McGeorge Bar Prep

What You Need to Succeed on the CA Bar Exam

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Maintaining Perspective

Posted by mcgeorgebarprep on January 27, 2015

As we reach the end of January, it’s common to “hit the wall,” so to speak.  Bar prep is hard.  It is tedious, and boring, and constant, and you wish both that it were over already, and that you had more time.

This is when maintaining perspective, always a good idea, is most important.  Why are you putting yourself through this?  There is something positive waiting at the end of this journey, isn’t there?  Maybe it’s a job (or at least being more marketable for a future job), your shiny new bar card, and/or even just that feeling of accomplishment after you overcome a significant challenge, but there are major benefits at the end.  Stay focused on those benefits to help you climb over the wall…and as you do, remember a few things:

  • There are a lot of people in the world who would give anything to be where you are.  Some people would love to go to law school but couldn’t even finish high school or undergrad.  Some are so oppressed that they are not permitted to have their own opinions, let alone go to school to learn how to voice them.  (Think of Malala Yousafzai, the famous girl who survived being shot because she wanted to go to school.)  The next time you sit down to simulate an exam, be grateful.
  • The bar exam is not everything.  It is a test; that’s it.  It is a major test and it should be your main focus right now, but when you consider the things most important to you (family, friends, health, etc.), it’s highly doubtful that your performance on the bar exam will determine the presence of those things in your life.  Focus, and put in the work (that means practice exams!), but remember that this test is not your entire world.  Thinking this way can help remind you that it is a hurdle you absolutely can clear.
  • On that note, if you graduated from McGeorge, and you follow our advice and put in the work this winter, YOU CAN PASS THE BAR EXAM!!  Prepare with the attitude that it is your opportunity to demonstrate to the graders just how capable you are:  “They are so lucky to get to read my answers!” (And if you’ve practiced enough, you’ll be right!)  Do not allow yourself to be dejected and full of dread (see the first bullet point above)…no — you will own that exam.  Study with that mindset now, and carry it with you into the test center next month.

Recently I received a message from a student who is well on her way to being “One and Done” this February.  Here is what she had to say about studying so far:

I have to say, I actually have enjoyed bar prep so far. The [lectures] are incredibly tedious, but I love re-learning the law and I take my flash cards to the gym with me and just stay on the treadmill until I’ve run through the set a few times. During the especially tough days, I have to remind myself that this test is only about minimum competence (which first-time pass rates for McGeorge takers seem to indicate is doable).

This graduate is on the right track:  She’s viewing the process in as positive a light as possible; she’s taking care of herself (going to the gym); and she knows that she is capable of success if she puts in the work (aside from flash cards, she’s also simulating lots of practice exams).  Adjust your perspective if necessary, and this can just as easily apply to you!  You’ve got this!



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