How to Overcome the Baby Bar Exam

By November 1, 2022 February 26th, 2023 3 Comments
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CA Baby Bar - FYLSEThe First-Year Law Students’ Examination (FYLSE), more commonly known as the Baby Bar, is taken by law students who have completed their first year of study at an unaccredited California law school and those in a few other situations. You may be wondering, how hard is the baby bar exam?

Renowned for its high difficulty and low passage rates, the Baby Bar is a one-day, seven-hour exam made up of four essays and 100 multiple-choice questions in Contracts, Criminal Law, and Torts. Examinees need to score 560 out of 800, or approximately 70%, to pass. First-year students must pass the Baby Bar within three attempts in order to receive full credit for their law school studies.

If you are one of these students who anticipate taking the Baby Bar, it’s important to prepare for other bar-related challenges you may face to further increase your chances of passing. Use these tips, compiled by AdaptiBar, to overcome them and maximize your studying.

Challenge #1: Knowing What to Study
You may know that you will be tested on Contracts, Criminal Law, and Torts. But with so much information to study on each subject, it can be difficult to determine exactly which concepts the State Bar of California Committee of Bar Examiners will deem important enough to test you on.

Solution: Focus on the general premises of legal theories and principles related to Contracts, Criminal Law, and Torts rather than memorizing every minute detail about California law. As you study, look back at the notes you took during your first-year classes. Chances are, if you or your professor made note of any topic or definition as being more important than others, the State Bar will, too.

Challenge #2: Managing Your Time During the Exam
You have 3 hours to complete the multiple-choice section of the Baby Bar and 4 hours to complete the essay portion, giving you 1.8 minutes to answer each multiple-choice question and 1 hour per essay. Pacing yourself on the Baby Bar relies heavily on internal timing, so it’s imperative to perfect it now as an integrated part of your prep.

Solution: Have you ever heard that practice makes perfect? It’s true. Refining internal timing takes discipline, which is why it is one of the most difficult aspects of taking the Baby Bar. To improve your self-timing, practice taking multiple-choice questions and essays in one of two ways:

  1. Keep a timer or clock by you and glance at it every time you start and finish a question or essay. If you take too long on a question, try to work faster next time, and vice versa.
  2. Use AdaptiBar Baby Bar Simulator, which automatically tracks how long it takes for you to answer practice questions and determines your sweet spot. This study method will almost effortlessly help you perfect your internal timing.

Challenge #3: Making Time to Study
After so much studying, test-taking, and writing during your first year of law school, it’s likely that the last thing you feel like doing is studying more for the Baby Bar. Of course, as each day is another day closer to the exam, you may want to start reevaluating how you are spending your time. But how do you balance fun with studying? Or, is one more important than the other?

Solution: Treat the Baby Bar as if you were graduating from law school and about to take the general bar exam. How much time would you spend studying each day? How much effort would you put into your preparation? Because everyone learns information at different rates, there is no “right” amount of time to spend studying each day. However, it is highly suggested that studying consistently remains your top priority. To avoid future scheduling conflicts, explain the importance of studying for the Baby Bar to family and friends and try not to plan ahead for any upcoming events or appointments. Yes, it’s okay to spend a few hours on the couch and go out every once in a while. In fact, it’s important to give your brain and body time to rest. Just be sure that downtime doesn’t overtake study time and that the Baby Bar stays your primary focus.

Challenge #4: Staying Motivated
I’ll do it tomorrow. Perhaps you have found yourself putting off studying for a while now. You may just be having trouble getting motivated overall.

Solution: First and foremost, remind yourself of your future goals. Where do you see yourself once you graduate from law school? How important is having a law career to you? No matter how you answered these questions, remember that taking the Baby Bar is an essential component to getting your degree, and thus one step closer to making your dreams a reality.

Once you have done this, choose a quiet and clean environment to study in. Remove all distractions and electronics, including your cell phone, from your designated study area. Think of what you would like to accomplish today. Is there a specific section of Criminal Law that you would like to review or a new concept in Torts you need to read about? Set concrete study goals that you’d like to accomplish during your time.

Challenge #5: Applying the Material
So you’ve memorized law concepts and definitions, but can you apply them to a real-life situation? Many people who did not pass the Baby Bar the first time did not lack knowledge. They lacked the ability to apply their knowledge to real situations. Learn how to properly apply your study material as practice for the upcoming exam.

Solution: After you fully memorize and understand a new law concept or definition, think of a real-life example or situation that relates to it. For example, what is a common example of negligence? Have you seen or read about any cases related to an inchoate crime recently? Write out your examples. This technique will help you memorize concepts more efficiently and give you a practical application so that you are not just memorizing information, but actively learning it.

Nobody said that studying would be easy, but it will be worth it. Hard work reaps positive results, so stick to these tips and AdaptiBar guarantees that you will be one step closer to passing the Baby Bar.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • I really want to pass this exam!

    I am prepared to do what it takes! I have set aside the following study plan:
    March – Tort law review, study, MBE, and write essays
    April – Contract Law review, study, MBE , and write essays
    May – Criminal Law review, study, MBE , and write essays
    June – Boot Camp – Tort, Contract and Criminal law review (blitz), study, MBE , and write essays

  • Benjamin Arthur says:

    How do you help students get better grades?

    • Hi Benjamin,

      We are a bar preparation program that helps students prepare for the MBE portion of the California Baby Bar exam and the MBE portion of the full bar exam after graduating law school. We offer a database of licensed MBE questions that have been on the actual bar exam to help you review the materials that will be tested on the Baby Bar and on the MBE for the full bar exam.

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