McGeorge Bar Prep

What You Need to Succeed on the CA Bar Exam

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  • April 2017
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Bar Prep Opportunities Before Graduation

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on April 28, 2017


1. Sterile IRAC with Belia Ramos on May 10

If you missed the April 18 “Sterile IRAC” presentation with past CA Bar grader Belia Ramos–or if you’d just like to participate again–you will have another chance on Wednesday, May 10, at 6:00 p.m.  Please RSVP to for room information.




2. Proctored PT on May 15

Many students have expressed concern regarding time management on PTs, so if you would like to get a head start with practice writing a timed PT in an exam-like setting, please join us on Monday, May 15, at 1:00 p.m.  A review and discussion of the sample answer will follow the exam.

If you did not take PASS II and would like to review a basic PT writing primer, check out Bar PTs in a Nutshell, and come give it a shot on May 15.  The more you practice, the stronger your skills will become, and you do not have to memorize any law to write a PT.  Please RSVP by Friday, May 12 to to reserve your spot, have materials printed for you, and get room information.  (If you do not RSVP, we may not have an exam for you.)

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Bar Exam Events on April 18

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on April 6, 2017

There are two great bar exam events coming up on Tuesday, April 18:

First, at 4:30 p.m., join recent alumni as they describe and answer questions regarding their experiences preparing for and taking the CA Bar Exam.  Food also will be served.

Then, at 6:00 p.m., CA Bar Exam grader and longtime bar tutor Belia Ramos will present her well-received “Sterile IRAC” workshop.  Belia will guide attendees through a proven strategy for attacking essay questions on the CA Bar, providing concrete examples of how to outline an essay and how to translate that outline into a strong, passing answer.  (Note:  this workshop also will be offered on May 10 at the same time.) 

Please RSVP to for any of these events to reserve your spot and get room information.

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Upcoming Bar Support Lectures

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on March 13, 2017

McGeorge students and graduates, we would like to extend to you the opportunity to attend two upcoming bar exam support lectures:

Bar Exam 101:  Wednesday, April 5, 6:00-7:30 p.m. in Classroom D

Belia Ramos, an ex-CA Bar Exam grader and longtime tutor, will walk you through how the bar exam is graded, practical study tips and advice on how to structure your study schedule, and specific suggestions about how many practice exams and MBE questions you need to take to succeed.  Please RSVP to

Sterile IRAC:  Tuesday, April 18  OR  Wednesday, May 10, both 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Belia will guide you through a proven strategy for attacking essay questions on the California Bar Exam. You will walk away with concrete examples about how to outline an essay exam answer by identifying the issues, rules, and relevant facts in the essay prompt, translating into a strong, passing essay answer.  Please RSVP to for one of these dates.

We encourage you to take advantage of these supplemental bar preparation opportunities.  Please contact if you have questions.

Please note that these lectures are open to McGeorge School of Law students and graduates ONLY. 


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July 2017 Bar Application Available March 1

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on February 27, 2017

If you plan to sit for the July 2017 California Bar Exam, you will be able to submit your application starting this Wednesday, March 1.  See the Cal Bar website for more information (presently it still displays February 2017 exam information, but that will change by Wednesday).  First-time applicants have until April 3 to apply without incurring a late fee.  More information about application dates and filing deadlines is available here.

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The Bar Is Finally Over Reception

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on February 17, 2017

McGeorge bar conquerors, please join staff and faculty immediately following the final PT on Thursday, February 23, at the Sheraton Grand (right next to the Convention Center – Glides Market Bar area) for drinks and appetizers to celebrate the end of the bar.  For more information, please contact the CDO at (916) 739-7011 or


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Last Chance for Extra Feedback!

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on February 3, 2017

February bar takers, Monday is your last chance for extra feedback on your bar writing this winter, and this time it’s the subject most likely to show up on your exam this month: PR!  So don’t forget to write and submit your answer by this Monday, Feb. 6, at 6 p.m. Find more information, the question, and the sample answer here.


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Full Writing Day Simulation 2/11

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on January 30, 2017

If you are a McGeorge graduate taking the February bar exam, you are welcome to come to campus on Saturday, February 11, to participate in a proctored full writing day simulation.  The simulation will follow CA Bar Exam time constraints, beginning with three essays from 9:00 a.m. to noon, a break from noon to 1:30 p.m., and a PT from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.  The sessions will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., so please plan to be set up and ready to go at those times.  Typists will not use ExamSoft in this simulation, so there is no need to download anything.

If you would like to participate, please RSVP to by no later than February 8 to get room information and ensure that you will have printed materials.  McGeorge graduates only, please.  If you plan to write by hand, please include that in your RSVP.


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ALERT: MacBook Pros w/ Touch Bar Not Permitted on CA Bar Exam

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on January 27, 2017

If you have a new MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, you will NOT be permitted to use it to take the CA Bar Exam this February.  Apparently  the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is not compatible with the security software for the upcoming bar because it allows predictive text.  This does not affect all MacBooks, only those with the Touch Bar.  Even though this feature apparently can be disabled, several other states also have banned that type of computer.  I just spoke with a CA State Bar representative who said that they just received this information today, so hopefully they will post a notice with further details on soon.

He did not have information at this time regarding the July 2017 exam.  He also did not have information regarding the cost of reinstalling ExamSoft on a compatible computer, but in most other states that fee is waived, so it likely will be in CA as well (see MA and TN, for example).

For further information, call the CA State Bar at (415) 538-2300 (press 0 to speak with a representative) or ExamSoft support at (866) 429-8889.

EDIT:  Here is the official notice from the CA State Bar:


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The Importance of Self-Assessment

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on January 19, 2017

The previous post explained that realistic practice is the key to success on the bar exam…but what about review?  Answer review is almost as vital as the act of writing out exams under timed conditions, but bar applicants cannot get professional feedback on every essay and PT they simulate, especially if they simulate as many as they should.

Many applicants think that they are incapable of reviewing their own exam answers, and this sometimes dissuades them from simulating exams on their own if there is no one available to provide feedback.  Not so — you ARE capable of reviewing your own answers!  Getting feedback from outside sources is great, but self-critique is just as great, if not better.  The better you get at recognizing flaws in your own writing, the easier it will be to eliminate those flaws as you write.  You need to be your own best critic when you’re sitting in the exam room next month.

Below are two charts to help you methodically compare your answers to the sample answers.  If you complete them for multiple exams, you should start to see patterns for improvement — e.g., not using enough specific, relevant facts, regularly missing certain issues, following a different argument order than that recommended by PT task memos, etc.  Even if you can’t complete a chart every time you write a practice exam, you still can read the sample answer(s) with the same methodical comparison concepts in mind.

So yes, feedback is great, and you should take advantage of it whenever possible — through the Extra Feedback Program and your bar review company, for example — but don’t be discouraged by the prospect of self-review.  And most of all, keep practicing!!

Essay Answer Comparison Chart

PT Answer Comparison Chart

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Practice Makes Progress

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on January 14, 2017

Some things are more frightening than others:  going to dinner for the first time with your significant other’s family…singing in front of an audience…writing a practice essay when you don’t know the law very well…

We can’t help much here with the first two things, but there is tried and true advice that will allow you to overcome the third:  just do it.

Most law students are perfectionists, or at the very least are harder on themselves than anyone else.  Complicating matters is the nature of bar study; it is not humanly possible to know EVERYTHING about every single testable subject, so it is impossible for perfectionists to reach the perfection they crave.  Yet they keep striving toward that goal, knowing that simulating practice essays is a vital step toward success on the bar exam, but pushing that task back further and further as they try to learn the law just a LITTLE better first.

Do not fall into that trap.  If someone waits until she feels like she knows the law well enough to write a practice essay, she never will write a practice essay — until next summer, when she’s studying for the second time and more willing to accept that writing practice is absolutely necessary.  Do not allow yourself to be that person!  If you have not been simulating practice exams faithfully yet, start doing so TODAY.  Your goal by the end of February should be at least 30-40 fully simulated essays and 5-6 PTs.

At this point, it is okay to have your notes open nearby if you feel like you must; but sometime in the next couple of weeks, close your books and just dive in.  Either way, abide by strict time rules (60 minutes for essays, 3 hours for PTs), outline your answers before starting to write, don’t take breaks in the middle, and don’t look at the sample answers until you are finished.  And really simulate the exam; issue-spotting alone is not enough.

But what happens if you can’t remember the rules and you wind up writing the worst answer in the history of bar answers?  Nothing.  That’s why it’s called “practice.”

Well, it’s not entirely true that nothing will happen.  You will learn the law.  You are FAR more likely to remember rules after actively struggling with them in the context of a fact pattern for an hour than you are if you just passively read them in an outline.

If you are a perfectionist, and even if you’re not, do not wait to fully write out practice essays until you learn the law.  Fully simulating timed practice exams and comparing your work to the sample answers is a HUGE part of the learning process.  Bar writing practice may not make perfect, but it does make progress toward never having to study for the bar again!


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