Adapting To The September 2020 California Bar Exam
The California Bar Exam has been postponed to September 9th and 10th, 2020. This will result in a delay from the test’s normal administration at the end of July. This allows graduates and other exam-takers to have more time to prepare for the exam. So how should you use it?
These dates mean a relatively short six- or seven-week delay for law students, allowing them to study over the summer. These dates also allow test-takers to take the test before starting their jobs in the fall. In 2019, 7,664 took the California Bar Exam, of which 4,938 (63.6%) were first-time applicants.
First and foremost, applicants should take a thoughtful, and extensive consideration of how they will organize this significant extra time. Whatever the final plan, it should not involve postponing the beginning of exam preparation because of the additional window of time. Applicants should not even consider taking a six- or seven-week vacation. However, it would not be a terrible idea to take four or five days off at the halfway point and completely refresh.
The postponement presents a tremendous opportunity as it “gifts” applicants additional time to prepare for the Bar Exam. It may be at this moment just an inconvenient delay, but over time, and in the long-term, any student will consider this to have been a true gift of substantial study time.
One approach is to prepare for the test as if it is still occurring at the end of July. The study schedule of any bar preparation course would lead up to a July test. At the time the test would be taken normally, taking a complete practice test, and obtaining some idea of actual test performance would be valuable. This would also indicate where any applicant has learning gaps and other areas that require improvement.
If students still prepare for the Bar exam as if it were in July, the entire month of August may be sued as a final review period to focus on improving test-taking weaknesses and solidifying test-taking strengths. Each additional week could also be utilized to focus on a problem subject, sub-topic, or test-taking skill.
The opportunity to take practice tests, both essay and multiple-choice, regularly over these additional weeks is of enormous value to exam preparation. Often, in the period between graduation and the bar exam, taking as many practice tests as desired, or even necessary, is challenging because of time constraints, especially taking practice tests under simulated test conditions.
It is not common for an event such as the California Bar Exam to be postponed over three months before it is scheduled to take place. While the effects of the pandemic are unsettling on everyone, law school graduates and other exam applicants should be somewhat overjoyed to have this additional time to study. Use it wisely! Good luck!
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