admits his mistake but refuses to pay, asserting that Jerry's car was already in a state of disrepair. Can Jerry still claim damages?

  • Yes, Jerry can claim the full amount of $2000.
  • No, Jerry cannot claim any damages because his car was already in disrepair.
  • Yes, but Jerry can only claim half the amount ($1000) due to pre-existing damages.
  • No, Jerry can only claim damages if Tom had intentionally caused the accident.

Correct Answer : A) Yes, Jerry can claim the full amount of $2,000.

Explanation

Tort cases are commonly referenced in MBE bar exam questions. In a tort case, such as this, Jerry can recover damages as long as he can prove the cost of repairs or the diminished value of his car due to the accident. Tom's belief about pre-existing damage doesn't negate his liability for the damages he caused. 

While the state of the car before the accident might be relevant in assessing the degree of damage caused by the accident, it does not absolve Tom of his responsibility to pay for the harm he directly caused.

2. Criminal Law: Grasping the Concept of Intent

Question : Can Ann be convicted of burglary if her defense is that she entered the building solely to seek refuge from a sudden storm?

  • Yes, Ann can be convicted of burglary even if she entered the building to seek refuge from a sudden storm.
  • No, Ann cannot be convicted of burglary if she entered the building solely to seek refuge from a sudden storm.
  • Maybe, it depends on whether Ann had a history of committing crimes.
  • It depends on the severity of the storm that Ann encountered.

Correct Answer : B. No, Ann cannot be convicted of burglary if she entered the building solely to seek refuge from a sudden storm.

man handcuffed behind back

Ann cannot be convicted of burglary if she can prove that she entered the building solely to seek refuge from a sudden storm. 

Burglary requires the intent to commit a crime upon entering a building, and seeking shelter from a storm is not a criminal act . Therefore, if Ann can validate her claim of seeking shelter, she lacks the requisite intent for a burglary conviction.

3. Constitutional Law: Freedom of Speech

Question : Which of the following statements is true regarding the state law that prohibits residents from criticizing the governor on social media?

  • Yes, the law violates the First Amendment rights of the residents.
  • No, the law does not violate the First Amendment rights of the residents.
  • Maybe, it depends on the type of social media platform being used.
  • It depends on the popularity of the governor.

Correct Answer : A. Yes, the law violates the First Amendment rights of the residents.

This is because the First Amendment of The Constitution protects the right to freely criticize the government, which would include government officials such as a state governor. A law that prohibits such criticism would likely be seen as infringing on these protected rights. 

4. Contracts Law: The Essentials of a Contract

Question : Which of the following statements is true regarding the scenario where Jane proposed to sell her car to John for $5,000, but sold the car to someone else the very next day without receiving any acceptance or consideration from John?

  • Yes, John can sue Jane for breach of contract because she made an offer to him.
  • No, John cannot sue Jane for breach of contract because no contract was formed between them.
  • Maybe, John can sue Jane for breach of contract because he needed time to think it over.
  • It depends on the type of contract Jane proposed.

Correct Answer : B. No, John cannot sue Jane for breach of contract because no contract was formed between them.

two women signing a

Many of the bar test questions you’ll see will involve contract law since it’s such an important part of the legal field. For a contract to be formed, it requires an offer, acceptance, and consideration. In this scenario, Jane made an offer to sell her car to John, but John did not accept the offer or provide any consideration to Jane. 

Therefore, there was no legally binding contract formed between them, and Jane was not obligated to sell the car to John. Since there was no contract, there can be no breach of contract, and John cannot sue Jane. 

Option A is incorrect because an offer alone does not constitute a contract. Option C is incorrect because John's need for more time to think it over is not relevant to the formation of a contract. Option D is incorrect because the type of contract proposed by Jane is irrelevant when no contract was formed.

5. Property Law: The Obligations of a Finder

Question : Is Jim legally allowed to keep the $1000 he found in a wallet in a public park, even though the owner later posted flyers in search of the wallet?

  • Yes, Jim is legally allowed to keep the money as he found it in a public place.
  • No, Jim is not legally allowed to keep the money as it belongs to the owner of the wallet.
  • Maybe, it depends on whether Jim reported the found wallet to the authorities.
  • It depends on whether Jim made any attempts to locate the owner of the wallet.

Correct Answer : B. No, Jim is not legally allowed to keep the money as it belongs to the owner of the wallet.

Jim is not legally allowed to keep the $1000 he found in the wallet in a public park. Property law requires finders of lost property to make a reasonable effort to return it to its rightful owner. Since the owner is known and has posted flyers in search of the wallet, Jim is legally bound to return the wallet and the money to the owner. 

Keeping the money without attempting to locate the owner is considered theft. Therefore, Jim is not allowed to keep the money, and he must make a reasonable effort to return the wallet to its rightful owner.

Hopefully going over these MBE practice questions in depth has helped you understand them better and offered insights into how to best approach them! Continue going over sample MBE questions and past bar exams to get familiar with various question types and feel prepared for test day! 

FAQs: Bar Exam Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions related to bar exam questions.

1. What Kind of Questions Are on the Bar Exam?

A standard bar exam comprises a combination of multiple-choice questions, often referred to as the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), essay questions, and performance tests. These questions encompass a broad array of legal areas, including, but not limited to, constitutional law, criminal law, civil procedure, contracts, and property law.

2. Is the Bar Exam Actually Hard?

Yes, the bar exam can feel very hard because it covers a lot of topics, there's limited time, and it's really important. But, with good studying, lots of practice , and a never-give-up attitude , many people do succeed.

3. How Can I Practice for the Bar Exam?

Preparation for the bar exam calls for a well-rounded approach. This includes gaining a firm understanding of legal principles, committing key facts and cases to memory, and rigorously working through bar exam practice questions. 

Using a mix of bar exam practice multiple choice questions and essays, as well as reviewing model answers, can substantially enhance your legal analytical abilities, as well as improving your speed and accuracy in test-taking. 

Additionally, consider joining a study group or enlisting the help of a tutor for structured guidance and support.

4. What Essay Questions Are on the Bar Exam?

Essay questions on the bar exam typically present a hypothetical scenario and require you to apply legal principles to analyze it. These questions are designed to test your ability to identify relevant legal issues, apply the law accurately, and articulate a logical and well-structured argument. 

Some jurisdictions also include Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) questions, which test knowledge across a wide range of legal topics.

Final Thoughts

Facing the bar exam may feel like a herculean task, but take heart in knowing that countless others have successfully surmounted this obstacle, and you certainly can too. 

Regular, methodical practice with bar exam questions and answers will not only deepen your understanding of the law but also refine your analytical skills and boost your self-confidence.

As you forge ahead with your preparation, keep this essential principle in mind - practice does not merely make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. View these bar exam sample questions as stepping stones that enable you to refine your techniques, rectify errors, and devise a strategy that best suits your individual learning style.

Ultimately, your success in the bar exam will stand as a testament to your unwavering dedication, determination, and mastery of legal knowledge. So, keep practicing, stay focused, and before long, you'll be on your way to joining the esteemed fraternity of licensed attorneys. 

Your journey may be tough, but the destination will certainly be worth it. Good luck!

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REGISTRATION FOR THIS CLASS REMAINS OPEN UNTIL CLASS IS FILLED; HOWEVER, REGISTERING EARLY IS IMPORTANT, AS THERE ARE PRE-COURSE ASSIGNMENTS THAT MUST BE COMPLETED PRIOR TO THE FIRST CLASS.

The class meets as a group for approximately 3 hours each week.  There will also be an opportunity to meet individually with Ms. Katz after each class to ask specific questions about your graded work.

Course tuition is $1,100.00 if paid by personal check, or $1,150.00 if paid via credit card.

To register, please contact us and, if there is availability, we will send you a registration form.

Ms. Katz also offers private tutoring for the essay and MPT portion of the bar.  However, the three-week course is a prerequisite for any and all private tutoring.

Comments from previous students who passed the bar:

Thank you so much for your help in getting me over the finish line to practice in GA!  Your course is invaluable, as I scored a 158 on the essay/MPT section!  I’ll highly recommend you to anyone I know that will be taking the GA Bar Exam in the future.  Thanks a million! ~ G.D., July 2023

I had taken the bar exam four times (three UBE and one Georgia exam) before finding Ms. Katz class. Although I was a smart cookie with a strength in MBEs, I was having difficulty learning a writing structure that would maximize my points for the MPTs and essays. Adding to this challenge, I had been working full-time (40+ hours/week) during each attempt; so outside of just studying the law, I was too exhausted to develop a real game plan for tackling the written portions of the exam. When I decided to give another swing at the bar exam in February 2023, I was determined to find a course that could assist with writing and more specifically, writing for Georgia’s exam. I found Ms. Katz class and one thing she kept repeating to us full-time workers, “TAKE THE TIME OFF!” This time I listened. I made the sacrifice to take reduced hours at work and I focused hard on mastering the writing approach Ms. Katz taught in her course. Her approach made things so simple and along with her encouragement and tips/tricks along the way, I finally did it! I passed with the highest score I’ve ever had on the writing portion and my MBE score increased from its average as well. With over 30 years under her belt teaching legal writing, she knows what the Georgia examiners are looking for and boy did she help me deliver! I am eternally thankful to Ms. Katz for her course! ~ J. James, February 2023

When I first heard of Ms. Katz’s class, I had just failed the Ga Bar Exam by 8 points with a MBE of 140. I knew that if I was going to have any chance of passing I needed to improve my essay score. Through researching GA Bar Exam essay tutors, I stumbled across a reddit user’s post about passing the GA bar exam and how her tutor Barbara Katz was instrumental to her success. I knew I needed her help. Through Barbara Katz’s classes, I was able to understand where I went so wrong in the past. She gave in depth feedback on numerous assignments as well as discussing logistical and practical tips on the mechanics of essay writing. I really do credit Ms. Katz and her class with giving me the essay writing skills to finally pass the Ga Bar Exam. ~ Amber S, July 2022

Thanks so much, Barbara! I scored a 132 on the MBE and a 144 on Essay/MPT, so the written portion carried me over.  I appreciate your help and am excited to see what’s next! ~ SW, July 2022

I want to thank you for your class.  After six years, I achieved a passing score.  I remember you telling me to handle the MBE portion and that you would take care of the rest. You did that and then some, as my writing score increased by 30+ points. ~ Xavier S., February 2021

Barbara’s writing class was extremely helpful and it played a pivotal role in helping me pass the Georgia October 2020 Bar Exam. Due to Covid-19, the class was virtual, but that didn’t take away from the effectiveness of the class. The class was well organized, she’s a great communicator, and most all she genuinely cares about your success on the bar exam. Her class helped me improve with the organization and analysis portion of my essays. The feedback that she provided for the graded homework assignments was very detailed and helpful. I appreciated her willingness to have a one-on-one session after every class. I was a repeat taker and as a result, my confidence was low. However, Barbara did a great job with negating that. My writing score increased by 23 points after taking her class. The class may be pricey for some people, but it’s definitely worth the investment. You won’t regret it, because I don’t. ~ Tee, October 2020 COVID-19 exam

I decided to retake the Georgia Bar Exam, but this time I had a plan. I purchased Ms. Katz’s services because I was recommended to her by an associate, and her reviews were amazing. Once I was in her class, she really broke down the concepts in a way that I could grasp more easily. Her feedback on the various assignments was very thorough and helpful. My score went up on the essays dramatically. I would recommend Ms. Katz to anyone who is in need of help with legal writing for the Georgia Bar Exam. ~ Bar Applicant, October 2020 COVID-19 exam

I knew that I wanted to sit for the bar exam just one time, if at all possible. That meant I needed to put myself in the best position to succeed on my first attempt. Ms. Katz provided all of the tools that I needed to be successful on the essay portion – which was a struggle for me due to issue spotting problems.  I scored much higher on the essays than I ever would have without her class.  In addition to strategic approaches to essays, she did wonders for my confidence which, when sitting for the bar exam, is vital. It allowed me to be calm (I was a frantic mess before!) and trust that I knew what I’d studied.  I am elated to say that I passed with a comfortable margin, and I didn’t have to rely on my MBE score the way I’d originally planned to.  If essay writing is an issue for you, I would certainly recommend Ms. Katz.  This was money well spent! ~Pam, October 2020 COVID-19 exam

There is no doubt that Barbara Katz’s GA Bar Exam Prep Class was paramount for my passage of the GA bar exam. I missed passing the bar exam the first time I sat, and aware of my difficulty with standardized multiple choice tests (MBE), I knew I needed as many points possible with the writing portion. I searched online for local GA essay classes, discovered Barbara’s class, and immediately enrolled. After taking her class and before sitting for the exam a second time, I realized that my essay and MPT writing skills were previously insufficient for bar exam purposes. Barbara teaches simple, straightforward techniques to quickly improve your essay writing. Without a doubt, her class is the reason I recently passed the February GA Bar exam since my MBE score went down, yet I gained immense points on the writing portion, which put me over the 270 edge! You won’t regret taking her class. Worth every penny, and you will gain skills that will serve you in your legal career going forward! ~Ashley, February 2020

I’m a foreign attorney who graduated with a LLM degree and decided to take the GA Bar exam.  After 2 attempts where I was 15 to 20 points shy of passing, I decided to take Barbara’s course.  Not only did she give me a better understanding of the exam in general, but Barbara provided me with specific strategies to apply during the exam.  Most importantly, after her course I had the confidence I needed to take the Bar exam.  In February 2019, I passed the GA Bar exam, dramatically improving my essays and MPT by a total of 30 points.  I can’t thank Barbara enough for her help. ~P, February 2019

As an out-of-state practicing attorney that hadn’t taken a bar exam in 15 years, I was apprehensive about how I was going to prepare for the Georgia attorney’s exam.  I’ve always found essay exams to be tough in that addressing the issues, without wasting time with irrelevant information, had always been a challenge for me.  Barbara’s system taught me to focus on the issues, identify the information necessary for the analysis and structure the answer in an efficient presentation while excluding irrelevancies.  With the help of Barbara’s strategy, I was able to fully answer the essays and MPTs in a timely manner and passed the Georgia Bar on my first attempt.  I highly recommend Barbara’s course for anyone preparing for the Georgia Bar. ~Paul, February 2019

I highly recommend Barbara’s course if you are attempting to score as high as possible on the Essay portion of the Bar exam.  The course is tailored to maximize the amount of points you can receive on the essays.  Through Barbara’s course you will learn how the essays are graded, how to catch the eye of the grader, how to best organize your responses and what strategies and techniques to employ going in on the day of the exam.  I think all of these skills are crucial so you can enter test day feeling fully prepared and confident. ~Frank, February 2019

At the start of Ms. Katz’s class, I was a two-time Ga Bar failure. I had failed the Bar by 14 and 15 points each time and I KNEW the essay portion was my downfall. Instead of failing a third time, I googled essay tutors and found Ms. Katz. Before her class, I honestly believed that I wasn’t gaining points on the essay portion because I didn’t know enough about the tested topics. After the first class, I knew I had failed the bar twice due to horrible organizational skills. Ms. Katz helped me learn how organizational skills alone gives you points. Ms. Katz’s class will teach you how to organize, save time, and write bar passing essays.  For the February 2019 Bar, my MBE score actually dropped and I still passed the exam. I know it was due to learning how to organize my essays and writing a well thought out essay. ~ E., February 2019

I cannot recommend this class enough! Before I took Barbara’s class, I had taken the bar exam three times and gotten three scores of 259, 252, and 262. After I took her class, I took the bar exam for a fourth time and got a score of 285! Barbara’s class was the main reason. It was my essay score that really put me over the edge. She really explains what the bar examiners are looking for and gives you practical techniques on how to approach each MPT and essay. I used her techniques for each MPT and essay question and the result speak for itself. I would highly recommend anyone looking for an essay class to stop looking and sign up. Practice, practice, practice the techniques she teaches and use them! ~Elijah A., Feb 2018

Best decision I ever made!!!! I improved 26 points for the essay portion of the bar exam on my second try! I wish Barbara was my LRW professor in law school. I learned more about legal writing after just one class with Barbara than 3 years in law school. Not only does she give you the tools you need to pass, she also gives you the confidence you need to overcome the anxiety, stress, and fear towards the bar. I most certainly would not have passed the second time without Barbara’s help. I walked in with all the tools and strategy she taught in class. I walked out of the exam room feeling like I absolutely crushed the essays. And I did!! Guys, 26 points increase! Thank you, Barbara! ~Joey, Feb 2018

I took Barbara’s legal writing bar prep class before the Feb 2018 test and she not only helped to vastly improve my legal writing skills but boosted my confidence level by an order of magnitude! Before taking her class I was so nervous taking the bar exam I was sick to my stomach. During this last (and final!!!) bar exam I was ice calm and able to focus so much better than before. Whether you need to fine tune your legal writing skills or need a confidence boost, I highly recommend her class! ~Diana, Feb 2018

I recently passed the February 2018 bar exam, due largely to this focused writing class. After missing the passing score on the February and July 2017 bar exams and realizing the essay portion of the exam was where I struggled most, I searched for a reasonably priced class that focused on the essay portion of the bar exam. Ms. Katz prep class came up on the first page of my google search. This was hands down, the best money I ever spent. The class was focused, provided tips for getting the maximum number of points, and provided detailed, one-on-one feedback. Ms. Katz pointed out both the strengths and weaknesses in my writing. I got more out of this class than I got out of any writing class in law school. The proof is in the numbers, my essay score improved 9 points over my best previous essay score. I highly recommend this class. ~Sheryl, January 2018

There is a certain amount of science behind bar exams, and Barbara shows you how to reach the necessary passing score by drawing on her actual experience as a former legal writing professor, as well as a long-standing bar tutor. Her teaching is very methodical and you learn to no longer be scared of the bar exam but actually embrace it after learning, or “cracking”, the ways that the bar examiners think and write questions year after year. Combined with self-study of the MBE multiple-choice questions, her essay/MPT course should get you the necessary score to pass the bar exam and claim your law license! Thank you Barbara! ~An applicant who passed on his second try in February 2018 (essay/MPT score increased by 28 points)

I have no doubt that I would not have passed the Bar Exam if I had not taken Barbara’s class. I am a LL.M. graduate and English is not my first language, so I’ve always struggled with the written part of the Exam. After taking Barbara’s class and by following her method, I improved my essay score by 13 points and was finally able to pass the exam. I definitely recommend her course to anyone who needs to improve their essay score. ~ Helen, July 2017

Taking Barbara’s course helped me improve my essay and MPTs scores by 19 points.  Barbara taught me how to properly organize my answers to maximize my score.  She explained what the examiners are looking for.  She taught me that knowing the law is not enough to get a passing grade, and I learned what was needed to achieve a passing score.  Barbara’s course played a key role in my successful passage of the Georgia bar exam.  Thank you Barbara! ~ Feb. 2017

~Brian, Feb. 2016

This class was the reason I passed the February 2016 GA Bar!  As a repeater, I knew my weakness was writing.  Ms. Katz helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses.  Throughout the process, she provided invaluable feedback and encouragement.  Thanks to Ms. Katz’s methods, I raised my writing score by 20 points. ~T. Williams

If you have any concern about the written portion of the Georgia Bar (and probably any other state bar), I cannot recommend this course enough. I had taken the exam before and, as a result of this course, my written score increased by double digits. I have struggled with writing under timed conditions and this course helped me to be more focused and efficient. If you follow, employ and practice Professor Katz’s methods, you will do well on the exam. ~Rodrick, July 2015

Ms. Katz’s class made the difference in my passing the Bar Exam.  Her step-by-step process truly prepared me for the MPT and Essay portions of the Bar and showed me exactly what Bar Exam Graders were looking for in an answer.  All I have to say is, without her, I don’t believe I would have gotten my grade of 160 (an improvement of 25 points) on the written portion.  If you struggle with multiple choice like most of us do and need to make up the extra points on the written portion of the exam, take Ms. Katz’s class! ~ Jonathan, July 2015

Thank you for your guidance and support while I was preparing for the Georgia Bar. When I signed up for your training, I had gone to law school in Florida and was licensed to practice there. I was unsure how to prepare for the Georgia Bar Exam because Florida did not require the MPT. At the beginning of my preparation, my anxiety level was high. However, by the end of your course, I had a keen understanding of what to expect and my high level of anxiety had been replaced with a sense of empowerment. The information you shared in the bar prep workshop made the difference in my level of confidence and definitely aided in my success. Thanks for your professionalism and commitment to the success of your students! ~ Rowena, February 2015

Ms. Katz’s Bar Exam Essay Course helped me improve my overall understanding of exam worthy essays. Her feedback and easy to follow writing methods made it possible for me to improve over ten points from my previous essay score. ~ Matthew B., February 2015

Not only did I enjoy the course, but I got all the information I needed to successfully get through day one of the Georgia Bar. I had no idea what the examiners were looking for before taking the Katz course. I passed! Day one piece of cake! Thank you! ~ D. Stewart, July 2014

Before taking Ms. Katz class, I had taken the BAR three times to no avail.  Time management was my main problem.  Each time I took the exam, I always ran out of time.  I had a hard time managing and organizing both the essay and the MPT portion.  After learning about Ms. Katz program through a friend, I immediately signed up for her course.  I figured I had nothing to lose.  Best decision I ever made!!!!  Her class not only helped me organize my writing, but my confidence was also restored.  It gave me the will to try again, unafraid.  Seeing my name on the pass list this past summer was the best feeling I’ve had in a long time.  I finally felt vindicated.  Thank you, prof. Katz!!! ~ S.J., July 2013

“Barbara Katz’s Essay Writing Program gave me the confidence to conquer the essays without fear and anxiety. I dreaded the writing portion of the bar.  However, with Barbara’s strategies and methods, I walked into the Bar Exam feeling confident and ready.   One the day of the exam, I followed all of her suggestions and methods, and I am honored to say I passed the 2013 Georgia Bar Exam.” ~ April, July 2013

When I stumbled upon your website this past summer, I’d already taken the bar exam two times. I was discouraged about my writing and unsure of what I should I do next. Barbara, you restored my confidence in my ability to write. When I took the exam for a third time this summer, I ran into a time crunch, but with the steps you’d gone over with me and the essay structure you’d ingrained in me, during the exam, I remained confident that I was composing succinct answers. My overall score increased by 20 points, with over 2/3 of those points going towards my written score. Thanks so much for working with me and for always being very thorough and positive. Your services were a great investment–I can’t thank you enough. ~ Leigh, July 2012

Thank you so much for working with me this summer. Because of your course, I not only passed the exam, but I did so comfortably! My essay score increased by 17 points (31 points overall)! I’m overjoyed, and I am positive that your pointers for dealing with the essays put me over the top. Your strategy for conquering the MPTs allowed me to complete them with confidence, and your essay suggestions were exactly what I needed to keep me organized during the exam. I’m so grateful for your continued encouragement, and for helping me to believe that I could do it. Thank you again, and keep doing what you’re doing! ~ B.C., July 2012

As you are aware I was not successful back on the Feb ’12. But grazed it by hairs this past Jul. My writing score was higher than my MBE score both times. Thank you, thank you many times over! I am more than confident my investment in your writing course made all the difference!!! Most importantly you gave me confidence, something I often lacked about my writing in law school. Pin-pointing how and why I lost writing points was phenomenal! ~ Kim (July 2012)

My friend and fellow attorney recommended your bar writing course when I had difficulty passing the bar and I cannot thank her enough! Barbara, the skills I learned in your class gave me the confidence and organization I needed to stay focused while writing essays for the bar. I honestly feel that what I learned during your course helped me compose very succinct answers. What you taught me pushed me over the top and I would recommend your course to anyone! Thanks so very much for all of your help! ~ S.N.

Barbara’s class was exactly what I needed to help me structure my writing for both the essay and MPT portion of the exam.I struggled with managing the material for the MPT, but using her method helped me identify the important pieces of the puzzle and put together cohesive, high-scoring MPTs.I truly feel that it is a result of her instruction that I passed the February bar exam and would not hesitate to recommend her class. ~ April S. (February 2012)

It is with great gratitude that I send this email. I have struggled to pass the bar exam and repeatedly failed the test by just a few points each time.  I took your class and as a result my score increased 17 points! I did much better on the writing portion of the test. I applied the strategies that you teach in class and they worked! Thank you for your patience and encouragement. You are the best! ~Tiana (July 2011)

Thank you so so much for the help and encouragement you offered during your January 2011 bar prep class. I am so happy to tell you that I raised my score 23 points. Your class really was just what I needed. Not only did it give me the right organization and structure to use for the exam, but I also gained so much confidence. ~ Amanda F. (January 2011)

I would like to thank you for all the pointers you gave me this past summer!! There is no way I could have passed the exam without your assistance. I cried for three hours after I saw the certificate. Your expertise allowed me to see exactly where I was lacking in my essays. You also served as a counselor for me and encouraged me to let go of the past failures. In sum, you were an angel to me. I thank God for your unselfishness and I thank God that I passed the Georgia bar. Wow! I am an attorney now. God is good!!!!! ~K.G. (July 2010)

I want to thank you for helping me study for the July (09) Georgia Bar Exam. After two previous failing attempts, I passed, and I am very happy about that. The work we did on essay writing and especially formatting helped me a great deal.  The one-on-one attention (even though I was in D.C.) was great, I am SURE this is what put me over the top. Again, thank you! ~William (July 2009)

I passed! Thank you for all of your help over the summer.  You truly gave me the blueprint to pass! ~Angela (July 2009)

Thank you!  . . . I really appreciated your help and motivation.  It definitely helped as I prepared for the bar. . . .  I’m so glad it is over.  I wish you all the best, and if you ever have a student requesting information about your services, I will gladly serve as a referral. ~L. Lee (February 2009)

Thank you Barbara.  I certainly don’t think I could have done it without you.  I appreciate all of your help, advice, and words of encouragement.  Hopefully one day (if I ever find a job in Atlanta- things are tough out there!), I can take you out to lunch for a proper token of appreciation. ~Kate (February 2009)

Thank you Barbara!!! I sincerely appreciate the help that you offered in your class. CIRAC made much of the difference!!! ~Nicole (February 2009)

Barbara’s tutoring gave me directed, targeted advice on how to prepare for the essay and MPT portion of the bar exam. I threw out my previously purchased essay prep course books after meeting with her. I did not have an abundance of time on my hands with a new baby but Barbara guided me through the process efficiently…and I passed! ~B. Gearhart (July 2007)

From 1994 through 2006, Ms. Katz was the program coordinator and writing instructor in the Bar Admissions Court of Study, a Georgia bar review course administered by Georgia State University School of Law.  This course has been suspended indefinitely, although information about the course may still available at its web site.

Barbara Katz Law Firm, P.C. 1900 Century Place N.E., Suite 220 Atlanta, GA 30345 Office: (404) 298-5050 Send us an email on our Contact Page

bar exam essay prep

The information contained in this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should always consult an attorney for legal advice pertaining to your particular situation and state of residence. Site copyright © 2019 by Barbara Katz Law Firm, P.C.  You may reproduce materials available at this site for your own personal use and for non-commercial distribution. All copies must include this copyright statement.

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A blog on tech, law, policy, and mental health, my ultimate bar-prep guide: how i passed the ca bar exam while working full-time.

bar exam essay prep

The following is an extensive walk-through of how I tackled the July 2021 California bar exam (while holding down a demanding, full-time job). As always, what worked for me, may not work for you. There are many ways to achieve success on the bar exam. Your mileage may vary. 

TLDR (because your time is immensely precious now); I was stringent with my time, kept up with my schedule, optimized for success by cutting A LOT of corners, and used Barbri , Baressays.com , Adaptibar , Smart Bar Prep , Cal Bar Bible (for essay predictions), Critical Pass , The Bar Exam Toolbox Podcast , Bar MD (for the PT), and this super cheap and easy book of rule statements .  You can find my frequently tested topics map here .

Before we dive into this, I wanted to start with a quick pep talk. You’re likely reading this post because you’ve already made the decision to study for the California bar exam while working full-time. I know that decision wasn’t made lightly. I was there only a few months ago. I know you wouldn’t be making this decision if you didn’t need to. So, unlike the many other blogs out there (and people in your life), I’m not here to scare you off or talk you out of it. Quite the contrary – let me be the first (and maybe only) person to say, you’ve got this. 

As nice as it is to feel so accomplished, this was not the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. The bar exam is not impossible and it’s not that bad . I recognize this conclusion might piss a few people off (especially those folks that are so enamored with tradition and the sanctity of their precious institutions). I recognize that this conclusion is a consequence of my privilege . But I also recognize that boasting about the impossibility of the bar exam is, in its own way, part of a rite of passage in this field. Unfortunately though, many rites of passage are just methods of gatekeeping in disguise. And because 80% of the bar exam is about mastering the mental game, toxic boasting and over exaggerations about an exam that isn’t worth the anxiety and anguish it causes, can paralyze prospective examinees. Hence, I refuse to indulge in it. 

The California Bar Exam is not that bad.

Now, this isn’t to say that studying for the bar while working full time will be a walk in the park. This will be a challenging and exhausting two months. It will require sheer diligence, persistence, discipline, ruthless optimization, and a little bit of luck. But importantly, it’s all doable. You’ll need to remind yourself of that throughout your studies. 

On that note, I’ll leave you with one more reminder: this exam is not worth your health, your sanity, or your life. Unfortunately, suicide among bar examinees is disturbingly common. I remember seeing some dark tweets among #lawtwitter peers as the exam date neared. A ridiculous, archaic, bullshit, privilege contest (that the President of the NCBE has yet to partake in herself – fun fact), is not worth your life . Failing is not the end of the world. I promise. 

Now, let’s get into it. 

My Situation 

I took and passed the July 2021 bar exam. When I graduated from law school, I was already well into my full-time career at Google. I was not in a position to take two months off to study. Originally, I had planned to take the February 2022 exam, giving myself more time to study. That’s the plan I had communicated to my family and peers. But, in a rather impulsive twist, just weeks before we’re supposed to start studying for the July exam, and against the advice of my law school, I decided to throw caution to the wind and see what happens.

Looking back, it was the best decision I made for myself at that moment. There is no way I would have found the time to study for the exam in February, especially this far along in my career. 

Note: because of the pandemic, I had to take the bar exam virtually at home. Hence, my study tips and schedule are built with those logistics in mind. 

Pre-Study Prep

There are few things I did to prepare myself for what I knew was about to be an exhausting two-month sprint. 

First, I looked for bar blogs written by anyone else that attempted to study / work full-time. I came up empty. Rather, I only found posts and Reddit threads that discussed what a terrible idea it was to work full time and how impossible the California bar exam is (now you see why I included a pep talk in this post). The only blog post that actually helped (and brought me some comfort) was this one written by my law school advisor from back when he took the exam. Though it’s a bit dated (and I even disagree with a few points now having taken the exam), it’s still a great read with many excellent tips for optimization. 

Next, I closed down all of my socials except for Twitter. Some recommend that you go completely dark while studying. That would not have worked for me. Twitter is an important social outlet for me. It’s also how I keep up with my field. I knew that I would have a lot of extra anxiety from closing my Twitter account for two months, so I chose to continue using it, just less. I muted all of my Twitter and Messenger notifications so I could never be interrupted. I also muted any and all words that had to do with the bar exam. I didn’t care about nor did I want to see how other people were studying (because I know I’m the type who would be tempted to constantly change my study habits just to match). I also didn’t want to read or indulge in the exhaustion olympics. Being exhausted and pitiful is easy like / retweet bait (but it can also be overwhelming, toxic, and make you feel like you’re not doing enough when you actually are). Some people take comfort in commiserating. I don’t. Your mileage may vary. 

[Note – Reddit can get pretty toxic around the bar exam too. I completely avoided it] 

I cut every substance out of my life except for caffeine (no excuses, no cheat days). You need every brain cell in order to memorize an extensive (and unreasonable) amount of information. And you have no time for hangovers.

Letting People In | Shutting People Out 

The last thing I did (besides gathering supplements – discussed later) was selectively tell the folks who needed to know that I was doing this. I was on the fence about telling my manager and team as I did not want them to withhold projects or “go easy on me” as a result. Of course, the entire point of putting myself through this experience was to preserve my career growth. I ultimately decided to let my teammates know, simply because I knew at some point in those two months, my work product would suffer. I owed my team that advanced notice. I even met a few colleagues that went through the same experience. Those colleagues gave me phenomenal advice and support throughout, and words cannot adequately describe how grateful I am for them.

Outside of Google, I chose to tell very few people (including my own family). For starters, I have an unhealthy relationship with failure and the last thing I wanted to do was have to tell everyone that I failed the exam (especially after everyone warned me about trying to study / work full-time). With that, I nominated (or volun-told) my husband (obviously), and my law school advisor (who I’ve trusted for years now with navigating tricky decisions like this one), to be my emotional support squad. I would not let anyone else into this plan until a week or two before the exam date. 

In many ways, I felt liberated by keeping this to myself. I was kept out of the misery-swirl growing among my peers, I never had to talk about studying for the bar during the brief moments of social interaction I allowed myself, and for the most part, my summer was super quiet. Not to mention, the two people I went to when I was at my emotional wit’s end were the two people that knew me best (and therefore always knew what to say). And because they weren’t also trying to study for the bar, they were emotionally available (most of the time) for my bullshit and they weren’t implicitly trying to one-up me with their own study habits. I owe both of them an immense amount of gratitude. 

At the same time, I’m not sure I can fully recommend shutting people out while you’re going through this process. While I did have a small support squad, there were days that got incredibly dark and lonely where I would have benefited from the emotional support of my peers (who were also going through it). I think the worst part was my friends “reminding” me how lucky I am that I don’t have to take the exam until February. No hard feelings – they had no idea.

With that, I did start letting a few of my peers in on my plan a week or so before the exam kicked off. I will say, it was nice having a couple people to outline essays with on the weekends, especially since I was already feeling pretty confident by that point. So, imposter syndrome wasn’t much of an issue as it might have been had I started group-study earlier. 

Again, your mileage may vary. 

My Schedule 

Setting a schedule and sticking to it was probably the most important aspect of my study plan. I knew I was at a disadvantage since I didn’t have the majority of my work-week to study. I knew that most of my peers were studying for roughly 8-10 hours every day. I believe that’s the schedule Barbri recommends (with a few breaks built-in throughout). So, I had to reconfigure my Barbri schedule to work for me. You’ll likely need to do the same – no big deal. Here’s what I did: 

[Reminder: What worked for me may not quite work for you. Adjust accordingly]

First, I actually started my studying a week late (so I disadvantaged myself even more…). I had family in town for graduation and projects to close-out at work, so I missed the first week of Barbri. Looking back on it, I would have skipped that first week anyway. The first Barbri week is just incredibly lengthy lecture videos that serve as intros to each of the subjects you’re already going to cover in-depth. Then there’s a few lectures on how the exam works. Save yourself the time – you can find all of that information online or in your prep materials. The course doesn’t start to get substantive until week 2. 

From then on, my schedule was the following (explanation after): 

June: Monday-Friday

7am: wake-up, read critical pass flash-cards (30 minutes), start work

12-1pm: lunch + select one of the following: Barbri MBE practice set, lecture video, critical pass

5-6pm: hard stop on work, walk the dog / quick work-out / dinner 

7pm-11pm: Barbri scheduled activities for the day (as many as I could complete in 4 hours) 

Saturday-Sunday

7am-8am: wake-up, take the dog to the park and read critical pass flash-cards

8am-11pm: catch up on Barbri schedule from the past week

July: Monday-Friday

7am: wake-up, 20 Adaptibar questions, start work

12-1pm: lunch + Adaptibar practice set, or 1 set of flash-cards (rules), or 1 practice essay

5pm-6pm: hard stop on work, walk the dog while listening to Bar Exam Toolbox Podcast, dinner

7pm-11pm: practice essays, Adaptibar sets / lecture videos, memorize flash-cards 

7am-8am: wake-up, take the dog to the park and memorize rules flash-cards

8am-11pm: flash-cards, practice essays, Adaptibar lectures and practice sets

Week Before the Bar Exam [same schedule, no changes] 

Weekend Before the Bar Exam: Same schedule – practice essays + learn how the PT works (I know – stay with me) 

Day Before the Bar Exam : took the day off from work, kicked husband and dog out of town,  went hiking, made two days worth of pb&j sandwiches (I recommend really easy / plain / solid foods that aren’t going to disrupt your system), read over my rules flash-cards and did 10 Adaptibar questions before bed. 

Day(s) of Exam: Warm up with 10 Adaptibar Q’s; eat pb&j sandwiches, watch an Adaptibar lecture before bed. 

Note: I did not take any of the breaks that Barbri built into the schedule (such as for 4th of July). YMMV. 

A Few Notes About My Schedule 

You’ll notice from my schedule that (1) it is particularly rigorous and (2) I only built in 4 hours of study time per day during the week. Looking back, though I had a lot of anxiety over not studying as long as my peers during the week, I found that 4 hours was plenty, especially since I was studying roughly 16 hours/day on the weekends (and I didn’t take any days off). In fact, I may have actually overstudied for the exam as I was trying to compensate for lost time. 

With that, I still had days where I didn’t study the full four hours because I was too burnt out from the workday. I had days where I woke up later or went to bed earlier than planned. I had days where it felt like I had forgotten everything or I was missing every single MBE question. All of that is completely okay. I remind you that this exam is not worth your health or sanity. Barbri’s schedule is also quite intense exactly for this reason (i.e. my guess is that they build in some extra padding knowing that we’ll have “off” days). 

All of this is to say, don’t beat yourself up if you need to take a few rest days or if you fall off your schedule. Don’t go back, just keep pushing forward.

You’ll notice that I also quit Barbri entirely in July. I completed about 50% of the Barbri schedule. Looking back, I would have completed even less of it. I actually found Barbri to be a mostly unhelpful time-sink. (More about this in the study aid section). By July, I was ready to just start memorizing rule statements and drilling MBE questions. So, I switched entirely to Adaptibar, BarEssays.com / Barbri Essays, Bar Exam Toolbox Podcast, Smart Bar Prep (flashcards), and the flashcards I had made for myself. 

Lastly, you’ll notice that I didn’t practice a single PT until the weekend before the exam. That might sound absurd, but practically, the PT is worth a lot less points than the essays and MBEs, and it’s honestly the easiest portion of the exam to learn. In my opinion, you can study the entire breadth of the PT (and learn all of the tricks) in a weekend. 

I did have to cut several things out of my schedule in order to make this work. For example, I blocked my work calendar so that I wasn’t attending unnecessary meetings (so I could get more work done during the day). I limited my social interactions. I stayed up on my field but pretty much stopped all the reading I used to do for fun. I had to get comfortable with telling people no. And I wasn’t emotionally available for anyone, including family. You’ll likely have to make some sacrifices as well. It sucks but it’s only two months. And the people that love you will understand.

Optimization 

The most valuable piece of advice I received regarding my bar prep was that I needed to optimize. There’s an important difference between studying for the bar and optimizing for the bar. In other words, work smarter not harder. In California, there are 16 topics you have to learn. Of those 16 topics, estimate about 100 rules per topic, so ~1600+ rules to memorize. That’s simply not going to happen, especially when you’re not in a position to study full time. 

I didn’t figure out that I needed to optimize until July. I spent all of June trying to cram and memorize all the materials that Barbri sent me. Every time I picked up that massive outline book, I would become immediately overwhelmed. By July, when I realized that I hadn’t actually memorized anything yet (and I was quite behind on my Barbri schedule), I threw out the Barbri schedule and focused entirely on memorizing only the highly tested rules for the essays (See Smart Bar Prep). This greatly narrowed the scope of rules I actually needed to memorize. If I had to do it all over again, I would have started the optimization process in June. 

With that, I cut many corners. For starters, I chose a throwaway subject (i.e. a subject I just wasn’t going to learn). That was California Civ Pro. Most of the Federal Civ Pro rules are similar to the Cal Civ Pro highly tested rules (not to mention, Cal Civ Pro doesn’t seem to be a popular essay topic). That’s where the California Bar Exam 2021 Rules Book comes in handy – I memorized only the few Cal Civ Pro rules that were in that book (mostly venue and service of process). I skipped the Barbri lectures entirely for this topic. I did the same for Business Organizations, Wills & Trusts, and California Community Property. 

I also completely stopped reading the Barbri outlines. The Barbri outlines cover every single possible rule that could appear on the bar exam (it’s way too much – and most of the rules are obscure and unlikely to show up on the exam). Again, I switched to memorizing the rule statements in the California Bar Exam 2021 Rules Book (which uses the most heavily tested rule statements). I decided that I would only memorize rule statements for the essay portion. MBE would be covered by repetitive practice with Adaptibar (more on that below). 

I also relied on the predictions from the Cal Bar Bible for the essays (more on this below). This might seem like a risky strategy, but life requires strategic bets. This year, Cal Bar Bible was 4 for 5 on their predictions for the essay topics. As a result, I was super prepared for 4 of the 5 essays (and I just BS’d my way through the 5th). I would do the same thing again – especially since Cal Bar Bible has had a pretty good streak over the past few years. If anything, you should know 5 of the essay topics absolutely cold and the rest you should know enough to fake it until you make it. (For example, memorize the Cal Community Property intro paragraph and you’re 60% of the way there for that essay). 

Ditching Barbri in July was also the smartest thing I did for my bar prep. I knew that my MBE accuracy was pretty solid (according to Adaptibar) so I focused primarily on drilling essays and memorizing that narrow scope of rule statements for July. I mostly rotated between my California Bar Exam Rules 2021 flashcards, Smart Bar Prep flashcards, Baressays.com, and Adaptibar. 

I also listened to myself – which might seem obvious. I knew from law school that outlines wouldn’t work for me. That didn’t change for the bar. So, I used outline substitutes (such as flashcards, podcasts, and lecture videos). I saw others on Twitter writing out the rules on whiteboards and in notebooks. I tried that and it didn’t work for me. But, rewriting all of the rules from the California Bar Exam Rules 2021 book into flashcards did work for me. I saw some folks would record themselves reading their rule statements. That didn’t work for me, but listening to others read rules on podcasts (like the Bar Exam Toolkit Podcast ) did work for me. I’ve always been good at retaining information from listening to lectures, so lecture-based resources were the best for me. 

The most important part of optimization is accepting that you’re not going to be able to learn everything. So, take some bets, cut some corners, learn the most important and most frequently tested rules cold, and you should be okay. Let the massive Barbri manuals go.

Lastly, I found it helpful to try to understand the policy behind each of the rules I was memorizing. Understanding why these rules exist might help you retain the information beyond just rote memorization.

You can find my frequently tested topics map here . 

Study Aids / Supplements

If you’re reading this before you’ve created your own study schedule and supplement plan, then my only reminder is again, your mileage may vary. If you’ve already chosen your supplements and formed your plan, STICK WITH IT. Don’t switch it up just because I went about studying differently. Your plan will likely continue working for you. 

With that, let’s talk about study supplements. 

When I was studying Computer Science in undergrad, I distinctly remember my operating systems class (now that was the hardest exam I’ve ever taken in my life). In operating systems, there’s an important premise, called the context switching theory , that suggests that there’s always a cost to “switching.” The example given was shopping lines at Costco. A shopper could keep switching to the shortest lines to attempt to speed up their check-out time. However, a shopper that keeps their place in line might actually get served quicker than the switcher. This theory is used for optimizing OS algorithms. But you can also apply the theory to optimizing your studies, especially when it comes to choosing supplements [ See also ]. 

In other words, there are thousands of supplements out there to choose from. Your peers are naturally going to choose different ones. Most supplements do and say the same things. Pick the ones that work for you and stick with them. Resist FOMO. Switching to a brand new supplement midway through your studies may cost you more productivity in the long run. 

The following is a list of supplements I used throughout bar prep and my thoughts regarding each. [Note: it genuinely bothers me how expensive bar prep resources are, so I try to highlight the cheaper / most cost-effective resources here]. 

Cal Bar Bible (FREE): This is just a site dedicated to predicting the California Bar Exam essay topics. I did say you needed a little bit of luck! They’ve had a pretty good streak the past few years and for July 2021, they guessed 4 out of 5 essay topics correctly (the wild card being correct). 

  • How I Used Cal Bar Bible: I put a lot of stock into the predicted topics and studied those more heavily than the others. 
  • What I Would Do Differently: Nothing – 4 out of 5 is pretty good and as I’ve been saying throughout this guide, you have to take strategic bets.
  • Most Useful Resources: I only used their predictions. 

Baressays.com (Might be offered by your law school): [Note: this resource was offered to us by SCU Law but it’s also cheap if you need to order it yourself]. Baressays.com is a database collection of bar essays since the 1990’s (?). You can do practice essays and read sample answers ranging in scores from 40’s-65’s. 

  • How I Used Baressays.com: I drilled essays (outlining mostly) starting in July. I also  read through the sample answers to feel better about my progress (lol – seriously look at answers that got 50-65…). I would also jump on Zoom with a few friends and outline answers together. I tried to do an essay per day starting in July (and 6 or so over the weekends). 
  • What I Would Do Differently: Nothing – I drilled Barbri essays in June and Baressays.com in July when I was looking for something different. That worked for me. 
  • Most Useful Resources: The database of essays and answers is extensive and fantastic. 

Barbri ($$$$): I really wish I could get away with not recommending Barbri. Barbri is absurdly expensive, unnecessarily time-consuming, and ridiculously daunting. The only reason I still recommend Barbri is for the state specific resources (because I’m not really sure where else you can get those outside of the commercial bar prep companies). 

  • How I used Barbri: As I discussed in the schedule section, I only completed about 50% of the Barbri recommended schedule (and I did not complete the first week of lectures). I watched all of the lecture videos (on 2x speed), and completed most of the MBE practice sets. I actually ended up skipping most of the essay practice during the month of June and then drilled them back-to-back in July. I also spent a bit of time (unsuccessfully) trying to cram those phone-book sized outlines they sent us. I had only 2 of my essays graded.
  • What I Would Do Differently: I realized in July that Barbri is built to over-prepare but it is the absolute antithesis of optimization (see section above). Barbri attempts to teach you everything that could possibly be on the bar exam (regardless of whether those topics were even tested within the last decade or so). That’s why the lecture videos are 4-5+ hours and the outlines are mini-casebooks in themselves. Additionally, Barbri writes their own MBE questions and purposefully makes them twice as hard as the actual bar exam MBEs. Knowing what I know now, I probably would have listened to only the California topics and I definitely would not have wasted my weekends reading the massive outlines. 
  • Most Useful Resources: I found that the most useful Barbri resources were the MBE questions (because it makes the actual exam questions seem a lot easier), the mini-outlines for all of the bar exam topics + the California specific materials (these are the 1-10 page outlines they give you before you listen to each video), and the practice essays + model answers (including the PT practice exams).  Everything else, in my honest opinion, was overkill and it did more to psyche me out than actually help me prepare.

Adaptibar ($ varies): I LOVE Adaptibar. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that Adaptibar is a must-have (yet reasonably priced) bar study resource. Adaptibar is the only bar supplement that uses real, licensed, MBE questions. It has a bank of over 2k questions and the app uses machine learning to drill your weakest points. Not only that but it also times you per question so that you can get used to answering Q’s within a comfortable target window (usually 45 secs-1 min).  Additionally, the Adaptibar lecture videos are short, easy, and targeted. The lecturer is phenomenal (S/O to Jonathan Grossman – I still mutter “shut up and pick it” to this day). Grossman actually teaches you how to game the MBE and focuses mostly on the highly tested topics. I especially loved the mobile app. 

  • How I Used Adaptibar: I used Adaptibar steadily in June but then entirely switched off of Barbri to Adaptibar in July. My goal was to complete all 2000 questions in the question bank. I believe Adaptibar recommends completing 1300 questions at 70% accuracy. I hit 70% accuracy with 1500 questions completed. In July, I used Adaptibar daily (with a goal of completing ~50 questions per day). I also listened to every lecture video (multiple times – they’re great for repetition), and I took all of the practice MBE exams. 
  • What I Would Do Differently: Ditch Barbri earlier and prioritize Adaptibar in June. 
  • Most Useful: all of it, especially the lecture videos (which you can order a la carte to keep costs down). 

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Critical Pass ($$): Critical Pass is an excellent resource if you’re like me and prefer flash-cards over outlines. Critical Pass focuses on the highly tested MBE topics and rule statements. I especially appreciate the reasonable cost. 

  • How I Used Critical Pass: I picked a topic to focus on per week and would try to flip through that topic set first thing in the morning and right before bed. I loved picking a set to read through while I was at the park. I never attempted to memorize the decks, but treated them like I would my law school outlines. Repetition was key here. I stopped using Critical Pass in July once I was comfortable with all of the topics. 
  • What I Would Do Differently: I would have replaced the Barbri outlines entirely with Critical Pass. It would have been a better use of my time to read through Critical Pass sets instead of trying to cram the massive Barbri outlines every weekend in June. [Note: Critical Pass does not include the California topics, but you can write them in if you want]
  • Most Useful: All of it. 

bar exam essay prep

Smart Bar Prep ($ varies): I discovered Smart Bar Prep when I was looking for ways to optimize my studying. This is when I realized that there is only a finite amount of questions that can be tested per topic on the exam, so it doesn’t make sense to try to learn absolutely everything. Smart Bar Prep has a frequently tested topics / rules document that I found particularly useful. Smart Bar Prep also has a flashcard database for all topics (including California). 

  • How I Used Smart Bar Prep: I used the frequently tested rules guide to re-configure my entire study plan for July, focusing on memorizing only the frequently tested rules. I used the flashcard database every single day in July (see schedule). Like Adaptibar, Smart Bar Prep adapts so that it repeatedly drills your weakest subjects / rules. 
  • What I Would Do Differently: Use Smart Bar Prep resources earlier in June. 
  • Most Useful Resources: Smart Bar Prep has a lot of different resources. I only used the frequently tested topics guide and the flashcard database. 

California Bar Exam Rules 2021 ($): The author of this book is the absolute GOAT. This $17 book was a literal god-send when I discovered it in July. I’m mad that I didn’t discover this book earlier in law school. This tiny, $17 book contains short and easy rule statements for every frequently tested essay topic on the California bar exam. I highly recommend this one.

  • How I Used California Bar Exam Rules 2021: This became a bar study staple for me in July. I turned every single rule statement into a handwritten flashcard (that was great for memorization). These would then become the flashcards I would attempt to actually memorize for the essays. This is the only word for word memorization I did. The rule statements are short and easy to digest. 
  • What I Would Do Differently: Start using this resource in June instead of July. 
  • Most Useful: all of it. 

Bar Exam Toolbox Podcast (Free): I absolutely adore the women who created this amazing (AND FREE!!!) bar study resource. The podcast is just episodes of the hosts reading rule statements and running through practice hypos. Short, sweet, portable, and great for repetition. You can find all of the episodes here or on Spotify. HUGE thank you to folks like this. 

  • How I Used the Podcast: I would listen to random episodes when I was walking the dog, in the shower, in the car, while I was cooking, before bed, etc. 
  • What I Would Do Differently: nothing – I started this podcast mid-June. 
  • Most Useful: I really enjoyed the “listen and learn” series but there are other series dedicated to exam strategies, law school, and career advice that you might find useful.

Bar MD (FREE): This is another excellent free resource. I used Bar MD entirely for the PT (I did not use Barbri’s PT lectures). Bar MD succinctly explains (and walks through) how to approach the PT (offline and virtually). 

  • How I Used Bar MD: I watched all of the Bar MD lecture videos for the PT the weekend before the bar exam. I followed along with the practice PT’s and explanations. I then read through all of the Barbri PT templates the night before the exam. The templates are less important than the actual strategy (which Bar MD covers at length). 
  • What I Would Do Differently: Nothing – studying the PT the weekend before the exam seemed risky but it was the exact amount of time I needed to feel prepared.
  • Most Useful: Bar MD has other excellent resources for other topics, but I only used the PT lecture videos.  

Productivity Apps

I used two productivity apps while I was studying: 

  • Forest : Every hour of productivity allows you to plant a virtual tree in your virtual forest. The app blocks out all of your notifications (for however long you choose to set your study window) and penalizes you for leaving the app (except for the apps on your allow list) by not allowing you to complete your tree. I was so proud of my cacti-filled deserts… 
  • Workmode: This a chrome extension that lets you block websites as long as the extension is toggled on. I would block social media and certain blog sites that would serve as major distractions.  

Bonus, my bar exam study playlist that consists of super repetitive instrumentals. 

Staying Sane

Lastly, you’ll want to have a few non-bar related activities for your own sanity. Here were some of mine: 

  • Working out: I used to do boxing / kickboxing and running before law school. I tried to keep this up, if anything for 30 minutes, during bar prep. This worked for June but I was too anxious by July to do anything but study. In July, I relied heavily on walking my dog to get me out of the house (and even then I was listening to bar prep podcasts on my walks). I recommend trying to do something active everyday (even if only for 10 minutes!). I even bought a standing desk which would allow me to stand / pace while listening to lectures. 
  • Mindless Cartoons: Between balancing my job and trying to cram useless rules into my head all hours of the day, I needed to unwind with something absolutely mindless. So, for two months I binged nothing but Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, Rick and Morty, China IL, South Park, and Mr. Pickles, all before bed. 
  • Leaning on my Support Squad: Lastly, I think I ranted at my advisor every single day about the bar. I didn’t even need a response, I just needed to be miserable for 15 minutes every day. Still, my advisor always responded with a one liner reminding me that I could do it and that the bar exam is indeed not impossible. And that’s exactly what I needed to hear every single time. Find the people that will do the same for you. 

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Hopefully this guide was somewhat useful. Best of luck with your studies. Remember, the bar exam isn’t actually all that bad and it’s only two months. Work smarter, not harder, optimize for success, and you’ll be fine. Worst case scenario, you take it again (no big deal). 

You got this! 

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22 thoughts on “ my ultimate bar-prep guide: how i passed the ca bar exam while working full-time ”.

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Hi Jess, thanks so much for this robust guide! Question: are the rule statements in the book California Bar Exam Rules 2021 duplicative of the rule statements in SmartBarPrep? I am looking for a rule statement resource but can’t figure out if these two cover different material or are the if they overlap each other. Why did you use both? Thanks!

Hey! The California Bar Exam rule book covers all of the rules you need for all of the essay topics. I memorized every rule in that book for the essays.

Smart Bar prep has a nice extensive rules flashcard set up that I liked to use when I wanted something different to study (good for MBE too). I didn’t really focus on memorizing those. I really liked that the flashcards drilled your weakest topics.

If you had to only pick one, I’d pick the Cal book. The Smart Bar Prep is just an extra study tool but they both cover the same material (just presented differently — which I liked).

Hi Jess ! I’m preparing for the CA Baby Bar on the 28th of this month and I googled “ca bar exam pass tips” and your blog came up. I’m SO GLAD IT DID ! I’ve been using adaptibar and bar essays. I was also considering doing the barbri prep but based on what you said, I’ll skip it. Thank you so much for you advice and congratulations on passing the bar !

Wow. This has to be some of the worst advice i’ve seen. Lets recap a few of my favorite takeaways: 1)you want some sort of praise for deciding to take the bar exam late (terrible idea) 2) you want some sort of praise for working while studying for the exam (even more terrible of an idea); 3) You go to great lengths to highlight how your financial privilege was key to your success (this is a little odd but glad you could afford all the programs and books); 4) You advocate for not studying the performance test until the week before; 5) You posted your Adaptibar scores as some sort of flex. Thanks for the cringe content but leave the bar exam tips to the professionals.

Hey! Thank you so much for taking the time to read the post. I’m sorry my advice did not resonate with you. It’s honestly not for everyone. I definitely don’t need any praise — passing the exam was enough for me.

Re: financial privilege: you’re correct. I’m incredibly privileged to be able to afford the many supplements that I used to pass the exam. This is why, however, I chose to highlight resources that are cheaper than the overtly expensive ones like Barbri. I hate that aspect of the bar and I even wrote about that in depth here: https://ctrlaltdissent.com/2021/11/14/i-passed-the-california-bar-exam-abolish-it/

It looks like this post didn’t work for you, and that’s completely okay. Best of luck with your future endeavors!

Wow, so first off I’d like to say thank you so much for your article. This is my 4th time taking the CA bar exam during Covid— graduated may 20 with a covid semester. Your breakdown of how you studied is super helpful, especially for repeaters. Yeah, some students have to work and can’t afford bar prep and all that so some people have to really learn a different way. I know several people who studied this way (with some variation) achieving successful results . I appreciate you writing how each mode (ex critical pass) worked for you and how you would do XYZ different. This is how I’ve been studying- ditching Themis and focusing on AdaptiBar and just zoning in more directly towards studying and have found this approach to be so far rewarding and am going to incorporate what you said in your article. Thank you again so much!

Awesome! Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. Best of luck with the exam this time around and please LMK if there’s anything else I can do to help!

Hey! Your blog is helping me get through bar prep. I’m a second timer. This time I’m working full time so I’ve started the memorization process this month instead of June. But other than that; I’m basically doing what you did in terms of the hours put in. Can’t afford adaptibar unfortunately. But I have gone on Reddit (ugh) and everyone has basically called me a shit head for looking into the calbar predictions although I think it’s a calculated risk and I do plan on having a general knowledge of everything. Two years later: do you still feel the same about calbar predictions and their accuracy? Or do you think I should chuck it? Thanks!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I appreciate your post, I really do. I needed to read someone who actually works full time could pass the exam, what I see in social media are only children that study 8 hours a day, everyday. That’s not an option for some of us.

I’ll be taking the exam next July, so I have time, but definitely your advices are appreciated.

Thank you again,

Hey Cristain, i would be taking the GA Bar exam next July as well and wanted to know if it was CA or a different state bar exam you would be taking ?

Highly motivational for me. Thanks a ton Jess for writing in detail. I am working full time and managing family, it is tough but not impossible I believe. This is my first day to plan and start up again to prepare for CA bar, entered close-by Library, opened the Laptop and search “how to prepare CA bar exam” & saw your blog, fantastic. Thanks again.

Wonderful guide. Amazed you were able to be so efficient with your schedule and pass the bar while working full time. However, I didn’t see any time allocated for those Costco trips!

I took the bar 3x, and I completely agree with your guidance. By the third try, I studied far less, but my sole focus was half a day of practice essays, half a day of practice mbes. I stopped watching lectures or doing any readings. Best decision ever.

I’m glad you found baressays.com and adaptibar to be useful. It sounds like, just like me, you learn the best by doing, so those two study tools were highly effective. Not only that, but they’re a small fraction of the price of the traditional bar prep tools.

Thanks for writing this all out. I can tell you’re someone who likes to give back by sharing your knowledge. I admire that a lot.

I love your post, as it gives insight how you did what you needed to do to pass. Congratulations. However, I caution everyone from using the rule book you used as it is filled with errors on the substantive law and may cause folks to get their MBE questions wrong if they rely on it too much. It is however a great list and f commonly used rules. But they beed ti be crossed checked with other sources. On Fundamental level I wouldn’t give that author a dime as he Edmond pled guilty to federal fraud crimes against the US Navy. He is currently awaiting sentencing. He will never become an attorney. Please use caution. Other list of riles can be obtained from blacks law dictionary or any study source which will likely be more accurate. Your article is fantastic and I am so happy for you passing the bar while working full-time!

Wow, I am taking the bar in July and knee deep in Barbri overload. I am so glad I stumbled on this and it reinforced my feeling that Barbri and adaptibar alone isn’t going to get me there. I have been searching for easy rule statements and outlines and I bought the book and smart bar prep and I feel a bit better about everything now- TY!

This entire post was so helpful, Jess! Thank you so much for taking the time to write it! I am currently preparing for the Cal Bar and have incorporated some of your insights in my study routine. With that being said, I was wondering, did you write out complete essays or primarily focus on outlining? If you primarily outlined, did you switch to writing complete essays towards the last week of bar prep? I keep hearing different approaches to studying for essays and would love to hear your input!

Hey Jess, Congratulations on Passing the CA Bar Exam! I know how hard you worked, Well done. Thank you so much for this blog post. It has really motivated me and given me the courage and zeal to take the bar exams one last time. It helped me approach taking the bar exam differently this time around, considering this would be my fourth time taking the GA Bar exam. I was looking for other ways to help me prepare because i was so tired of writing the same exam every year. It can be extremely frustrating but i refuse to give up and i want to write the GA Bar Exams one last time. I plan on taking the GA Bar exam in July Next year, hopefully i would be fully prepared. Is it possible to get some of the materials/personal outlines (apart from the critical pass) you used and prepared mostly for the MBE questions since the essay would be different because of the different rules In CA and GA. I also wanted to know if you knew anyone who took the GA Bar Exams that i could contact and get some of their essay materials they used to pass (apart from the ones mentioned above). Thanks in advance and i wish you all the best.

A bit late, but thanks for your blog. I found your suggestions helpful for an attorney with an existing (and busy) solo practice.

Thank you for your blog post. I graduated law school in 2018, took the bar 3 times, didn’t pass, and I’m attempting to take it again this February. Your tips are very helpful (coming from someone who’s gone through studying a few times). This time I’m fortunate to be able to afford a tutor, while I work part time until the test in Feb. I personally never felt like the commercial bar courses were helpful, besides the structured schedule, they weren’t tailored to my style of studying. Hope you’re doing great!

Great post – thank you. It looks like CA bar bible is charging $25 in order to see essay topic predictions for the Feb 2023 exam. You noted the predictions were free when you were preparing. Am I missing something, or did they simply change their model and are now charging for the predictions?

This blog is super helpful. Are you still working at Google? Did you apply for a JD position? What role do you work in right now? Looking forward to hear.

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Looking to get a head start on bar prep?  Learn all about the bar exam and how to study in our FREE Bar Exam Primer Course !

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California Bar Exam Essay Guide

In this guide, we show you how to conquer the essay portion of the California Bar Exam.

We start by giving you a general overview of what is tested on the California Bar Exam, some California Bar Exam essay tips, and a frequency chart so you can see when particular subjects were tested.

Then, we dive into each of the 14 subjects that are fair game on the California Bar Exam and give you tips and tricks for each one.

Lastly, we give you the option to download a PDF of this guide if you would like to view all of the chapters at the same time or to save to consult later.

Send Me a PDF of the Guide:

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California Bar Exam Essay Guide Chapters

  • Introduction to the Guide
  • Chapter 1: What is Tested on California Bar Exam Essays : Here, we give you a brief overview of how the essay portion of the California Bar Exam is structured, what is tested on California Bar Exam essays, and when California distinctions are tested.
  • Chapter 2: California Bar Exam Essay Tips : We reveal important essay tips to make sure you are writing essay answers that get the most points.
  • Chapter 3: California Bar Exam Essay Frequency Chart : We show you exactly when each California Bar Exam subject has been tested so you can get a visual idea of the highly tested areas of law, plus the less tested areas of law.
  • Chapter 4: Agency and Partnership
  • Chapter 5: Civil Procedure
  • Chapter 6: Community Property
  • Chapter 7: Constitutional Law
  • Chapter 8: Contracts
  • Chapter 9: Corporations
  • Chapter 10: Criminal Law
  • Chapter 11: Evidence
  • Chapter 12: Professional Responsibility
  • Chapter 13: Real Property
  • Chapter 14: Remedies
  • Chapter 15: Torts
  • Chapter 16: Trusts
  • Chapter 17: Wills
  • Chapter 18: Download PDF : We provide you with the option to download this guide in PDF form if you would like to view all of the chapters at the same time or to save to consult later.

The Goal of Our California Bar Exam Essay Guide

Students are often unsure how to approach the essay portion of the California Bar Exam. As a result, many students study ineffectively or inefficiently. The goal of our California Bar Exam Essay Guide is to help you find an effective and efficient approach to the California Bar Exam right from the beginning. This guide will help you feel confident on test day so you can conquer the essay portion of the California Bar Exam!

If you have any questions, we are happy to answer them. You can  contact us here  at your convenience. We love to hear from our readers!

Additional California Bar Exam Resources

Below are some additional California Bar Exam resources that we recommend: Please check out all our  California Bar Exam services here !

  • California Bar Exam On Demand Course : Our On Demand California Bar Exam Course is tailored to work with your schedule so you can walk into the bar exam with confidence. It includes tailored outlines, access to prerecorded lectures that you can start and stop at your convenience, self-administered quizzes, 10 essays graded by a personal attorney essay grader, and released multiple-choice and essay questions. We give you everything you need to pass the California Bar Exam, on your time! Check out a preview of our course here.
  • California Bar Exam private tutoring : We tutor for all aspects of the California Bar Exam! You get an outline relevant to the topic you are discussing with your purchase!
  • MBE services : we have a variety of MBE services to help you pass the multiple-choice portion of the California Bar Exam.
  • Essay feedback : we offer one-time or weekly essay feedback for the California Bar Exam.
  • California Bar Exam One-Sheets : We summarize the highly tested topics on the California Bar Exam in one sheet, front and back, for each subject! Check out a sample here .

Go to the next topic, Chapter 1: What is Tested on California Bar Exam Essays .

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Bar Exam Study Guide: Covers Essay Rules & MBE (NCBE Multistate Bar Examination): Crash Course & Test Prep to Pass the Exam—Contains Hundreds of Practice Questions (Unabridged‪)‬

Publisher description.

If you want to pass the Bar exam but don’t have a lot of time to study, pay attention! You are no doubt a busy student with a lot of things going on! It can be challenging to find the time to study in preparation for the Bar exam. However, the truth is that the MBE test is a challenging test. It is normal to have some anxiety about taking this test. Thorough preparation cannot be overlooked. That is why the author Harper Samuels developed the Bar Exam Essay Rules & MBE Study Guide! It contains hundreds of practice questions and reviews all essential concepts found on the exam from all categories of the exam. You can listen to wherever life takes you! Its sections include: Understanding the California Bar Exam The Structure of the Bar Exam The Importance of Essay Writing Legal Writing and IRAC Method Spotting Issues Business Associations Civil Procedure Community Property Constitutional Law Contracts Criminal Law Evidence Professional Responsibility Real Property Remedies Torts Trusts Wills and Succession Mastering the Application of Law to Facts Drafting Persuasive Argument Avoiding Common Mistakes Practice Essays and Performance Tests Understanding the MBE Exam Federal Rules of Evidence If you listen to our study guide and take time to really understand the concepts, we are confident you will pass the test and be on your way to a rewarding career! So go ahead and click "Buy Now" today!

IMAGES

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  2. Four Tips on How To Write A Great Bar Exam Essay

    2. Utilize strong and precise rule statements. Memorizing the law is critical to writing a good bar exam essay. You need to be able to call up the proper rule and then replicate it on the page when required. Try to keep your rule statement precisely tailored to the issue without going off on unnecessary tangents.

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    Before beginning this portion of the test, you should have a plan on how you will manage your time, such as: First 10 minutes: Read the essay prompt. Maybe read it multiple times. Don't rush this part; your ability to recall this information will be essential to answering the question.

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    Like fact patterns, there are corresponding issue patterns. 1) Don't write like a lawyer. Write like a bar taker. Prior law experience or creative writing will detract from answering the way graders want you to. Practicing attorneys tend to not do as well on bar essays because this is a SEPARATE skill from real practice.

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    "Smart Bar Prep is a great way for you to easily identify the subject areas and rules where you should focus the majority of your time and attention." ... Every topic tested on those California Bar Exam essays is compiled here! The 80/20 Rule in Action. We are a firm believer in the 80/20 Rule developed by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto ...

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    Learn more and apply now at JD Advising Employment. Special Offer: Get a Free Hour of Tutoring! Enroll in any On Demand, Premium, or Repeat Taker course by April 10th and receive a complimentary one-hour tutoring session to jumpstart your bar exam prep. Add any course + 1-hour of tutoring to your cart and apply CourseCombo at checkout for your ...

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    Many state bar associations post former bar exam essay questions and sample answers on their websites. These model answers are useful for studying for the bar and final exams. Access. Search online for state bar exam questions and answers, or use the list provided at the bottom of this page. Access is free.

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    The essays and MPTs cause stress and anxiety for many students. And, you are about to be glad that you stumbled upon this website, because Vinco has proven essay and MPT strategies to help you improve your essay scores and pass the bar exam. Practice makes passing, and you can get started today working with a bar exam essay tutor!

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    Smart Bar Prep Helps You Prioritize. Smart Bar Prep analyzes past essays to determine which rules are tested with the greatest frequency. Its comprehensive "Essay Prep Outline" contains detailed rule statements which are assigned "Frequency Ratings" and "Priority Ratings.". The Frequency Rating lets you know how many times the rule ...

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    However, as most states adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), these prep programs adjusted their materials to suit a larger audience. They still offer customized outlines and lectures for Virginia, but much of their general essay-writing advice is not well-tailored for Virginia essays and is more accurate for students taking the Multi-State Essay ...

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    Essay Test Prep Materials. CA Bar Exam Questions and Selected Answers by Subject (Please bear in mind that these are not model answers, but actual answers to past exams that may include some errors. Available to UC Law SF students only) Essay Exam Writing for the California Bar Exam by Mary Basick; Tina Schindler.

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    Only 31.4% of California bar exam takers passed in February 2019, the second lowest pass rate in 35 years. On average, 2 out of every 10 exam takers from the top law schools in the country fail the California bar exam. In California, essays account for 39% of the overall grade compared to 35% for the MBE and 26% for the Performance Exam.

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    Bar exam prep can be expensive, so to start you off on the right foot, we'll explore some free bar exam sample questions and answers, with a special emphasis on multiple-choice questions: 1. Torts Law: Understanding Liability and Damages. Question: Tom, in a moment of inattention, collides with Jerry's car, inflicting $2000 worth of damage.

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    One of the keys to a successful bar exam essay is solid organization. For each fact pattern in an MEE, you essentially have 30 minutes to read the pattern, read the questions, and write a clear and cogent answer to each question. A typical MEE fact pattern has three or four questions, and each answer is basically a mini-essay.

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  22. California Bar Exam Essay Guide

    Chapter 3: California Bar Exam Essay Frequency Chart: We show you exactly when each California Bar Exam subject has been tested so you can get a visual idea of the highly tested areas of law, plus the less tested areas of law. Chapter 4: Agency and Partnership. Chapter 5: Civil Procedure. Chapter 6: Community Property.

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    Answer according to California and ABA authorities. FEBRUARY 2024 ESSAY QUESTIONS 4 AND 5. California Bar Examination. Answer both questions; each question is designed to be answered in one (1) hour. Also included in this session is a Performance Test question, comprised of two separate booklets, which is designed to be answered in 90 minutes.

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    Download and listen to the audiobook version of Bar Exam Study Guide: Covers Essay Rules & MBE (NCBE Multistate Bar Examination): Crash Course & Test Prep to Pass the Exam—Contains Hundreds of Practice Questions (Unabridged) by Harper Samuels on Apple Books. If you want to pass the Bar exam but don't have a lot of time to study, pay atte