#barpreplife: The Bar Exam is Over

GUEST BLOG by Gianna Venticinque,
Graduate of Northern Illinois College of Law

I’M DONE. Really, I’m done.

The bar exam is officially over. I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about anything in my life. It was brutal. As expected, a complete mental beatdown. I had to be at 100% for two days straight. But I finished. I didn’t leave a single question blank. I just really hope I picked the “more correct” multiple choice answer.

So, what do I do now? I woke up this morning without an alarm… weird. I didn’t have dreams about the MEE questions last night. I didn’t immediately panic and make a list of all of the things I have to do today. This coming week is going to be my reintegration into society. I plan on doing a whole lot of nothing. I want to see all of my friends who I’ve neglected (I’M SORRY!). I want to hang out with my dog and see my family for more than an hour at a time. I want to actually enjoy a meal and not have to eat it at record speed.

What I’m NOT going to do: panic about results. It’s not worth the time or energy trying to try to deduce whether or not I passed. I know I did my best, we all did. Fingers crossed that it’s enough to get through this time. If not, see ya in July! For real though, I feel like I’m a better person for not giving up – even though I might have wanted to on a daily basis.

On another note, BARBRI deserves a standing ovation. The minute I opened up the MEE and looked through the questions I knew I had at least something intelligent to write for every single one. Was it enough? We’ll find out. But all I know is that without taking BARBRI, I wouldn’t have known or been able to recall any of that. As much as I dreaded watching the lectures every morning, they paid off. The tiny things each professor stressed came back to me during the MBE and I could usually narrow it down to a 50/50 chance that way. The mini-review was actually what solidified a lot of what I was able to remember mid-exam. When I watched the hour-ish long lectures, I took notes… and 9 out of 10 times the things I took notes on were at least a part of one of the questions.

Plain and simple – I could have just skipped law school because Barbri taught me everything I needed to know.

Enjoy the month of March, we earned it.

Be proud of yourself, it’s over!!!  🙂


Tom Stenson,
BARBRI Northeast Regional Vice President



The Vermont Supreme Court recently signed an order promulgating amendments to the Rules of Admission to the Bar. Most important among them, Vermont will administer the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) beginning in July 2016.

The UBE is a two-day exam that consists of the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), the Multistate Essay Exam, (MEE) and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT).

See the new Rules of Admission to the Bar of the Vermont Supreme Court.

  • The new rules go into effect on April 18, 2016.
  • Once the new rules go into effect, applicants will be eligible to apply for admission via transferred UBE score.
  • Applicants for admission by examination should note that the new rules abrogate what was known as “the clerkship.” It has been replaced by a rule that requires Continuing Legal Education and Experiential Requirements.
  • The Office of the State Court Administrator and the Board of Bar Examiners are working to develop forms associated with the UBE, as well as a new fee schedule. The forms and fee schedule will be published as soon as they are ready.


It’s important to know that no matter what changes are made to the exam, BARBRI is here to help you #OwnTheBar. We’re the only bar review course that has prepared students for every single administration of the Multistate Bar Exam, the Multistate Performance Test and the Multistate Essay Exam. We were here when the UBE was first offered, and we’ll be here for you now that Vermont has adopted the UBE.

As the July 2016 Vermont bar exam draws nearer, we’ll provide you with more information as it becomes available.


Gary Masellis
BARBRI Western Regional Vice President

The Committee of Bar Examiners of The State Bar of California recently announced that beginning with the July 2017 administration of the California Bar Exam, both the format and grading will change.


The California Bar Examination currently consists of the General Bar Examination and the Attorneys’ Examination. The General Bar Examination is a three-day exam administered during the last week of February and July that includes a Wednesday. It consists of six one-hour essay questions, two three-hour performance tests (PT), and the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE). Applicants who apply for and are admitted to the Attorneys’ Examination take the six essay questions and two performance tests from the General Bar Examination. They are not permitted to take the MBE. A minimum scaled score of 1440 is necessary to pass the California Bar Examination.

Beginning with the July 2017 administration of the California Bar Examination, the General Bar Examination and Attorneys’ Examination will change as follows:


The General Bar Examination will be given over two days with the following components:

  • One morning session consisting of three one-hour essay questions
  • One afternoon session during which two one-hour essay questions
    and one 90-minute performance test will be given
  • One morning and afternoon session each three-hours in length
    during which 100 multiple-choice questions (the MBE) will be give


The Attorneys’ Examination will be given over one day with the following components:

  • One morning session consisting of three one-hour essay questions
  • One afternoon session during which two one-hour essay questions
    and one 90-minute performance test will be given


The exact dates for administration of the July 2017 California Bar Examination will be announced no later than one year prior to the exam. During the grading of the exam, the written and MBE portions will be weighted equally at 50% each.  To pass the California Bar Examination, applicants will still need a minimum scaled score of 1440. The scope of subjects tested will also remain the same. Additional information can be found at: http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/4/documents/gbx/BXScope_R.pdf.

For additional information regarding the decision to change the California Bar Examination, please refer to: Information Regarding Modification to California Bar Examination Effective July 2017.

#The1Llife: Take Stock

GUEST BLOG by Dani Gies,
1L at UCLA School of Law

CHECK IT OUT (Shout Out to the Beastie Boys)

It might be hard to believe, but many of us have been in school for about one month now. This is a good time to take stock of your progress. It’s not too late to get back into helpful habits. 1L spring is the last hurdle to jump before summer work, so I’ve been comparing how I’m doing this semester to last semester. Does this semester feel different from last semester? If so, is it easier or harder? Is it more manageable or less? To help you gauge some factors that might affect your answers, consider these questions:

  • Are you getting more or less sleep? Are you feeling rested?
  • Are you eating healthier or less healthy?
  • Have you set a schedule? Are you sticking to it?
  • What do you do away from law school? What purpose does it serve for you?
  • Have you set a schedule for reviewing and/or outlining weekly?
  • Are you studying and/or reviewing with alone with others?
  • Are you focused when you’re studying?
  • Are you focused during class?
  • Are your notes helpful when you review them?

If any of these answers are not what you’d like them to be, NOW is the time to change them before they get too solidified as bad habits! BARBRI’s 1L Success Course has really good pointers on what to focus on and what kind of schedule can be helpful, but 2Ls, 3Ls, and #lawtwitter are also good resources! Feel free to pose your questions and/or advice on Twitter and I’ll retweet them!

#barpreplife: The Calm Before The Storm

GUEST BLOG by Gianna Venticinque,
Graduate of Northern Illinois College of Law

We’re finally in the home stretch – when you read this we’ll have 10 MORE DAYS.

Keep_calm_and_use_the_force_by_canha-d5obofpI feel like I’m calmer than I should be and I don’t know why. I’ve started to condense all of the outlines into smaller, more manageable ‘lists’ that I can actually memorize. A few of my favorite pens went to the pen graveyard this week and it almost made me cry (bar emotion problems). And I feel like this weekend is going to be full of pacing back and forth and talking to myself. Rules. Elements. Rules. Elements. #learnallthelaws. I know this is a stressful time and the nerves are probably kicking in (if they haven’t already). Here’s some helpful tips I’ve found over the last few weeks that have helped to keep the panic in check:

  1. This goes without saying. Your brain can’t work if you don’t sleep. You won’t be retaining any of the information you’re reading and it’ll end up being a giant a waste of time – that you can’t afford to waste at this point.
  2. But… get up early. I love sleep and I love my bed. The next 10 days are not the time to keep that love affair going. Break up with your bed and get up at the time you’ll have to during the bar. If you haven’t already heard this, it’ll help you avoid oversleeping the day of the bar.
  3. Eat well. This also goes without saying. You can’t feed your body McDonald’s every day and expect to feel like a million bucks afterward. Be prepared and if you go outside of your house (cave) to study, bring healthier foods with you. PB&J’s are my go-to.
  4. Socialize: I’m the first to admit I’m miserable when I’m alone all day, every day and I’m betting some of you are too. I found that getting together with a friend to study or even going to the library and seeing some old classmates really helps. Make it a point to talk to someone, face-to-face, at least once a day about something other than bar prep.
  5. Get ready. I found that when I stick to my same old morning routine that I used pre-bar prep, I’m 100 times more productive. This means that I put on real clothes (not just sweatshirts) and try to look like a human being every day.
  6. Think positive. Imagine the worst thing that could happen at this point – failing. And now imagine yourself NOT failing. A positive mind is much more likely to produce a positive outcome than a negative mind ever will. Oh, and if you have to cry, cry. You’ll feel better once you get all of it out. #positivevibes

Believe in yourself, you know more than you think you do.
Happy studies,


#The3Llife: Gratitude

GUEST BLOG by Harrison Thorne,
3L at UCLA Law

I’ve written about gratitude before, but it bears repeating.


Gratitude—saying thank you or expressing appreciation towards another person—brings joy into that person’s life, as well as your own.

An increasing number of psychiatrists and researchers are taking note of gratitude. I recently listened to an audiobook by Shawn Achor, a Harvard professor and researcher. In it, he mentions that gratitude is helpful because it rewires your brain to think of the positive instead of the negative.

I am a negative person by default. And I suspect most people are. We are constantly inundated with news about horrific events, corruption, and scandals. We hear about hardships. We learn, over and over again, that evil beats good. When our external input is so constantly negative, something happens. Law students are especially prone to this.  We see the worst aspects of life for the most part. We read about murderers, rapists, and arsonists. We study torts. Our profession isn’t always sunny and positive.

As a result, law students and lawyers are especially susceptible to depression and negativity. To combat that, research suggests that the simple act of writing down three things every day that you are grateful for will literally rewire your brain and change how you think. We are all busy. But we can all spare one minute to write down three things. The caveat is you cannot repeat the same thing at all.  You must pick something new every time to add to the list.

The research suggests that after doing this for a few weeks, our brain is increasingly used to searching through events in our life and finding the good. As a result, we might choose to look at the positive aspects of an event we might typically think is bad. Or we might choose to not watch the news, when we know we will only be exposed to negativity.

No matter what happens, expressing gratitude is an amazing act. I try to send a nice email, or say thank you, or recognize someone’s hard work as frequently as possible—and without being weird about it!  And the result is that I’m slowly but surely becoming a much more positive, cheery person.

#The1Llife: Pressing On After A Loss

GUEST BLOG by Dani Gies,
1L at UCLA School of Law

This post is going to be of a different tone than my previous ones.

Fotolia_99579860_Subscription_Monthly_MLast Thursday, I lost my great uncle to lymphoma. He was more like my uncle and second dad to my mom though. He was a brilliant, compassionate, selfless, encouraging, loving man who impacted thousands of lives over his lifetime of service to students, marginalized peoples, and his family. He served a long term at UCLA, and I feel his spirit constantly.

I have been depressed for a while now, and his passing really dropped me to a low. I was definitely not myself when a classmate approached me and asked me to record classes for her this week because she was headed home for a funeral. She lost her grandfather three days before I lost my tío. Two weeks before that, another close friend flew home for his grandfather’s funeral. And one month before that, the morning of her Torts exam, my close friend lost her grandfather.

It is very difficult for me, and my classmates, to deal with loss like this during law school, particularly during 1L. 

I’ve lost most of my motivation. What is the point of reading the Constitution when it seems we are at the age where every moment could be a loved ones’ last, and time spent in the library could be spent with family? People who wanted us to succeed, to pursue our goals, are now gone. How do we continue to press on? How do we take our already-stressed out, reclusive, exhausted selves and make them yearn for school while our families carry on and we barely have time to grieve?

To be honest, I don’t really know. The cloud of sadness that has been casting its shadow over me persists. I still begin to cry after periods of high stress when my adrenaline fades and I have a few moments to ponder. But today it was easier for me to ponder the positive. Everyone who has learned about my tío’s passing has been kinder than I could have imagined, including especially one of my teachers. I have found in this sadness that I have made friends who deeply care about my health and wellbeing. My law school community has been generous and gentle, two words not oft associated with law schools. My dance crew, although a recent acquaintance, has consoled me with hug after hug and much encouragement.

I write this post in the event that you too are experiencing loss or another hardship that has derailed you. 

I’m not quite back on track yet, but I’ll get there. For the moment, I will continue to try to focus on the amazing blessings coming my way in the form of caring friends and their words and actions. I wish for you that you too recognize the light in your life and that your law school community supports you and picks you up when you fall. If you’d like to talk about anything, please DM me on Twitter @The1Llife.

Wishing you peace,