Jennifer Gottschalk – Class of 2016 – Focus and Study Consistently

Published on: Author: Bar Passage Support
To be completely honest, I’m not sure there is anything I did in law school that I can pin-point and say for sure helped me pass the CA bar.  However, there are two things that I believe helped: (1) Taking classes I wanted 2L year and Bar classes 3L year; and (2) Moot Court.  A lot of people take bar classes 2L year, but I wanted those bar courses fresh in my mind.  I cannot say enough good things about Moot Court; it was a tremendous help in preparing for the essays and in particular for the performance tests.
I packed up all of my belongings the week before graduation, left the day after, and took one week off driving north to Alaska with my husband.  So, I did all of my bar prep in Alaska.  I think for me it was really good to be away and study day after day in an empty house with no people or social events to distract me.  It also didn’t hurt that the sun doesn’t set in Alaska during the summer, so while I am not a night owl AT ALL, I barely noticed when it got late each day.  I also highly recommend having a few people that you can call or text throughout the summer that are going through bar prep with you.  I had two main people that I called and texted: my best friend from law school who was doing a different program than me, and one of the smartest people I met while in law school, who was also a fellow Mooter, that was doing the same program as me.
Despite the three years in law school gearing up to bar prep, I felt totally duped part way through the summer.  People told me “Treat it like a 9 to 5,” or “Just study hard and you’ll be fine.”  I’m here to tell you, it takes way more than that, or at the very least it did for me and I vowed to give all future Hastings grads I know a realistic expectation of bar prep.  I studied every single day from May 22nd until two days before the exam beginning every day between 6 and 8am and never stopping before 10pm and often times staying up until midnight or later.  You should know that I was never once “caught up” on my program even with keeping those kinds of hours.  I completed over 75% of the program by the end, but I felt like I was drowning the whole time.  Additionally, don’t freak out about practice scores.  I did not once average “passing” scores prior to taking the exam, but I was definitely close by the end.  I’m not trying to freak any of you out, but I am trying to be real and I am trying to tell you that you can feel the way I did and get the scores I got and STILL PASS THE BAR!  Feel free to email me at if you have questions, need advice, etc. Good luck!