California Bar Exam Essay Frequency Chart
Are you looking for a comprehensive California bar exam essay frequency chart? Here’s our chart of the essay subjects tested on the California bar exam through the present date. The essay chart will show you which subjects tend to be frequently tested (e.g., Professional Responsibility!) and which ones are not tested as often (e.g., agency). You can also get an idea of which subjects are generally tested in conjunction with another subject (which you are more likely to see with the new test format as of July 2017).
Our chart provides a more accurate representation of when subjects were tested because we have separated Corporations, Agency, and Partnership; Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure; Contract Remedies and Tort Remedies; California Civil Procedure and Federal Civil Procedure; Trusts and Wills; and the California Evidence Code and the Federal Rules of Evidence.
California Bar Exam Essay Frequency Chart
Key Takeaways from the California Bar Exam Essay Frequency Chart:
1. Make sure you study Professional Responsibility.
Professional Responsibility has been tested more than 34 times since 2006 on the California essays. In addition to conflicts of interest, advertising and fee agreements, you may see questions in the corporations context as well as the criminal context (e.g., duties of prosecutor). Almost every single essay asks examinees to answer according to the ABA rules as well as the California distinctions. Therefore, it is worth it to study the most highly tested California distinctions. There may be times when the ABA rule and the California rule are the same. In those instances, you should tell the examiners that the outcome would be the same under both rules.
2. Be aware of common crossover questions.
If you are aware that certain subjects are always or generally tested with another subject you will be more likely to spot all of the issues on exam day. Never read a fact pattern assuming that only one subject will be tested. Based on the chart above, some common crossover essays include:
- Community Property/Wills
- Contracts/Contract Remedies
- Corporations/Professional Responsibility
Additionally, Agency usually is tested with another subject. Because students will write five essays instead of six essays beginning with the July 2017 administration, it is highly likely that you will see more crossover essays (even though you will write one less essay you still need to study all of the subjects). Our chart tells you exactly which essay questions to review if you are struggling with certain crossover essays.
Note: we had initially classified the February 2022 exam as a Real Property question (as it tested nuisance, which has always been classified as Real Property). However, this administration the Examiners decided to classify it as Torts (combined with Remedies). Thus, the updated chart is above!
3. Even though California Civil Procedure has only been tested once, you should study it!
The Examiners tested California Civil Procedure for the first time on the July 2016 exam (three of the four questions required knowledge of California Civil Procedure). Even though the fact pattern did not state that examinees should answer according to California law, it is important to note that the case took place in California. Now that California Civil Procedure has been tested once it is likely that it will be tested again. If you have not read through this essay and the student answers, take a look at the past exams on the State Bar of California’s website.
4. It is possible for essays to test a subject more than once!
Many examinees think if a subject has been tested on one essay it will not be tested again during the exam! This is not the case. If you look at the chart you will see that the following subjects have been tested twice on the same exam: Contracts, Professional Responsibility, Federal Civil Procedure, and recently, Real Property. This is important to know so that you do not quickly dismiss issues as you read the fact patterns on exam day.
5. Review highly tested California Evidence distinctions!
Since 2006, Evidence has been tested a total of 17 times. On about hald of those essays students were asked to respond according to the California Rules of Evidence and on about half of those essays students were asked to respond according to the Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE). Thus, both the FRE and the California Evidence Code are commonly tested. It would be a mistake to assume that you do not really need to study the California evidence distinctions.
This post was written by Ambika, our California Bar Exam tutor, who has passed not only the California Bar Exam but also bar exams in New York and New Jersey!
If you are looking for a new approach, please feel free to contact us at your convenience.
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