By Janet Wallace • July 06, 2011•Features, Advice on Passing the Bar Exam
A confession: on the first essay on the first day of the California Bar Exam, I spent 20 minutes writing on the completely wrong area of law. As in: the question was, quite clearly, about torts, and I was writing a criminal law essay.
A confession: on the last performance test on the last day of the California Bar Exam, I had no idea what one of the five questions was even asking of me. As in: when I got to the question, I was baffled. What was the question even getting at?
My Bar experience was bookended by two terrible moments. And those two terrible moments haunted me for months. I'm sure I got plenty wrong on the Bar Exam, but those two things I knew, for a fact, that I had really screwed up.
But here are two things I didn't know: I wasn't alone and I had passed anyway. Sure enough, in discussing the exam after the fact (not that I recommend this, by the way), plenty of people had written a portion (or all!) of that first essay on criminal law (it was tricky). And were people confused by the same question that had puzzled me? Yep! But, hey, we all passed anyway.
Two quick tips based on my experience:
1. Read the essay prompt carefully. The facts may scream criminal law, but the prompt may only want you to discuss torts.
2. Fake It to Make It. Have no idea what the question is asking? Fake it, in as lawyerly a manner as possible.
Best of luck!