In most things in life, when you fail, you have a pretty good idea why. The California Bar Exam isn't one of them.

Your scores may tell you which part of the exam you need the most work on, but not what you need to change. Six weeks later, you can get your test back. Of the thousands of students I've taught and tutored, I don't know one who could accurately assess what he did wrong by looking at his test.

There are too many variables in why you failed The dilemma you face is there are so many variables in why you failed and precious little reliable information. Compounding the problem, you have to make a plan for the next bar exam before you can even get copies of your test.
Until you find out what you did wrong, you are driving without a map

But until you find out what you did wrong and make a plan to cure it, you are driving without a map. Just because it's difficult to find someone you trust to give you a diagnosis, doesn't mean it's impossible. It sure doesn't mean you should do what so many repeat-takers do: try to minimize the financial burden and downplay the importance of passing the Bar by studying on their own.

This is where I see the cycle of failure developing. Even when you know that it's the essays that need work, practicing writing essays may not solve the problem--if you aren't practicing the right thing. You can't know whether you are practicing the right thing on your own. There just are not model answers available that are guaranteed correct against which you can compare your issues, law and reasoning yourself. Even when you know your problem is not knowing enough law, you couldn't learn all the law there is to know is a lifetime; you need someone to focus you on the law most likely to be tested.

Your confidence is wanting right now Your confidence is wanting right now. Don't hide and try to pull this off on your own. You need to draw on someone else's energy and confidence. You need an expert to help you change what you need to change, learn what you need to learn and practice it to success.
Get the help you need

Vivian can help you:

The Writing Edge Bar Review Course

Performance Test Power



The Writing Edge Bar Review Course

Ten weeks intensive preparation for taking the essay and performance portions of the bar exam—65 percent of your score.

Vivian Dempsey is a former grader of the California Bar Exam, essays and performance tests and has been teaching The Writing Edge since 1985. Vivian teaches this course and personally grades and critiques 24 essays and 10 Performance Tests. Course comes with the specific focused law you need for the essay exam; 150 genuine California Bar essay questions and 15 genuine California Performance Tests, all with Vivian’s own analysis and answers.

Berkeley U.C. Berkeley, Boalt Hall, ten weeks, classes on Sundays
9-6 December 21-February 22

Videocourse 35 videos covering all classes. Vivian does all the same grading.
Access to Vivian for questions 12 hours per day by email, phone and fax.

Performance Test Power

Failing the performance tests is the most common reason for failing the bar, and it is the greatest weakness in the bar course you are taking. Talk to people who have take your bar course before. What do they say about the PT preparation? If you have already attended the PT lectures or have gotten PT exams graded by your course, ask yourself, do you understand the “method?” Do you feel confident? Now, for the first time. Vivian is offering her legendary Performance Test course for first time takers of the California Bar Exam. The is an essential adjunct for first timer takers who want to make the first time their last time taking the California Bar Exam.


U.C. Berkeley, Boalt Hall, Room TBA
Four Saturdays December 13, 20, 27 and January 3

Los Angeles:

Loyola Marymount University (LMU), Room 3266
Four Saturdays 9:30-5
January 17, 24, 31 and February 7
15 Performance Tests reviewed in classes.
Vivian grades and critiques 10 Performance Tests


Tutoring is part of every course. Additional tutoring for current or former students is available as Vivian’s time permits. E-mail Viv for more info

©1997-2013 Vivian Dempsey. Phone: 510-219-7795

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