McGeorge Bar Prep

What You Need to Succeed on the CA Bar Exam

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Bar Prep Dos & Don’ts

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on May 17, 2016

You want to pass.  We want you to pass.  Here’s how to do it:

Do NOT underestimate the bar. 

You made it through a tough law school curriculum.   You have what it takes to pass the first time, and in fact you’ve probably passed every exam you’ve ever taken.  You’re tired and studying this much after all of that is exhausting. BUT: You’ve still got to push through and work as hard as you can – possibly harder than you’ve ever worked before – to pass the bar. Take preparing seriously from the beginning — which is NOW! — all the way through.  No lounging around with Netflix telling yourself that you’ll start really studying tomorrow…or you’ll really start studying again in six months.

DO adopt an “attack” attitude. 

Respect the exam, work hard, and take it seriously from the start, but do not psych yourself out into thinking that you might fail. No one ever feels fully ready, but if you prepare wisely, you WILL pass. Go in knowing that, and attack the exam with everything you’ve got. If you run into a tough question (essay, PT, or MBE) that you just don’t know – like everyone does – do your best and move on with the same “attack” attitude. One question won’t kill you, but giving up will.

DO take advantage of the support programs available. 

Take advantage of programs offered by the school, such as the free Extra Feedback Program. Follow this blog and/or like the “McGeorge Bar Prep” Facebook page for more info, advice, and support, and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or need a pep talk.

DO simulate practice exams & compare your work to the sample answers. 

That means timed, in a realistic environment, and no cheating!! And then when you’re done simulating those practice exams, simulate some more. This is the key to success, and it is the most common regret among those who fail the exam. As they studied, they either thought they didn’t really need to write that often, or they felt like they didn’t know the law well enough to start writing…but you will NEVER feel like you know the law well enough, so just do it. You can mess up; that’s why it’s called “practice.” Just issue-spotting is not enough. Plain and simple: You will not pass the bar if you do not fully, realistically simulate practice exams and compare your answers to the sample answers.

DO be real with yourself and do NOT set yourself up for failure. 

If you know deep down that you will pay attention better if you physically come to campus to attend the commercial bar review lectures or to study and write practice exams – and that’s most of us – then do it! Staying holed up in your bedroom only partially paying attention to online lectures will not work.

DO take care of yourself. 

Eat healthfully, exercise, and take some planned time off to relax (i.e., an afternoon here or there, not a trip to Hawaii). It’s true that the bar exam is a marathon, not a sprint. You’ve got to be mentally ready, but also emotionally and physically up to the challenge.

DO believe that if you can graduate from McGeorge, you can pass the bar!  Focus, work hard, and we’ll see you at the Swearing-In Ceremony!

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Summer 2016 Extra Feedback Program

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on May 12, 2016

It’s here!  Mark your calendars for the Summer 2016 Extra Feedback Program.  Any McGeorge graduate is welcome to submit answers to the designated practice exams for individualized feedback from experienced bar program graders.  Participation is FREE, and you probably are assigned to write most of these exams by your commercial course anyway, so you might as well get some extra feedback along the way!

2016 EFP Schedule

PDF version: 2016 EFP Schedule

Exam Questions:

People v. Duncan Question

Property Essay 

PR Essay

Contracts Essay

Please note that incorrect submissions or submissions received after the listed deadlines will not be graded.  Only graduates of McGeorge School of Law may participate, but they may be anywhere in the world and they do not have to be enrolled in any particular commercial course.

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Save the Dates: Upcoming McGeorge Bar Support Events

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on March 28, 2016

From the Office of Student Affairs:


Senior Day 2016

Tuesday, March 29, 4-6pm, Student Center

Complete the many tasks that need to be done prior to graduation. Free dinner! One & Done t-shirts! Drawing for cool prizes!


One & Done Panel: Recent Alums Candidly Discuss What It Takes to PASS the Bar Exam

Tuesday, April 5, 12-1pm OR 5-6pm, Classroom E

Come hear recent McGeorge alumni discuss the bar exam, what it takes to pass, and personal anecdotes about what worked for them. Get your questions answered, and learn what steps you should be taking to make sure you are One and Done! Food will be served.


Bar Exam 101 Group Presentation with Belia Ramos

Tuesday, April 12, 6-7:30pm OR Tuesday, May 10, 6-7:30pm, Classroom E

Professional California bar tutor and former bar grader Belia Ramos will explain exactly what is needed to pass the California Bar Exam.  Ms. Ramos will walk you through how the bar exam is graded, practical study tips, advice on how to structure your study schedule, and advice about how many practice exams and MBE questions need to be taken to succeed. Please RSVP to, though if your schedule opens up at the last minute, don’t hesitate to drop in.


Sterile IRAC Group Presentation with Belia Ramos

Thursday, April 14, 6-8pm, OR Thursday, May 12, 6-8pm, Classroom E

Professional California bar tutor and former bar grader Belia Ramos will teach you a systematic way of deconstructing bar essay questions and writing strong essay answers. Not to be missed! Please RSVP to, though if your schedule opens up at the last minute, don’t hesitate to drop in.


We encourage you to take advantage of these supplemental bar preparation opportunities. Please contact Rebekah Grodsky, Director of Academic & Student Affairs, with any questions at or 916.739.7089.


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A Week in the Life of a Bar Applicant

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on March 23, 2016

Some students have expressed concern recently about planning ahead for their post-graduation bar prep, wondering what a typical week may entail.  You will receive a detailed schedule from your bar review company soon, and you should use that as your planning foundation; but to give you a general idea of what your schedule might look like, I compiled information from past years to create a couple of examples.

Some caveats to consider first:

  • These are only examples.  Your own schedule may be quite different.


  • Each week in your prep period will change, depending on the date (e.g., early or later in the prep period), your commercial company’s assignments/simulations/lectures, etc.


  • You can adjust your bar company’s schedule to meet your personal needs, within reason.  For example, if you have a family function on, say, June 15, you can plan ahead and move that date’s assignments into the preceding and following days to allow you to take that day off.  Just do not take a day off and not account for those missed assignments.


  • Some students who saw these mock schedules already were surprised by how “light” they seem. Bear in mind, though, that they represent a seven-day-per-week commitment for over two months, and each includes 8-10 essay simulations, a PT simulation, and 150-170 MBEs.  That is a lot, and since self-care is a vital component of effective bar prep, you should have at least a little downtime each day — again, within reason; taking a full day off every week might not be the best idea.  (We recommend an approximate total of at least 45-50 fully simulated essays, 5-6 simulated PTs, and 1500-1800 MBEs during the post-graduation prep period.)


  • Related to that point, this schedule assumes strong focus and effective completion of each scheduled task, which then permits that downtime without sacrificing your preparation.  If you spend an hour answering and reviewing MBE questions, but during that time you’re distracted by other things (the Internet, a phone call, daydreaming, etc.), then that hour was not very effectively spent and may necessitate more time for that task.


  • Each person learns and studies differently, so some of these time blocks may not work for you.  For instance, it may take you 90 minutes to simulate and review an essay, or it may take you more than two hours.  (You might consider creating your own schedule in 30-minute increments instead of hour-by-hour.)


  • Each person also has different strengths and weaknesses.  If you struggle with effective essay writing, for example, or a particular substantive topic, then you might want to add more of that into your personal schedule.


If you have questions or would like to discuss your own schedule, please do not hesitate to contact me.

A Week in the Life of a Bar Applicant

A Week in the Life of a Bar Applicant2

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Bar Prep Head Start

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on March 9, 2016

The spring term is notoriously crazy (for everyone, professors and students alike!). On top of all of your law school commitments, the specter of the bar exam looms not too far in the distance (four and a half months in the distance, to be exact). While your first priority should be your classes and earning that walk across the stage in May — and while you’ve technically been preparing for the bar exam to some degree since your 1L orientation week — there are some steps you can take now to give yourself a head start on your intensive summer preparation.

First, keep it manageable, especially if you are carrying a substantial credit load this spring and/or have work or other commitments.  You may have your commercial course review materials now, but you will not be able to memorize the entire Property outline this weekend; instead, set a weekly goal for yourself that is more feasible. For example, you might read five pages of that outline, or the section on, say, mortgages, and make a few flash cards or start a flow chart. Alternatively, you might plan to practice with ten MBE questions and make flash cards for those rules instead. If you set a goal now to take about thirty minutes each week to make ten flash cards, you would have over 100 by graduation.  Pretty impressive!

Whatever you choose, get into the habit now of scheduling it.  Block off that time on your calendar, and stick to that appointment.  It will be good practice for how you should operate this summer once you have your commercial course homework schedule.

Small steps today can take you a long way toward being one and done this summer! If you’d like to discuss anything related to your bar prep in person, please don’t hesitate to email me to set up an appointment.

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Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on February 22, 2016

Sending all the very best to everyone this week!  You’ve got this!! 13f99c4975bf318a234e4f9cb432b45f

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Diversity Bar Scholarships

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on January 29, 2016

3L Diversity Scholarship to Cover Bar Exam Expenses

The California Bar Foundation 3L Diversity Scholarship is now open! Any diverse 3L who plans to practice public interest law in California, and who plans to take the July 2016 California Bar Exam, is eligible. Winners receive a free Barbri bar prep course along with a living stipend. Deadline is Tuesday February 16, 5pm. Application can be found here:

And for the first time, we are thrilled to offer co-sponsored 3L Diversity scholarships with the following five affinity bar associations throughout California:

Asian American Bar Association Law Foundation

Orange County Asian American Bar Association

East Bay La Raza Lawyers

Black Women Lawyers Foundation

The Charles Houston Bar Association

In partnering with these groups, we are connecting with even more diverse law students throughout California. Specific criteria for these special co-sponsored scholarships are available on the application registration page.

We are committed to supporting diverse California law students who are devoted to improving access to justice in California, and this scholarship is one important way we are doing so.

Please email me with any questions at

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Feb. Bar Meetings

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on January 11, 2016

February bar takers, you can meet individually with Courtney Lee this and next month for some extra support, to check in about your progress, to vent if needed, and/or to get your questions answered. You may have received an email at your Pacific account with specific times available, or you can just email her directly at (be sure to include the “1”) to arrange an appointment if you haven’t already.

Also, a friendly reminder: the Extra Feedback PT is due tonight by 6:00!

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July 2015 Answers Released!

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on December 28, 2015

The State Bar has finally released example answers for the July 2015 bar exam essays and PTs.  This is a great, free resource, but remember, all we know is that these are “passing” answers; we do not know exactly what scores the answers received, and they might contain errors you want to avoid in your own writing.  For example, a format might be odd, or a heading might not fit particularly well, but usually the released answers make up for any such deficiencies with solid issue-spotting, clear and accurate rule statements, and most importantly, strong factual analyses.

If you took the July 2015 exam and would like to meet to review your answers, I’d be happy to meet with you. If so, I require that you complete one essay or PT comparison chart for each answer you wish to discuss, and that you come prepared to explain to me in detail how your answers differ from the example answers, and what would have made them better.  (Please note that the campus is closed now through Jan. 3.  I then have to travel for work purposes in the first week of the New Year, but I will be available to meet starting the week of Jan. 11.)

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First Extra Feedback Essay Due Monday

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on December 26, 2015

Don’t miss the first opportunity to get individualized feedback on your practice exams!  The first essay, Property, is due by 6:00 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 28.  See this post for more information and a copy of the question.

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