California Bar Exam | Performance Test Tips

1.  PRACTICE. While studying the substantive law is crucial for the essays and MBE, preparing for the performance test is all about doing.  By the time test day rolls around, the doing—performing—of the performance test should feel like old hat to you.

2.  ANSWER THE QUESTION. Sticking very closely to the assigned task is half the battle on the PT.  Read the task memo as many times as you need to read it.  Patiently.  Then simply stick to what the memo has asked you to do, doing everything required and no more.

3.  ONE STEP AT A TIME. It’s interesting how widely the model answers can vary from one another; some model answers even contain inaccurate statements of law.  This variation demonstrates that doing the tasks like a competent and thoughtful professional and presenting your work product in the right package will serve you well, perhaps even more so that having the “right” answer.

4.  STAY COOL; DON’T FREAK OUT. Part of what the PT tests is your ability to handle uncertainty.  If you can simply carve out a reasonable response to uncertainty, you can pass.  While the other portions may select for mastery of the law, the PT selects for those who can master themselves.

5.  KEEP IT SIMPLE. The easiest way to adhere to all of the above rules is to adhere to this one.  Be very simple in your approach.  If you can’t see the big picture, do a good job on the parts that you can see.  If you don’t know what the whole thing should look like, simply do whatever step you do see needs to be done.


(Original publication date:  June 8, 2010 (LEX))