December2, 2017
by Bar Winners

The question that every attorney taking the California bar asks BarWinners, “Is the new 1-day attorney exam format, easier to pass? In my opinion, no, it’s not easier now to pass the California Bar Exam with the new format. In fact, we believe it could actually be harder. With one less Performance Test, one less essay question, and a shorter, performance exam, there is less possibility of a point spread to make up for a weak essay or performance test. For more information on the new attorney exam format, please visit

The California Bar Exam is one of the most difficult in the country. The California Bar Exam has lots of specialized areas of law, like California Evidence, California Rules of Professional Responsibility and California Civil Procedure. The best way to learn these “new,” California-specific subjects is to use bar review materials that organizes the materials first by the Federal Rules (also tested) and then how the California rule differs or modifies it. Some bar review course materials only give you the Federal Rules and then have you look up the California rules. This can take away valuable studying and memorization time.

Unlike the first time an attorney took the bar in their home state, likely as freshly-graduated law school students who had just finished taking classes like Constitutional Law and Real Property, attorneys now sitting for the California Bar Exam are juggling many more responsibilities while studying for the Attorney’s Exam California. For others, family, children, work related travel, and full-time employment are factors that will take away time that attorneys were once able to dedicate to studying for the bar full-time.

You cannot “go it alone” or do what worked for you as a novice first time bar taker fresh out of law school. You need seasoned, California bar exam expert help, materials, technique, structure and format to satisfy California Bar graders. Attorney Bar Exam takers do not have the time to “search for the answer.” That’s our job. BarWinners teaches you how to tackle the exam in the most efficient manner possible so you don’t waste time and energy.

Instead of spending time learning substantive law, which is important for first-time takers, attorney bar takers should focus on developing a broader understanding of core subjects and have a writing approach and template in place, that will make for strong essay content for every California Bar Exam essay tested subject. It is important to get clear direction and  “boiled-down content” from your bar review course that can be applied directly to a bar exam essay.  The more pre-written content you can learn, the easier it will be to give the California Bar Examiners what they are looking for, and to garner the points you need to pass.  This will also help you with effective time strategy given your time limitations and work commitments.

California Attorney Exam takers need to spend their time on what gets the most points on the exam. Studying from pre-written Approaches and Bar Exam templates is a smart, timesaving idea. Out-of-State California Bar takers simply will not have the time to memorize and plow through thousands of pages of bar review tomes of information. Barwinners has cut the information down into manageable, easier to memorize Approaches and templates, does a lot of the work for the attorney applicant. Barwinners provides a clear, substantive approach for the 14 tested essay subjects on the California Bar Exam, helping attorney applicants focus on what to study, how to study, and how to make the best use of limited study time. Also, Barwinners provides full Performance Test Workshops with both essay and performance test simulated exams with quality feedback, essential for passing the California Bar Exam. “Practice does make perfect.”

Many experienced attorneys taking the California Bar exam find it difficult to adapt to the style of writing needed for these essays, as many attorneys leave out points that seem obvious to recent law school graduates.The attorneys that grade the California Bar Exam are typically only paid around $3.75 an essay, which leaves less than two minutes for the grader to skim an essay for content and assign a grade.

For attorneys, just “getting to the point” may work in practice, the California Bar Exam graders want to see progressive analyses…and not doing so could leave points “on the table” and lower an applicant’s chances of passing.

In terms of studying, the sooner an applicant starts, the better. Early Smart Start Program. This helps working professionals who cannot dedicate days at a time to study, but by fitting in an hour or two several times a week, or on the weekends, over a longer period of time, attorneys are still able to successfully master the material.

Finally, on the Performance Test, many attorneys do well on this portion of the exam given their excellent writing skills and years of experience interpreting statutes and cases. However, the pitfall practicing attorneys face is that on the bar exam, unlike in a law firm, there is no time for edits and revisions or for fixing imperfections. Also, many practicing attorneys leave points on the table because they don’t feel the argument would prevail in front of a judge or is too elementary to write about. Remember, the California Bar Exam is an exam where law students are asked to “pretend” they are attorneys not for attorneys actually writing like practicing lawyers. Further, in the new California Bar Exam format, the Performance Test has been cut from two 3-hour Performance Exams, to one, 1.5 hour Performance Exam worth a lot less overall points. Thus, the section that attorney applicants could count on to score well, is worth less overall points, making the essays even more important for passing the CA bar exam. Therefore, it’s important to pick a bar review course that understands the nuances and special needs of attorney applicants taking the California Bar Exam.

While it might seem like a daunting task to take bar exam, it is not an impossible one. Attorneys taking the California Bar Exam can set themselves up for success by first, starting to study early, and second, finding a program that understands the needs and time constraints of a working professional.

If you have any questions about the California Attorney’s Exam, please feel free to e-mail: or phone, 310.451.0519. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you pass the California Attorney’s Exam.

Keywords: CA Attorney’s Exam, California Attorney’s Exam, out-of-state attorneys exam, passing the California attorney’s exam, Performance Test California, essays California, best bar review California Attorney’s Exam.


Professor Shari Karney, Esq. has been a prominent force in the world of legal education and California Bar Review for the past 20 years. Whether you’re an attorney taking the California Bar Exam, a repeat bar exam takers, or you are taking the California Bar Exam for the first time, BarWinners California Bar Review is here to help. She is the Owner and Creator of BarWinners and the author of The Approach Book, “Bar Bible”.  She also blogs about getting the California bar results you need. Visit BarWinners at Visit the Barwinners page on Facebook, and the BarWinners page on Google+ or email Shari via



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