The clock is ticking quickly. Your hands feel weak from so much typing. And you still have to finish that last evidence essay.
What do you do?
While any bar exam is difficult, California’s tops them all. In our state, you must maneuver challenging California-specific laws—and face a higher cut score. Under the pressure to pass, students can waver.
Maybe they didn’t study the right way.
Perhaps they take too much time on one essay.
. . . Or they might freeze under pressure.
The good news? You don’t have to follow in their footsteps.
Here are 5 proven tactics to help you pass—and how BarMD can help you succeed:
1. Write for the grader (not yourself).
Whenever you write, besides in a diary or as a creative exercise, your audience has to stay “front of mind.”
That’s a basic tenant of successful communication.
However, when you’re on the clock, taking what’s likely the most important test of your entire life, it’s easier to forget this rule. And that’s a basic reason why some students fail the bar.
But why is that an issue?
Well, the writer always knows the point they’re trying to make. So, when the writer proofreads their own work—and, in this case, when they grade their own bar exam practice essays—the author reads between the lines, filling in gaps that they don’t even realize are there.
However, bar essay graders don’t fill in any gaps for the author. A bar grader won’t give the examinee the benefit of the doubt, though a student will give themself more credit than they’d ever get on a real-life bar exam essay.
At BarMD, our all-star staff includes a former bar grader, so you get step-by-step California Bar Exam coaching on how to write the perfect bar essay:
One written with the utmost clarity. So any bar grader will know what you’re saying.
2. Don’t repeat the same mistakes.
Studying on your own can be great: Rocking out on your headphones while breezing through flashcards, or sitting across from a fellow J.D. who’s also flying through practice essays.
But how prepared are you, really?
Studying with a big-box company might sound enticing, too.
But is there substance in their feedback?
Both routes aren’t ideal. Whether you’re working on your own or with a big-box company, you won’t get detailed feedback that helps you fix your essay for next time.
Without real feedback, students can mess up the performance test every time they practice, creating an ingrained issue that’s harder to fix later . . . and never know it.
(Well, not until the CA Bar Exam results come back.)
At BarMD, we ensure you remedy any essay issues. For instance, many students forget to write a straightforward conclusion. As we mentioned in tip #1, students think the bar grader will glean the conclusion for them—but they won’t.
Designed to help every student pass the bar exam, our proven methods help you fix ingrained habits. Or start on the right foot.
Psst—here’s a sample of our super-in-depth grading style:
3. Follow a rigorous study formula.
Casual studying doesn’t work.
To succeed, here’s what a student needs to do, on average:
- At least 5 practice essays in each subject (that’s 65!)
- At least 8 practice performance tests
- . . . all under timed conditions
That’s a lot of hours—and dedication.
Actually, we assign even more: 90+ written assignments.
15 are graded line-by-line, word-by-word.
We spot check all 75+ remaining.
And we check that everyone completes those 90+.
4. Don’t panic—just follow your plan.
Unfortunately, test panic is real.
What if I don’t know that particular law?
What if there are just two hours left—but I have a performance test & an essay to write?
What if I completely & utterly freeze?
Fortunately, with the right tools, preparation, and techniques, everyone can manage test panic. The BarMD team makes sure that every student walks into the bar exam well-equipped. We lead you through activities that explore—and confront—test-day fears, so you deal with any potential issues far in advance.
No matter what your nerves or doubts throw at you, you can prepare to handle it—like a pro.
5. Don’t let test-day logistics get in your way.
Did you know that students fail the bar because. . .
. . . they didn’t get a parking spot, so they had to circle block after block.
. . . they forgot their laptop charger.
. . . they didn’t download the exam software in time.
. . . they forgot to check whether the exam software was compatible with their laptop.
. . . and the list goes on.
A quick story that’s all too common:
Before enrolling in our bar course, one student had failed because of a basic test-day mishap. Because she forgot to check her laptop’s compatibility with the testing software, she didn’t have time, at that last minute, to license another computer for that software. . . . As a result, her laptop wasn’t fully functional, which delayed starting her written exam. Which, in turn, caused her to fail the bar.
When she passed the bar after taking the BarMD course, she was 100% prepared for test day.
We make sure students check off every box on a list. Because one pesky error shouldn’t undo an entire season of studying.
Say Hello to the BarMD Difference
Thanks to our Exam Specialists and tested techniques, our students (mostly repeaters) have a 95% pass rate.
Because we’re different from the big-box companies. Our serious attention to detail, extensive bar experience, and proven formula for success mean that BarMD students consistently succeed—and become practicing attorneys.