Over a year ago, the California State Bar announced that it was altering the structure of the bar exam, beginning with the July 2017 administration. Two days instead of three! Students rejoiced. Graders cracked open another beer. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
But is it actually a blessing?
Right now, the California bar has two full days of writing. On each day, a student writes three essays and one performance test. That means the student gets six chances to nail an essay. Students could flounder with a 55 on, say, a corporations essay, but they could make up for it with an 85 on an evidence racehorse.
But come July 2017, the chances of that evidence racehorse showing up will be sliced down by an entire essay. What’s more, examiness will only complete one performance test, not two.
What does that mean for you? Every essay matters. If you don’t analyze that community property essay perfectly, you’ll have one less chance to make up for it.
What This Means
- Your structure has to be perfect (to minimize the chance that a grader misses, for example, that you caught the minority view of comparative negligence!).
- Your facts need to be perfectly placed.
- You need pristine counterarguments.
Every. Single. Time.
The same is true for the performance test. This, perhaps, is more important: From what the BarMD faculty has observed, many people fail the bar exam because they miss the mark on a performance test. Maybe they didn’t follow the instructions. Maybe they ran out of time. But now, there’s no second bite at that performance test apple. No do-overs.
California bar examinees, caveat emptor! Most big-box bar prep companies won’t take the time to give you detailed, specific feedback on your essays. Most of the time, you’re lucky to get one or two comments and a rough score estimate that defies explanation.
So, how are students supposed to make sure they’re prepared to write essays impenetrable by even the most persnickety bar grader?
BarMD Can Help
BarMD ensures examinees enter the test with the skills they need to craft the ideal bar essay or performance test. Students complete numerous practice exams, all of which are reviewed by a staff of experts—legal writing professors, honors graduates of top law schools, and practicing attorneys. Every time, students receive a wealth of individualized comments. And these are designed to push them to the next level of essay writing.
Now, with the bar exam taking away students’ chances to recover from a problematic essay, the kind of feedback that BarMD offers is crucial.
BarMD’s faculty members have already cured numerous students’ exam ailments. Be the next.