McGeorge Bar Prep

What You Need to Succeed on the CA Bar Exam

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  • February 2017
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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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Mid-Prep Motivation

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on January 26, 2017

With Bar Month approaching and more bar applicants hitting the wall of stress and exhaustion, now might be a good time to share some motivational thoughts for the last leg of the journey. I have been where you are: I felt frustrated, tired, scared, overwhelmed, and sometimes even like an imposter (like it must have been a typo somewhere that let me graduate from law school in the first place). Hundreds of thousands of others have been there, too, and thousands more are here with you now. We did — and you will — get through it. Here are some things to keep in mind as you climb that wall:

1. The bar is an opportunity, not a punishment. 

You may feel like you “have” to take the bar because you’ve spent so much time and money and you need to get/keep that job, etc., but taking the bar is a choice.  Even if it may feel like the only one, you still GET to take the bar…and we are so lucky to have that opportunity!

There are so many people who never get to this stage and would give just about anything to be where you are: people living in repressive cultures, people who could not make the grades or find the funds to go to law school, etc.  You do not have to look far to find them.  And of course we’ve seen far too many news accounts this year of people whose lives were cut short by acts of terrorism and hate. We are lucky in so many ways, and being able to make the choice to take the bar exam is a big one. Be grateful.

2. This may be the last time in your life that you’ll only have one thing to do.  Enjoy it! 

Okay, “enjoy” might be a little strong, but honestly, I often am nostalgic for my bar prep days.  Every morning, I knew I had only one thing to do (even though that one thing had many components, like writing practice, MBEs, flash cards, exercise, etc.).  It was tedious (understatement), but I could be selfish with my time, and the people around me allowed it. Once you begin your career, it probably will be the opposite, as people pull you in all different directions at once and your devices don’t stop ringing and beeping with problems you need to fix yesterday…but for now, you are in control of your time.  Try to appreciate that.

3. No matter what, everything that really matters will be okay.

The bar exam is a test — that’s it.  It’s an important, difficult test that we all want you to pass on the first try, but it’s still just a test. Think about the things that really matter to you:  your family, your friends, your pets, your faith, your values, etc.  You have been working so hard, and you are going to pass the bar; but regardless of the outcome, your family and friends will not go away or stop loving you, and those things that really matter will not change.

4. The graders want you to pass. 

Graders are regular people with regular legal jobs who grade as a public service and who want to see applicants pass.  They did not write the questions, and they are not the enemy!  The bar is your chance to show off all the hard work and preparation you’ve done.  Graders have to get through huge boxes of answer books in short periods of time, but you know how to write your answers in such a way as to make it easy for them to toss your papers onto the “pass” pile. Don’t dread the bar exam; be excited to take it, because it’s your opportunity to show the graders how hard you’ve worked, and how awesome of an attorney you will be when they pass you.

5. Doable goals can help. 

I’ve talked with a lot of graduates so far this winter, and almost every one — from the top of the class to the bottom — feels like s/he is behind. If you feel similarly, don’t look at the list of tasks you still have to complete as one giant mass; break it down into pieces.  For example, if there are four essays and 30 MBEs you needed to simulate but haven’t yet, don’t assume you need to find an open span of five hours to finish them.  Move one essay and maybe ten MBEs to one day, another essay and another group of MBEs to another, and so forth.  Set smaller, doable goals each day, and create a checklist for them.  (Do not underestimate that joy that comes from crossing something off!  I still do that every day and it gives me a thrill each time, no matter how small the task was.)

6. Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. 

Law students are accustomed to working as hard as humanly possible to be the best. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and it’s good to aim for perfection, but don’t lose sight of the fact that there is no Witkin for the bar exam.  Do not get so caught up in “bar drama” that you lose sight of this; yes, it’s hard, but acknowledge that and keep going rather than wallowing in it.  The only way out is through, and as noted above, hundreds of thousands of others have made it before, and so will you.

Related to that, be careful not to allow anxiety to sabotage your efforts.  You graduated from a law school with a rigorous academic curriculum, and you can do this, too.  Keep practicing and working hard, and know that you absolutely, positively CAN PASS the bar exam!!



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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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“Sterile IRAC” Lecture Tuesday @ 6:00

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!  This is a friendly reminder that McGeorge students and graduates are welcome at the upcoming “Sterile IRAC” lecture with past CA Bar grader Belia Ramos.  For more information, see this earlier post.

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Winter 2017 Extra Feedback Program

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on December 15, 2016

The Extra Feedback Program allows McGeorge graduates to submit selected practice exams for individualized comments from an experienced bar program grader.  All graduates taking the CA Bar Exam are welcome to participate, whether planning to sit for the first time or retaking the exam.

Since the Extra Feedback Program’s inception in 2010, McGeorge graduates who participate have passed the bar at higher rates than those who do not.  Mark your calendar now and don’t miss out!



Questions and answers are available below:

Question 1: PT

(PT Answer)


Question 2: Torts

(Torts Answer)


Question 3: Con Law 

(Con Law Answer)


Question 4: PR

(PR Answer)


EFP Schedule in PDF



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Bar 101 Wednesday @ 6:00

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on December 12, 2016

This is a friendly reminder that McGeorge students and graduates are welcome at the upcoming “Bar Exam 101” lecture with past CA Bar grader Belia Ramos.  For more information, see the post below.

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