If you’re one of the many who received disappointing bar exam results last month and you plan to retake it in February, your bar prep is probably getting into full swing by now.  Or perhaps, like me, you graduated late in the year and will take the February exam for the first time.  Same thing – you’re probably delving deeper into bar prep by the day.  You may be thinking, “How can I possibly do all this studying through the holiday season??”  Or maybe you’re an optimist – I know I am.  But I’m also a realist and probably a lot of other -ists that aren’t important right now.   What I’m trying to say is, here’s some free advice on studying through the holidays from someone who’s been there, done that, and survived the February exam. Read More →

Book Review: Bar Exam Mind

Bar Exam Mind bookMatt Racine has published the second edition of his book, Bar Exam Mind, which covers some key aspects of studying for the bar exam that are often overlooked by students. Sure, we all know that reviewing lectures, writing essays, answering MBE’s, and memorizing is mandatory, but how much importance do we really place on our state of mind?

When I took the California bar exam, the day before I was scheduled to fly to Los Angeles, I came down with pink eye! Now, this is something I haven’t had since my children were in pre-school (and they are now in college) as it’s quite common among youngsters and it can be contagious. At the time I didn’t even realize what it was except that I woke up with a red eye that morning, grabbed some eye drops and figured it would go away. I got through the three days of the bar exam with my eye slowly getting a bit worse each day, but it didn’t hurt so I was able to manage. When I returned home I saw a doctor who prescribed antibiotics and it thankfully went away. After reading Bar Exam Mind I believe that stress may have caused my body to be more susceptible to infection. Read More →

flowers on deskLets face it, studying for the bar exam is incredibly monotonous and boring. You can’t be creative, there is no opportunity for self-expression, and there’s no need for research. Basically just the same mundane rules of law over and over again. So, how do you stay motivated and interested? Some will tell you that fear of failing is the motivating factor! Perhaps this works to some degree, but I found that to be the most productive and keep up the bar prep pace, I needed some inspiring techniques during this arduous process.

Here are the 6 best tips that helped me stay focused and productive. Read More →

Jumping Man By imagerymajestic

The application period for the February 2015 California Bar Exam begins October 1, 2014.  Be one of the first to apply and you’ll have a better chance at getting your desired test center location.  Just go to the State Bar website registration page and follow the instructions there.  Within a few days of October 1, they’ll also post the hotel accommodations for each location, as bar takers receive a special State Bar discount. Be sure to watch for this if you want to take advantage – the discounted rooms closest to the testing centers usually sell out fast!

Making your plans early and following through will be keys to your success on the bar exam…  and for life in general!  Whether you’re taking a bar review course, using alternative bar prep tools or a combination of both, be sure to include a subscription to in your study toolbox to accompany your other resources.  Act now and plan to pass the California Bar Exam!

Be sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter to get lots of helpful study tips for bar candidates.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic

online learning in parkFor some of us, getting a higher education through an online university may be the only way to achieve our goals. But can you really juggle work, family and learning all at the same time?

Beware that it won’t be easy, however, finally getting that JD or Masters that you always wanted can be extremely rewarding and best of all, very affordable. On the other hand, it could be a total waste of time and money if you realize half-way through that you are just not cut out for this and decide to quit. Read More →

Blacks Law Dictionary AppWhat’s one of the first books that law students are told to buy? If you guessed Black’s Law Dictionary, then you are correct! The editor of Black’s Law Dictionary, Bryan Garner, calls it “the most widely cited lawbook in the world” and for law students, it’s definitely one of the most important books in the world. Knowing that you are going to be using this book each year of school and knowing that this book is available as an app, why any law student would consider purchasing the paper version, I will never know.

Back in 1L when I was issued my first law school book list, I figured that a law dictionary would be essential. I admit that I first bought the paperback version, not having discovered all of the wonderful technology apps that existed for law students until 2L. Plus, in 2009 I was a fairly new iPhone user myself. But once I discovered that I could have all of the legal terms at the touch of my finger, including hyper-linked cross references and even audio pronunciations, I was sold. I delegated my paperback Black’s to the shelf and sprung for the $55 to buy Black’s Law Dictionary as my first legal app.

Since then, any new edition update has been free and with each new iPhone or iPad I acquired, my Black’s law dictionary was always available. And for those non-iPhone users, the app is also available for Windows and Android phones.

Check out the complete review of this app by the popular blogger, iPhone J.D. who similarly bought the paper book in 1990 while in law school but soon found that he hardly used it. He now uses the iPhone app a few times a month.

Black’s Law Dictionary may be one of the most expensive apps you will ever buy for your phone, but you sure will get your money’s worth during law school and beyond!

Hand writing on the Bar ExamWho remembers using a typewriter? Well, I do! When I was growing up, having a typewriter in your home to use for school was a big deal and I was one of the lucky kids who had one. In typing class I was usually the first student to finish my speed-writing assignment – the teacher made us jump up out of our seat when we were done with the paragraph. It was the only race that I ever won (not being the athletic type), and to this day I would much rather type than hand-write anything at all.

So, when one of my fellow law students told me she was handwriting her essays on the California First Year Law School Exam (“Baby Bar”), I was totally shocked and somewhat perplexed that she would even consider this.

Read More →

Katie blogSomething I would have never guessed going into law school was that my favorite “study buddy” would be my canine companion, Katie.  She recently departed this earth and I miss her dearly…but this isn’t about my loss. This is about something I realized toward the end of law school and definitely during my 4 long months of bar prep.  Something that deserves recognition.

I had human study buddies off and on, joined a few study groups throughout school which were helpful, but none were as supportive as my furry friend at home who was willing to hang out with me through hours of endless reading, writing, and reciting rules.  Sure, Katie couldn’t brief cases or argue legal issues with me.  But what she could do was keep me company, smile at me with those big brown eyes and appear interested in what I was learning no matter how long it took or what day it was.  I think if she could talk, she could have recited the Rule Against Perpetuities like a champ (although neither of us would be able to explain it or apply it to a fact pattern).

Studying for the bar exam is a lonely but necessary process.  My family and friends gave me the space I needed – and naturally I felt pretty isolated during those last few months.  They cheered me on for my hard work, but it seemed like no one “got it”.  Except for Katie.  She was there by my side through it all – not telling me that she was “..sure I would pass” or “Don’t worry – you can always retake it, no big deal..”  Nope – none of that from Katie.  Just her loyal company and silent encouragement, and that was all I needed.

Student biting pencil by imagerymajestic Bar Exam results for July 2014 bar takers will come out on Fri. Nov. 21, 2014 at 6:00 pm PST. It really is agony that bar takers have to wait so long to find out if they passed, so, the big question is: should you do any studying during that long waiting time just in case? The answer to this question will depend upon how confident you are that you did well. It really is so hard to know, especially when you consider that the pass rate for California bar takers is generally below 50%. How do you know if what you did was good enough?

15 Weeks to Review 15 Subjects

There are 15 subjects tested on the California bar exam: Civil Procedure, Community Property, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Corporations, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Partnerships, Professional Responsibility, Real Property, Remedies, Torts, Trusts, and Wills. (See our FAQ on how we categorize the bar tested subject of Business Associations.) With 15 weeks to go until results day, why not stay up to date on your rules of law? If you have any doubts at all on whether you passed, set up a 15 week plan right now so that you allocate one week to each subject. Your “studying” for each weekly subject can be as light as reviewing your outlines or as heavy as doing some practice MBE’s and writing a few essays. You are the best judge of what you think you need to do.

Results Day Will Be Here Before You Know It!

Then, when you do hit that button on your computer on results day to find out if you passed, if the news is not good, your preparation will have paid off knowing that you can do it the next time around. Or, if the news is good, then the extra review you did could never be a waste of time as you will be well prepared to enter into your field of law with “the law” fresh in your mind. Good luck on November 21st!

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/

Flashcards 2 by Stuart Miles-FreeDigitalPhotos.netIt seems inevitable that at some point during your law school studies you will need to prepare some flashcards, or perhaps I should say, it’s “foreseeable” – a favorite word among law students, second only to “reasonable.” So, let’s have a look at the best possible method to make your flashcard creation a success. Perhaps you just might recognize yourself in one of these types and be inspired to try out a new method that could give you that boost you’ve been looking for, taking the dreariness out of a mundane task that law students just can’t seem to avoid. Read More →