Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Studying for my fifth shot at the bar exam is ...

... without a doubt, the toughest thing I've ever had to do in my entire life. The motivational challenge is overwhelming. It's negatively affecting every other aspect of my day-to-day existence. My family, my friends, my work, they're all suffering because I have screwed this thing up so badly. The implications of another failure loom so large over everything that it's hard to focus on anything else, let alone get motivated to start studying again. I completely blew my first scheduled day of organized study, which was supposed to be yesterday. Now I have to make that up today along with everything else I have to get done.

I'm usually a "Don't worry! Be happy!" kind of guy. But, lately, not so much.


Anonymous said...

Hey. I passed on my 5th shot. Best I can offer is to get your feet under you again, and begin. It's overwhelming when it's this big massive ball of information that you're not sure you can grapple with. But you can. I'm a big believer in re-writing answers you've already done. Memorize rules when you aren't up to writing an essay. Write out things like:
"A contract is an agreement between 2 or more people the performance of which the recognizes as a duty, and the breach of which the law provides a remedy." Over and over, over and over. Or do it with the 1st Amendment - tedious, but you can do it.

Anonymous said...

I know you've heard this from others on this blog, but have you seriously thought about getting July refunded and sitting it out? I sat out last July and credit it for passing. It let me step away from the test, rest my mind, get a new perspective, and simply enjoy my life and loved ones.

Anonymous said...

Just take it easy man, I believe you should do what I do when my little girl sees me all tense and anxious and says, "Your freaking me out!"
Just laugh a little, take a breath, then start again

The easiest and toughest thing you are going to do in your life is pass the California Bar Exam.

You are the man. Take every step full of awareness, and once you get the information you need, simply move forward.

Step by little step you will inside gain more assurance. There will be missteps and doubts along the way-
Yes, even during the July 3 days of hell

But just laugh a little, take another breath, assure yourself you are doing all you can,
and answer some more questions.

You will be a fluid, lean mean machine of legal knowledge. You will get to the point in each essay and hit every issue you can quickly, then move on.

You will be clear, focused, and rise to the occasion.

You will return home wondering if it was enough, takin' pleasure in your family and friends.

later this year, you will be unbelieving as you see your name on the screen.

Good work man, well done.

Keep dreamin' just enough to drive yourself and we'll see you at the Courthouse steps friend.


Anonymous said...

February answers are up on the Cal Bar website as of today... thought you might like to know, as a way of kick starting the studying.

I'll be pulling for you GP!

Anonymous said...


There is nothing wrong with taking one exam off to regroup, revitalize yourself, reorganize your study plan, etc. Plus if family issues are causing problems, get those quieted down. I had to skip one exam due to family/personal issues. It was really interfering.

It's the smart thing to do when outside matters are taking up a lot of room in your brain.

Change of Venue said...

Grand Poobah -

When I failed the Cal Bar exam in Feb. 2009 as a first-timer, I had invested time, money, emotions, my future and hope into the exam. I gained 25 lbs, my blood pressure escalated as did my cholesterol. I am finally back on the road to health with still a long way to go. Like you, I am a baby boomer. Given the wear and tear on my emotions and on my health, and after reading your blog and others, I decided against taking the exam in July 2009 and for taking the exam next Feb. 2010. I'm on a quest to find a private tutor and am working with my school to determine the next steps for me. Perhaps you should give yourself some breathing room and take the exam again next Feb. 2010. You've given this exam your all but it is not worth the expense to your well being and to your family. Take a break and come back with full force. You'll be the better for it and so will your scores.

I commend you for your blog, your honesty and for the inspiration that you give to me and to others.

See you at the bar in Feb. 2010?

Anonymous said...


When a marathon racer gets a sprain, he rests the legs for a bit. He might even have to skip the next race, but he comes BACK better than ever.

Get rested, get healed, mentally and physically. This is JUST AS IMPORTANT, as the greatest tutor. They can't do anything for ya, if you're not at the top of your game in the other areas.

Seriously, take the summer off. If you want to study, then you can take longer, still work, and do the studying in smaller chunks, maybe ponder it more or reanalyze.

Anonymous said...

I am planning on taking the bar in 2009 and I have been reading your blog since the first day and pulling for you each time. Your determination is my strength, because it know that your situation is similar to many others. It may be my story. Take it easy on yourself, ok. You will pass.

Liz said...

GP, the first day is always the hardest. I'm right there with you, studying, and the first day back I laid on the couch after 3-4 hours and whined to my husband (who passed on his first try, grrr!!!).

It's easier now. Trust me, it will get easier for you. I wish you all the best. Remember to take breaks and go outside, see some greenery, it'll help you relax.

Anonymous said...

I will blow you if you pass. Inspiring?

Anonymous said...

Don't listen to people who are advising you to sit out the July 2009 exam. If you check the passage rates, the passage rates for July is always significantly higher than passage rates for February.

Also, studying is important, but don't beat yourself up for not sticking to your study schedule. I took the bar exam for the first time in July 2008 and passed, even though I didn't stick to my study schedule. I studied, but I also went to the movies, baseball game, family functions, took a trip to Catalina, etc.

FYI I didn't rank at the top of my class at Harvard. I attended a 4th tier law school and I ranked 90% in my class.

freddyvee said...

Hi GP -
I know how you feel. I'm in the same position as you, July 09 will be my 5th time. My best exam was Feb 2008. I need to bring up my MBE score by a lot! Embarassed to admit but my highest MBE score was 110 and that was on Feb 09.
I saw you posted that you credit Emanuels for your MBE score. Did you take the Emanuels course or just use the MBE books? I have Emanuel Rigos Bar Review Series MBE Review book. Do you think if I do all the questions in this series my score should go up? Any advice you can give me would be really appreciated!
Keep your chin up... I know it's hard to stay motivated.

Anonymous said...

When I was studying for the Ca bar I kind of likened it to preparing for and later fighting a battle. I think most military types will tell you that battles are mostly decided before they are even fought due to the effect of strategy and logistics. If you don't have sufficient resources in terms of focus and time to prep fully for July 09, I think the smart thing to do is regroup over the summer and go full bore Feb 10. I think you will have a better chance of beating this thing if you come at it with a refreshed state of mind. I wish you the best of luck.

Anonymous said...

You didn't screw up-you did the best you could and that's all anyone can do.

Anonymous said...

10:22, I don't disagree with your advice for GP but the reason the July bar has a higher pass rate is because that's when all the first time takers from ABA schools take it. Check out the stats. Feb bar pass rates are lower because they have a greater percentage of repeaters and although it stinks, repeater rates are always in the toilet.

Anonymous said...

I would seriously consider taking the summer off - to give yourself time to improve and study at a steady pace. You could minimally devote at least 2 weeks to each subject, 2 weeks solely to PTs, and still have a lot of time to review for February. I took off an entire year after failing the bar 3 times. I didn't pass on my 4th attempt, but I did get into re-read on a February exam, and then passed July 2008.
Also, you'll have more time to spend with your family and that will remind you precisely of why treatign the bar exam like an "all or nothing" proposition is hard on everybody - not just yourself. This is the first May/June in years that I didn't have to study for the bar, or considering the year I skipped, having the bar hang over my head.
Only you can decide - but stepping back and taking a long view usually helps.

Anonymous said...

I just passed my second time. I read your blog often for inspiration.

My first scores were
PT 70,75
MBE: 1180.

This time around, I took over 3000 practice MBEs, took Adachi's essay advantage course (if you can't, I strongly suggest the barbreaker series. It's actually even more information than the class). Memorize the templates, and buy Adachi's flashcards and spend the week before the bar memorizing the law. That was my new approach.
25-50 MBEs a day.
1-3 practice essays every day.
1PT a week.

I really contribute my stonger scores on the PT to not outlining, despite what everyone says.
I tear off the assignment and read it. Then, as I am reading the cases, I am simultaneously typing the relevant laws into the computer so that I can save time. I organize as I go. It worked for me.

May it be known I had no flipping clue what to even answer on the corporations question, I missed a lot of things on the discovery and evidence questions, but still passed. I credit it to a REALLY high MBE score (I was scoring 90% on the tests before I got to the exam thanks to all the practice).

Also, I completely left out the foreign law on the PT as I felt it was not pertinent.

Liz said...

Anon 7:09, thanks for writing out your study schedule, it's very helpful to see what others did/are doing.

I'm doing what you did right now (glad to know it doesn't seem I'm THAT off!).

Anonymous said...

Here too, thanks for sharing your strategy, very helpful, I think I need to do more essays now seeing you did 1-3 per day. I failed feb 09 one, first time. My PT are also not bad around 70. I used exactly the same method you did, simply too much to outline.

BTW, did you take any PT classes?

As to MBE, did you use old problems, or new ones, or combined?

kris said...

When I was despairing, I happened along a Marianne Williamson seminar. I went along and shared my predicament. I wish I could remember the exercise - but the end result was Marianne telling the group, "Kris is going to give herself time to pass the Bar exam".

I had been dealing with job/relationship dramas AND studying for the Bar (for a different jurisdiction than where I studied) in 6 weeks' time.

I gave myself more time after that and just missed passing by a whisker.

A year later (because my finances and emotions needed a break) I really made the committment. I had the choice of managing a drama at work or devoting myself full-time to passing the Bar. I quit my job and I chose passing the Bar.

I felt a little guilty that there are single, working moms who do it all and pass and 25 year olds that do a couple hours study inbetween keg parties etc but I recognised I'm not them and that I needed to absolutely clear the decks.

I did pass. I am still amazed I didn't have mascara running down my bands at my Call [to the Bar] ceremony; It'd been a long time coming.

Your day will come.

I hope you are able to give yourself the time to pass.

Anonymous said...

How many practice essays have you written?

How many practice performance exams have you written?

Your MBE scores are high, which means you know probably know the law very well. But its your essay/PT scores that are killing you. If you dont improve those significantly... you will NEVER pass this test.

If you don't have the time to practice essays and PTs... then stop fretting over this bar exam and give up. You will never be able to improve your essay/PT scores unless you practice 100 essays and 20 PTs.

I really thought you're enjoying this whole bar exam thing and that you've made a game out of it. But I can see that you're not. If that's the case, take time off and study or QUIT.

Anonymous said...

Oh...I have been reading your blog for a while, since I took the July 07 exam (I was lucky enough to pass), and I have been pulling for you. I'm sorry you didn't pass this time. I agree with the last poster mostly -- you obviously know the law, with your MBE scores. So it's the writing for you now. Frustrating! When I was studying I wrote at least 3 practice essays (I used the ones from the CalBar website) a day during the last month, in addition to whatever Barbri was piling on at that point. I got to the point where I could write one, on any topic, in 40 minutes, because I knew I'd be nervous at the actual exam and it would take me longer. I also did about 8 performance tests to prepare, as many different kinds as possible. I know you are getting a lot of advice, and I'm sorry to pile it on. My final thing -- I would also consider taking a break. All this stress can't be good for you. I'm pulling for you.

legis said...

My God do I feel your pain. I am going through the same. Keep going brother. Just keep going.

Anonymous said...

Anyone ever used the book called bar code?