At this point I have been tutoring for over 9 years for the Florida Bar Exam as well as UBE exam.
This is what I do for a living, it is exclusively what I do as a profession and enjoy it very much!
As a result, over the years I have been able to gather my own data from my pool of students every year and also from the many prospective students that call me for a free consultation each season.
When a student calls me to see if I can help them, oftentimes I will quickly review their previously (failed) essays with them on the call.
Otherwise, when I work one-on-one with a student, we will go over in detail what they could have done differently with the essay portion of the exam by reviewing their previously (failed) essays.
These are the top 3 mistakes I see time and time again as to why students fail the essay portion of the bar exam.
#3 – ETHICS
Students tend to forget about how important ethics and do not study for it as well as they do for the other subjects.
Well, would it surprise you if I told you that it is the most frequently tested subject on the essay portion of the Florida Bar Exam?
It is tested *almost* every single session!
Why would anyone ignore it?
The common answer is that it is “easy” and that you could easily spot the issues on an essay and write about it.
Okay, that is arguably true.
However, here’s the thing – students DO NOT actually write about it on the day of the exam!
On the day of the real exam, students often skip it entirely or simply gloss over it in one or two sentences.
Students will often state that it is because they run out of time or they did not think it was that important.
Au contraire, mon frère!
It is EXTREMELY important and I consider them EASY points that you are simply leaving on the table.
Don’t worry my friends, because my online course addresses ETHICS and so does the database!
Never again will you make this costly mistake!
#2 – DAMAGES
The next mistake students often make is FORGETTING to talk about damages when relevant!
I also consider these EASY points that you are simply leaving on the table simply because you may not have thought that it was important.
The same reasons are given by students time and again: running out of time, not thinking that it is important enough, or that it does not garner many points.
My advice is that damages does not take very long to discuss so definitely discuss it when relevant.
This is often linked to “what is the likely outcome” part of the question as well. Sound familiar?
Damages are also easy to remember if you have a checklist!
Not to worry because the MOLM online course drills damages into your memory bank and you will never make that mistake again!
#1 – NOT ANSWERING THE QUESTION
Believe it or not, this is BY FAR the most common mistake I see time and time again.
If the question says, “address the criminal issues” – that actually means to stick to the criminal issues!
It does not mean to write in several paragraphs of what civil actions could also be included.
The examiners are not trying to “trick” you – they are very straight forward with their questions.
Let’s do another scenario.
Let’s say the question asks you to list causes of action (civil matter), likely outcome and defenses, then that is exactly how you would initially organize your essay so that you ENSURE that you actually remember to talk about those items.
For example, if you forget to talk about DEFENSES (which is in our hypothetical question above), then you have hurt your chances of passing that essay because you have not addressed the entire call of the question.
See how sneaky that can be?
Because one could easily run out of time and forget to talk about the likely outcome, or the defenses, right?
This is why organization is KEY when writing your essay and you need to learn how to do it in timed conditions.