So you're going to take the California bar exam. That means you are going to be getting really familiar with "bar exam law." That is, all the subjects the bar examiners might test you on. Specifically (*denotes MBE subject):
Business Associations (aka Corporations) Agency & Partnership [considered to be part of Business Associations] Civil Procedure* CA Civil Procedure Community Property Constitutional Law* Contracts* (including UCC Articles 1 and 2, and Article 9 concerning fixtures) Criminal Law* Criminal Procedure* Evidence* CA Evidence Real Property* Remedies Torts* Wills and Succession Trusts Professional Responsibility (including the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility, the CA Rules of Professional Conduct, and relevant sections of the California Business and Professions Code)
Although this list may appear to be overwhelming, don’t panic! When you begin your substantive review of the law, you will find that you already have a good head start. Depending on the coursework you took in law school, some of the law will be a quick review. Other bar subjects, however, may be completely new to you. This is a very common situation to be in since few people take every bar subject in law school. If you are using a traditional bar prep course or a tutor, they will likely provide you with the substantive material and a schedule for review.
However, if you've read my book, Fck The Bar, or are taking my program, you know that I advocate an unorthodox strategy for learning the substantive law... ...don't. Okay, well, I don't really mean don't learn the law and walk into the bar exam unprepared. I just mean, don't sit down to learn the substantive law in a traditional fashion by spending hours reading outlines or listening to lectures, etc. (Yes, there will be times when you need to supplement your study by learning the black letter law, in which case I advocate doing this.)
If you do it the traditional way, you're going to waste a hell of a lot of time. The bar exam does NOT test all topics/issues equally. Pareto's principle is at play here in a very strong way. If you read an outline, you will spend EQUAL amounts of time on UNEQUALLY tested material. #timewaster
Plus, what you learn and have stored inside your brain is meaningless. The only thing that matters is converting that knowledge into points on the bar exam. That. is. it. Reading outlines and listening to lectures will give you a false sense of preparedness and you will be fooling yourself.
You really need to practice taking the exam. There's SO MUCH to say about how important taking practice tests is that I wrote a book about it.
For the purposes of this article, let me just say in an uber truncated fashion - taking practice tests will: 1. Show you what material is tested repeatedly & therefore important to know. 2. Teach you the law as you work with the material in a practical fashion rather than learning about it in a vacuum. 3. Ingrain the information into your brain when you struggle through the material in a testing format. 4. Jack up your confidence in taking the exam because you will have already put yourself through your paces. 5. Force you to confront your tendency to procrastinate to avoid the "hard" work. 6. Get you better at understanding/deconstructing the bar exam and knowing how you should present your answers.
The list goes on.
As you PRACTICE, your brain will become so intimately involved with the substantive material that actually matters and actually gets tested on, that you will find you have learned the material magically - almost by osmosis. It's only when you've been practicing for a while and still don't have a grasp of the material that you will want to go do a "traditional" substantive review (of ONLY the parts you're getting hung up on). This should be done no earlier than 1/2 way through bar prep. 1/3 is a much better point at which to assess your progress. And believe me, if you have been practicing, you will know exactly what material to review because you'll know what issues/topics get tested which you can't answer fully. That's the only material necessary for review.