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Predictions for the Bar Exam (What to Focus On for Efficient Study)
Before every exam, a handful of people come out of the woodwork and shamelessly ask about subject predictions for the bar exam.
“Does anyone know the essay predictions?” “What do you think will be tested?” “I don’t think ____ will appear on the exam.” “Anyone think ____ will be tested?” “I know we’re not supposed to listen to predictions, but…” “What are ____’s predictions?” “Here are my MEE predictions!”
Whose predictions are you going to listen to?
If you’re like many bar takers, or if you’re a repeater, you say: “Haha of course I’m not going to rely on the predictions. I shall adequately study all the subjects. You should too!”
And then you panic and look at the predictions anyway.
Did you want me to tell you, “Aww poor baby, don’t worry. It’s normal and happens to the best of us 🥺”?
You SHOULD worry if you’re secretly tempted about relying on predictions… because this kind of thinking is entirely predictable and avoidable. Sweating about predictions is not a good place to be and requires intervention.
Also, remember when subjects actually leaked for the California exam in 2019 and people got mad over it? Do you want to know the subjects ahead of time or not? Make up your minds!
Maybe you’re too young to remember ancient history. I’ve been dealing with you people for too long.
Here’s why you should look toward essay or MEE subject predictions only for entertainment value and morbid curiosity (and 3 things you can focus on instead):
ENOUGH! This is just making me mad now.
You already “know” you shouldn’t rely on predictions. You already “know” this isn’t the right way that will help you pass the bar exam. But like a toxic relationship, some people will keep trying to force it to work anyway as you watch in horror.
I’m not saying you can’t take an extra look at the predicted subjects or review them more closely when you’re short on time. Honestly, I’d be doing this too in your position.
All I’m saying is that I’ve never heard of anyone being glad that they gambled on predictions (or worse, paid hundreds of dollars to people who prey on the desperation of bar exam takers).
Sometimes they’re mostly spot on. Sometimes they are way off the mark (despite their prediction rates).
How will you know which it will be this time?
Bottom line, you can’t rely on predictions. Hope is not a strategy.
Stop playing defense hiding behind predictions and huffing hopium. Play OFFENSE from a position of strength and confidence.
There are other better ways to strategize your approach if all you want is simply to take control of your bar prep. I can give you these three ideas on what you might try focusing on instead for a better experience.
These are useful hints to make your studies more informed and predictable.
1. The Tripod Approach for studying for the bar exam
I initially proposed this with California takers in mind, but you can apply this to your particular exam based on your score split across essays, PT, and MBE, as well as any other known/predictable factors.
The Tripod Approach (in this example for the California bar) suggests focusing on these three areas that make up the bulk (70%+) of your score:
- Professional Responsibility essay (practically guaranteed to appear)—focus on identifying issues over deep analysis since the call of the question is usually broad. For example, “What ethical violations, if any, has L committed? Discuss under ABA and CA rules.”
- Performance test (~14% of overall score and often neglected despite having a higher concentration of points per time allotted than an essay)
- MBE (50% of overall score and accounts for 3-4 of the subjects tested across the 5 essays )
By stabilizing a few key areas that you know will be tested, you can coast a bit on the rest of the exam while letting everyone else cry about predictions.
More details in this article about this approach and how to prepare for each of the three “legs” of the tripod.
- Focusing on the MBE (50%) and the MPTs (10% x 2)?
- Making sure you understand tough MEE subjects that tend to appear like Secured Transactions?
- Selecting an easier and more portable jurisdiction to take the exam in?
2. Identify YOUR strengths and weaknesses over others’ bar exam predictions
Personally, I’d focus more on my weak subjects than subjects that are “likely to appear.” Gambling on predicted subjects or only your strong suits makes you a glass cannon.
Don’t risk your bar license and another 6 months of your life based on hope. Hope is not a strategy.
It’s not putting in the time itself that makes you better. Improvement comes from constant feedback and learning every time you try to solve a difficult problem.
So stop ignoring or simply “reading up” on the subjects you don’t like. Techniques that are just shown to you are useless if you don’t get up and try them yourself. Lean into the discomfort so you don’t become a glass cannon.
3. Pay extra attention to MBE subjects (including highly tested MBE topics)
Preparing for the MBE is not only easy to jump into since you’re at least familiar with the subject matter from law school—but the MBE also tests important subjects that also appear in essays.
Moreover, MBE subjects do double duty. If you’re taking the California Bar Exam, at least 3-4 of the 5 essays will touch upon MBE subjects. In other jurisdictions too, MBE subjects will absolutely be tested on some of the essays.
So if you wanted to prioritize your attention in a Hail Mary or do some last-minute review, MBE subjects are where your effort would go (many of which may coincide with the predictions of your choosing).
Of course, make time in your study schedule to hit non-MBE subjects. I said to focus more—not only—on MBE subjects.
There are highly tested areas within the MBE itself you can further focus on, too. Again, don’t only study solely these areas. This is just to guide your prioritization.
If you want to supplement your MBE prep, you have some excellent options:
Emanuel’s Strategies & Tactics for the MBE (8th edition) is a great start. It has a short guide for each subject as well as excellent explanations for NCBE-licensed questions selected to cover a wide range of testable issues.
If you want something more robust and more analytical, you have two main choices: AdaptiBar and UWorld MBE QBank .
Free trials are available for both, so you can try them out yourself. I review AdaptiBar here and UWorld here . Here’s a comparison of both .
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California Bar Exam Essay Frequency Chart
Are you looking for a comprehensive California bar exam essay frequency chart? Here’s our chart of the essay subjects tested on the California bar exam through the present date. The essay chart will show you which subjects tend to be frequently tested (e.g., Professional Responsibility!) and which ones are not tested as often (e.g., Agency). You can also get an idea of which subjects are generally tested in conjunction with another subject (which you are more likely to see with the new test format as of July 2017).
Our chart provides a more accurate representation of when subjects were tested because we have separated Corporations, Agency, and Partnership; Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure; Contract Remedies and Tort Remedies; California Civil Procedure and Federal Civil Procedure; Trusts and Wills; and the California Evidence Code and the Federal Rules of Evidence.
Key Takeaways from the California Bar Exam Essay Frequency Chart:
1. make sure you study professional responsibility..
Professional Responsibility has been tested more than 36 times since 2006 on the California essays. In addition to conflicts of interest, advertising, and fee agreements, you may see questions in the corporations context and the criminal context (e.g., duties of prosecutor). Almost every single essay asks examinees to answer according to the ABA rules as well as the California distinctions. Therefore, it is worth it to study the most highly tested California distinctions. There may be times when the ABA rule and the California rule are the same. In those instances, you should tell the examiners that the outcome would be the same under both rules.
2. Be aware of common crossover questions.
If you are aware that certain subjects are always or generally tested with another subject you will be more likely to spot all of the issues on exam day. Never read a fact pattern assuming that only one subject will be tested. Based on the chart above, some common crossover essays include:
- Community Property/Wills
- Contracts/Contract Remedies
- Corporations/Professional Responsibility
Additionally, Agency usually is tested with another subject. Because students will write five essays instead of six essays beginning with the July 2017 administration, it is highly likely that you will see more crossover essays (even though you will write one less essay you still need to study all of the subjects). Our chart tells you exactly which essay questions to review if you are struggling with certain crossover essays.
3. Even though California Civil Procedure has only been tested once, you should study it!
The Examiners tested California Civil Procedure for the first time on the July 2016 exam (three of the four questions required knowledge of California Civil Procedure). Even though the fact pattern did not state that examinees should answer according to California law, it is important to note that the case took place in California. Now that California Civil Procedure has been tested once it is likely that it will be tested again. If you have not read through this essay and the student answers, take a look at the past exams on the State Bar of California’s website.
4. It is possible for essays to test a subject more than once!
Many examinees think if a subject has been tested on one essay it will not be tested again during the exam! This is not the case. If you look at the chart you will see that the following subjects have been tested twice on the same exam: Contracts, Professional Responsibility, Federal Civil Procedure, and recently, Real Property. This is important to know so that you do not quickly dismiss issues as you read the fact patterns on exam day.
5. Review highly tested California Evidence distinctions!
Since 2006, Evidence has been tested a total of 18 times. On about half of those essays, students were asked to respond according to the California Rules of Evidence and on about half of those essays students were asked to respond according to the Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE). Thus, both the FRE and the California Evidence Code are commonly tested. It would be a mistake to assume that you do not really need to study the California evidence distinctions.
This post was written by Ambika, our California Bar Exam tutor, who has passed not only the California Bar Exam but also bar exams in New York and New Jersey!
If you are looking for a new approach, please feel free to contact us at your convenience.
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California bar essay predictions
California bar exam essay predictions february 2023, california bar exam essay predictions, essay exam writing for the california bar exam, california bar essay frequency chart, article request form.
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July 2023 California Bar Exam Predictions
Updated: Aug 19
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The Good Stuff
Welcome back, folks! As many of you are aware, our prediction accuracy for the California Bar Exam has been unmatched to date. Hence, the small fee requested in exchange for a great benefit. This document, as always, should be used to better focus your area of studies for the upcoming California Bar Exam. We cannot make any guarantees as to our bar exam predictions and always encourage our students to study every subject that could be tested on the California Bar Exam.
Without further ado, here are Cal Bar Bible, LLC’s predictions for the July 2023 California Bar Exam (in no particular order):
1. Contracts w/ Remedies
3. Community Property
4. Business Associations (Agency & Partnership)
5. Professional Responsibility
Wild card*: Torts or Wills & Trusts
A closer look at our predictions
The California bar exam covers a vast majority of legal rules within each subject. The wealth of information contained within each essay subject is one of the reasons the California bar exam is difficult to pass. However, the bar examiners love retesting issues and focusing their attention to specific legal rules that are tested over and over again. Based on this pattern and drawing from past exams administered, we have compiled a list of hot topics for the predicted subjects:
Contracts w/ Remedies
Specific performance; contract formation; breach; anticipatory repudiation; misrepresentation; specific performance; modification; equitable remedies; damages.
Conspiracy; Homicide; Theft Crimes.
4th Amendment: Search & Seizure; Reasonable Expectation of Privacy; Terry Stops; Warrant Requirements (Applicable Exceptions)
5th Amendment: Confessions; Miranda
6th Amendment: Right to Counsel; When it Attaches.
CP vs. SP; Commingling funds; Quasi CP; Gifts; Stock Options & Child Support; Transmutation; Putative Spouse; Debts; Torts.
Business Associations (Agency & Partnership)
LLPs; general partnerships; authority; fiduciary duties; and dissociation/dissolution.
Duty of loyalty; Duty of Confidentiality; Fee Agreements/Fee Sharing; Withdrawal; Safeguard Client’s Property; Malpractice; Duties to the Court; Duty of Competence.
Negligence; Products Liability; Defamation; Strict Liability; Tort Defenses. *Special Note : We had a real predicament as Crimes and Torts were both presenting equally in terms of appearing for the July 2023 CA Bar Exam. Ultimately, we picked Crimes over Torts. However, we included Torts as a wild card, but in full disclosure, it almost made the final cut as the official 5 predictions. In short, be adequately prepared for BOTH subjects.
Wills & Trusts
Types of Trusts; Termination; Duties of Trustee; Abatement
Creation of Will; Formalities; Validity of Will; Revocation; Omitted Spouse/Child, Codicils; Ademption; Lapse/Anti Lapse.
Our materials are straight to the point and provide you with all the tools you need to pass the California Bar Exam. We have compiled a comprehensive study guide that will help overcome barriers faced by all bar takers – whether it’s your first time taking the exam, or you are a repeater, our Cal Bar Bible materials (only $199) includes all subjects tested on the California Bar Exam. Each CBB subject copy includes an essay checklist, simplified and easy to memorize rule statements, condensed study sheets, essay templates, essay cheat sheets, outlines, hot topics, essay tracking, issue spotting, and much more to help you pass the formidable CA Bar Exam. Feel free to checkout a sample of a CBB copy on Civil Procedure here .
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