True to form, the February 2018 California Bar Exam was tricky and lengthy (even more so than the usual February exams)! We were not super surprised to see this, given the difficulty of the California bar exam generally.
Here are our general thoughts about what appeared on the February 2018 California Bar Exam.
Recap of the February 2018 California Bar Exam
February 2018 California Essays
This is the second time that the California Bar Exam consisted of five essays (previously examinees had to write six essays). It did not surprise us to hear that many students thought they saw crossover essays (more than one subjected tested in an essay). Even though examinees answer one less essay question than they did in the past, the Examiners have not changed the scope of the subjects tested on the exam.
The following subjects were tested:
Constitutional Law is one of the Examiners’ favorite subjects. Examinees reported that this administration’s essay required students to be well versed in the Free Exercise Clause, Establishment Clause, and the Due Process Clause. The last time some of these issues were tested was in 2014.
According to examinees, Contracts was tested in conjunction with Remedies, which traditionally has been a popular way to test Remedies. Students report that one of the main issues was contract rescission. In addition, this essay featured a crossover with Professional Responsibility. Students found it challenging because they said few facts were provided. Professional Responsibility is consistently tested on the California Bar Exam and is typically a tricky subject.
Criminal Law and Procedure
Examinees recalled that the Criminal Law and Procedure essay tested the Fourth Amendment, which required a thorough warrant analysis as well as a discussion of warrant exceptions, including exigent circumstances. Students also reported writing about the exclusionary rule and the independent source doctrine. In addition, this question tested the crime of attempted kidnapping. While some students noted that they were thrown off by this crime, it was important to keep in mind that a large part of the analysis here focused on the elements of attempt.
Many students were unsure of exactly how many subjects were in this crossover essay. According to a number of examinees, the issues centered on nuisance, trespass to land, trespass to chattels, the Takings Clause, and possibly easement by prescription. As we noted above, it is not surprising to see more crossover essays, but this was a tough question!
The Wills essay was fairly similar to previous Wills questions. It focused upon intestate succession, omitted versus pretermitted children, an omitted spouse, codicils, and the doctrine of dependent relative revocation.
February 2018 California Performance Test
The February 2018 California Performance Test (CPT) asked students to write an objective memorandum. Objective memos were heavily tested on the 3-hour CPT, so we were not surprised to learn that this task appeared on the exam. This was the second time that examinees tackled a 90-minute CPT. Students reported that the CPT required a discussion of standing, whether the transfer of property constituted a gift or whether it was governed by contract, and whether a gift was conditional or unconditional in nature. Examinees noted that the library consisted of three cases and very few facts were provided in the file.
If you feel unsure about what you wrote for any of the essays or the CPT you are not alone! Many students found the Professional Responsibility and Torts essays to be particularly challenging. Some students also reported in wondering whether they answered the Constitutional Law question correctly. Check out our post entitled “How will I feel after the bar exam?”. It is very likely that other examinees are feeling the same way as you.
We hope you found our recap of the February 2018 California Bar Exam helpful and we will provide an in-depth review of the February 2018 California bar exam later this year once the Examiners officially release the questions.
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