Bar Review Requires Full Attention: No weddings, no parties, limited social media. Get serious now.


Excerpt from Bar Exam Success: A Comprehensive Guide. By Sara J. Berman, Copyright ABA/West Publishing 2022

Do not forward or distribute without permission of the publisher.

Need to tell your family and friends to leave you alone until August? Send them a letter.


Dear _________________________,

As you know, I am taking the bar exam next month. Studying is a huge challenge. My professor calls it “the law student’s Mount Everest.” I cannot go in knowing I have not done my best. You would not want that for me either.

So, please, expect me to be gone for all of June and July. Even if you see me, I may not really be present. If you ask me something, I may not hear you. Even if I respond, I may not know or remember what I said.

Even if you want to just to say hello, that might have to wait. Unless you can deal with bringing food over and testing me with flash cards while we quickly eat, then leaving, we’ll have to put off everything until August. 

I’m officially RSVP’ing “No” to all social commitments this summer.

If there is anything you want me for —please wait to even ask me about it until after the bar unless it is truly a life-or-death matter.

I likely won’t even look at, let alone respond to DMs or other messages. I am not trying to be rude. Please just consider me offline until August.

If I happen to see or speak with you, please do not take personally any sort of moodiness or tension. It’s the exam. It has nothing to do with you.

Thank you so much for your unequivocal support.  And, thank you for your support and for taking time to read this!

– – – – – –

Bar Exam Challenge

Glass half full says this is a difficult but doable challenge. I am ready. I can do this! All bar takers out there, know that you are supported!! Give yourself these two months to do the best you can. We need you as tomorrow’s lawyers.

Congrats to the newest ESQs!

Bar Exam results have been coming out all across the country. If you passed, please keep celebrating. Support your classmates who did not pass and take time to be proud of your own accomplishment. Know that you have entered a profession that needs great leaders. Welcome!

Bar Exam Approaches: Get out of your own way

When facing high-stakes competitions, matches, performances, or bar exams, there are tendencies to let in self-doubt. Nerves are normal. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. But the key to success on Game Day – or Bar Exam Days – is keeping the focus positive.

You have been training for this for years. You have taken many high-stakes and low-stakes exams. You know how to read and reason. And, your well-rested mind will perform, so long as you don’t let worry get in your way.

For preparation and to stay mentally limber, continue to use your “cheat sheets” and take the other steps recommended in Bar Exam Success. And, remember, the most important things you can do today and tomorrow are rest, eat healthfully, drink lots of water, and stay positive. Clear the path to success.

#BarExam #BarExam2022 #BarPass #PasstheBar #BarExamSuccess #lawschool #lawstudent

Preparing for Next Week’s Bar Exam

The following is an excerpt from Bar Exam Success: A Comprehensive Guide. (It may not be forwarded or reproduced without the express permission of the author.)

“Come to the edge,” He said. They said, “We are afraid.” “Come to the edge,” He said. They came. He pushed them…and they flew.” –Guillaume Apollinaire

This exam is your time to push off and fly, to soar to success. Of course you may feel fear, but keep the excitement and empowerment that comes with meeting the challenge front and center. Let power flow through your veins. You’ve got this!

You are close now. For many readers, the bar exam begins in just a few days. You are ready to go. Sure it’s scary. But you have done the work and this is your bar exam to pass.

Some things to remember when you go in. The fact patterns that will be placed before you are stories. Just stories. They may be about contractual agreements entered into and broken, marriages fallen apart with assets left to be divided, crimes of passion. Read them like puzzles, every fact is there for you. Let it be interesting! Think of yourself as walking through the ultimate cocktail party where each cluster of people tells you stories and problems.  

Have you ever thought about the bar exam as a “cocktail party?” I know there is an alcohol pun there. Unintended. What is intended is something I have been reiterating from page one [of Bar Exam Success: A Comprehensive Guide]. You can view this whole bar exam experience as “punishment” if you so choose, or you can see it as a welcome challenge. You can grow and learn from every aspect of preparation and performance.

So, go back for a moment to the party image. For each person at the Bar Exam cocktail party, you have advice –good, solid, sound, and rationally reasoned answers to their questions.   In your mind are rules that help unravel how each of those stories can play out. If they might well go one way or another, say that with some lawyerly form of: “Defendant will argue; plaintiff will argue; and the likely conclusion will be….”

Read your exam questions, your “bar stories” carefully. Feel the incredible power that comes with knowing you can and will pick each fact pattern apart and put it back together in a logical way that answers the questions asked.

Take in and appreciate the positive feeling that comes from having this many rules at your command. It’s like being ready to run a marathon knowing that all your muscles are strong. The intellectual flab has melted away these past two months, through the long hours of mental work out.

There are few if any times in your life when you will have this many rules in this many subjects, memorized, at your fingertips, and ready to go. Enjoy this. Appreciate yourself and how hard you worked to get to this place.  In daily work as a lawyer, one may almost always look up information.   Here, all the rules you need are packed into your memory –in a usable place, ready to be called upon.

Appreciate how strong your wings are. When Day One of your bar exam approaches, push off despite the fears. Push off with as much confidence as can muster. You are ready.

And, if you cannot “study” any more, but cannot relax and are looking for something productive to do in the last hours before the marathon begins, read on….

A Walk through your bar days.

The famous race car driver Bobby Unser once said, “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet. Your “opportunity” comes when you walk into that exam room and stays with you until the last “time” is called. When you start your engines, be ready to succeed!

Notes to yourself for bar days

Alright, let’s say it’s Tuesday, Day #1 of your bar exam. What is your POA (plan of action) this morning? You have your timing down, you have your approaches and your systems for reading and answering the types of questions that will appear on this morning bar exam session. What do you want to remember before going in to your first segment of your exam: _______________________________________________



What will lunch look like? Who do you want to lunch with? What will you try to eat?



What about the afternoon session? What might appear here? What would you want to look at or listen to at lunch to get you pumped up for the afternoon?



What will you do this evening?



Tip: Have a tasty and healthy dinner. Do not experiment with foods that might make you ill. Do not drink excessively. And remember, no matter how you think you did, the first day is over. (I always think of the Cat Steven’s song, “Tuesday’s Dead,” on Tuesday evenings of the bar exam. Bar exams often start on Tuesdays.) It’s all about the future now. Do not look back. Do not second guess yourself or allow in any doubts. I have seen far too many students fail because of a perceived “defeat” early on that they carried into later session. Let go of whatever is done and do your very best on each and every minute of what follows, until the last time is called. Success on this exam is not about perfection. It’s a pass/ fail test. This is your Olympics; but in this competition, winning the bronze is every bit as good as gold.

Now Day #2. Wednesday, MBE day. What do you want to do this morning? Look over your one sheets for MBE subjects, do a few MBEs as warm ups over breakfast?_______________________________________________



Day #2 Lunch?



Afternoon? 100 more questions. It is OK to be exhausted but push on through these last laps. Write here what you will do to give yourself a boost if you find yourself dragging around 3pm.




CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!   YOU DID IT!!!  After the bar, maybe head to a bar, one that that serves drinks! Or go to a nice dinner? Or sleep? Or? What will you do to celebrate!


#barexam, #lawstudent, #lawschool,

Jimmy Cliff said it best

Below are Jimmy Cliff’s amazing lyrics, from his amazing song, “You can get it if you really want.” I sang this with students for years -before finals, before bar exams, before all of the great changes they faced. Consider singing it yourself!

You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
But you must try, try and try
Try and try, you’ll succeed at last

Look here

Persecution you must bear
Win or lose you’ve got to get your share
Got your mind set on a dream
You can get it, though harder they seem now

You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
But you must try, try and try
Try and try, you’ll succeed at last
I know it, listen

Rome was not built in a day
Opposition will come your way
But the hotter the battle you see
It’s the sweeter the victory, now

You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
But you must try, try and try
Try and try, you’ll succeed at last

You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
But you must try, try and try
Try and try, you’ll succeed at last

I know it
Don’t I show it?
So don’t give up now
But keep on trying

Missed MBE questions?

  • Read the call of the question first. Then read the facts. Then re-read the call.
  • Practice reading more slowly and carefully. 
  • Diagram the facts if it helps you to understand the questions.
  • Passively listening to outlines is not the best way to learn. Make sure your reviews of the law are active. And, know that you continue to learn the the law by practicing questions and studying explanatory answers.
  • Keep logs of missed questions to determine why you missed every question you missed.

More strategy tips in Bar Exam Success: A Comprehensive Guide

Bar Takers: Review the Rules from Your Jurisdiction

This is a good time to sit quietly and review all the logistical rules. For example, make sure you know answers to these top five questions –in addition to everything else you want to know:

-Where exactly the location is and how you will get there,

-Details about where you will be staying during the exam,

-What you may and what you may not bring in with you to the testing location,

-What you must have with you, and

-What food options there are at/near the location (especially if you have dietary restrictions.

#FebruaryBar, #BarExam, #PasstheBar, #BarSuccess

Tomorrow is Bar Month. Get Ready!!

For many, the Bar Exam scheduled for February 22–23, 2022 is an event they have been planning for, for years. When the words, “I’m taking the February 2022 bar exam” were uttered, it felt like that date was years in the future –a million miles away. But here it is, January 31 and February 2022 is tomorrow.

Expect tomorrow to be anxiety-producing, and then by February 2 (happy Groundhog Day) to be back on track, making the most of the remaining weeks. And, do not underestimate just how much you can and will learn this month, if you stick to your schedule and keep at it, giving 8-12 hours of daily focused study -including completing many practice tests and studying sample answers. And, every wrong answer before the actual exam is the opportunity to learn something or correct a mistake before the real deal!

So, Happy January 31!