Where To Find Free California Bar Exam Essays
If you are taking the California Bar Exam, it is well worth it to practice past essays and review the sample student answers the State Bar of California provides. Using real essays to practice will help tell you if you are on track and will reveal some of the common issues that the examiners like to test. In this post, we tell you why writing answers to California practice essays is important and where to find free California Bar Exam essays.
Where To Find Free California Bar Exam Essays
There are a few reasons why it is important to answer California practice essays:
- The more you practice, the more you will get used to the question format and style.
- You will become familiar with the types of fact patterns that frequently appear on the essays and the types of questions the examiners ask.
- In addition, you can evaluate your answer by comparing it to the sample student answers.
- You will become familiar with the highly tested issues that appear frequently (you can also purchase our California One-Sheets if you are looking for the highly tested issues in one place!)
Changes to the California Bar Exam
The California bar exam changed from a 3-day exam to a 2-day exam starting with the July 2017 administration. For the written portion, students now have to answer five one-hour essays under the new format. Previously, students had six one-hour essays. What does this mean as far as practice essays? Nothing! The format of the individual essays has not changed at all as a result of the changes to the California Bar Exam. So, essays that were administered prior to July 2017 are still a great resource for practicing. The structure of the individual essays remains the same! (Note that this is not true for the performance test portion, as it is now shorter than it was pre-July 2017).
Here are some sources for free California Bar Exam essays and sample student answers:
State Bar of California website
The State Bar of California has made the essays from the past 14 administrations of the bar exam available on their website. The State Bar of California has also provided two sample student answers to each essay question.
It is important to note that California has not released “model” answers, but has only provided examples of student answers. These student answers are not “model” answers, but rather examples of high-scoring answers. Student answers may not spot every single issue, and may not always state the rule correctly. However, these student answers are helpful because they provide a realistic example of what your answer can (and should!) look like. You can take tips from not only the substantive material that the student answers cover, but also the structure of the answers and the types of issues that students are expected to identify from a fact pattern!
Other websites, such as Jurax, have made older California bar exams available. California only provides questions from the past 14 administrations of the bar exam. So, when the February 2019 questions are released by the State Bar of California, they will most likely remove the February 2012 exam essays. Other websites have archived these older exams before the State Bar of California took them down.
Your Bar Review Course
Your bar review course should provide you with past California essay questions and sample answers for recent years. Some courses also invent their own questions – be cautious as these are not nearly as helpful as real questions!
If you are not sure if the essays are real or made up by your bar review course, check to see if there are any dates on the essays that would indicate that those essays were administered that year!
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