This is Your Bar Exam to Pass!

This February is your bar exam to pass. Just do your best. And, “break a pencil!”

If any of you have seen The Producers, you remember the scene where they warn that it’s bad luck to say “Good Luck” before a theatrical performance.  Instead, you say, “Break a leg.”

Before a recent bar exam, I spoke with one of my former students just before her bar exam, a student who happened to have a strong theater background.  When I told her, “I won’t say “Good Luck,” she knew why!  She laughed out loud and suggested that instead of “Break a leg,” I tell her to “Break a pencil.”  So, the morning of her first bar exam day, I texted, “Break a pencil!”  She passed the first time, of course!

What I want to tell all of you, any of you who might be reading this blog post now for extra inspiration, is that you do not need“luck” anyway.  You need to go in there and do your best, just like you have done each and every day now, day in and day out, some of you for three years, and those of you who were part time students for four full years.

Law school transitions right into the bar success.  The bar exam and law school differ, of course.  And, I have dozens of blog posts here, and pages in Pass the Bar Exam (ABA Publishing 2013), illustrating those differences.  But hard work in law school lays the foundation for success on the bar exam.

And, you are not going to go in there, to your bar exam, and find something completely different than what you have been studying, assuming you took a reputable bar review course.  You practiced with real exams, you did the actual kind of work you will be doing on this test. They release past exams. The National Conference of Bar Examiners publish Subject Matter Outlines that say what areas they test on.  You should not have big surprises if you studied comprehensively.

So, hang in.  Relax.  Breathe deeply.  Concentrate.  Read carefully.  Stay calm, confident, and focused.  This February is your bar exam to pass.  Just do your best.  And, “break a pencil!”

About Sara Berman

Professor Berman serves as the Assistant Dean of Academic Support and Bar Support at Whittier Law School and concurrently as Professor of Law and Assistant Dean of Bar Support Programs at Concord Law School. She has lectured nationwide for commercial bar reviews for more than two decades, preparing students for both substantive and skills portions of bar exams nationwide. Berman is the author of the recent ABA publication: “Pass the Bar Exam: A Practical Guide to Achieving Academic and Professional Goals” as well as a companion teacher’s manual for the same. Professor Berman is currently writing a second title for the ABA on the use of performance testing in law schools. Along with UCLA Law Professor Paul Bergman, Berman co-authored “The Criminal Law Handbook: Know Your Rights, Survive the System,” and “Represent Yourself in Court: How to Prepare and Try a Winning Case,” both published by and both excellent introductory resources for law students. Berman has also published numerous articles and study guides and blogs regularly about law school and bar exam success.

Author: Sara J. Berman

Sara J. Berman, a graduate of the UCLA School of Law, is a Professor of Law and Assistant Dean at the Touro Law Center. She formerly served as a Director at the Washington DC-based Center for Legal Education Excellence.

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