McGeorge Bar Prep

What You Need to Succeed on the CA Bar Exam

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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!



One Response to “Practice Makes Progress”

  1. […] « Practice Makes Progress […]

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