July 2013 Bar Exam Essay Predictions

If you have read past postings, you will know that I believe it is not wise to base your studies on essay predictions. Instead, you should prepare for all subjects equally. However, this does not mean that it isn’t a good idea to know what has been tested in recent examinations or to develop a sense of which topics or combinations of topics might be likely scenarios on the upcoming exam. This just makes sense. You should know the test you are about to take extremely well.

Each bar round our students take a three-day, simulated bar exam. The exam is given under exam conditions. We use real bar exam questions for the exam. In preparing this mock bar exam, I review the past 6 bar administrations. I do this to determine which topics I will include in that bar round’s mock exam. I choose exam topics that I have not seen in recent administrations as I believe that these may have a greater likelihood of showing up on the next bar exam.

One of the certain things about the California bar exam essay section is this: each bar round the examiners repeat one or two (and sometimes even three) of the subjects that were tested on the prior bar exam. Usually it is at least two subjects that repeat. If you look at the past bar exam administrations you will see proof that the subjects repeat from one round to the next. As a result, it makes trying to predict the next set of essay subjects to be tested unrealistic. In addition, it means that you would be foolish to think that if a subject were just tested on the July 2008 bar exam, that this subject would not show up on the February 2009 bar exam.

Since the same subject will often be tested on the essay exam from one round to the next, it is important to review the past exams not in terms of which subject was tested (i.e., Torts, Criminal law, Criminal Procedure, Wills, Contracts etc.) but, instead in terms of which topic within a subject was most recently tested (i.e., Defamation? Negligence, Murder, 4th Amendment, 8th Amendment, Will formation, codicil, undue influence, Contract Formation, Common Law, UCC, Remedies, Conditions etc.).

This is what I look at when I am preparing our simulated bar exam for our students. And, this is also the same source that I go to in order to provide “predictions”. I try to be very careful with the word prediction in the bar exam context. First of all, it is misleading to even suggest that someone could predict the bar exam essay topics. But, if the bar examiners were going to test Property again on the February 2012 bar exam (it was tested on day three of the July 2011 bar exam) then perhaps the examiners would be more likely to test areas within landlord/tenant or easements.

Similarly, it would make sense that if the bar examiners have historically, over many years, tested certain areas, and one of those areas has been glaringly absent in recent years, then perhaps the examiners will test it soon. Just seems to make sense, doesn’t it? Well, I think it does. Still, this being said, I do not believe that you should place a great deal of stock or reliance on what anyone might predict for the exam. If it helps you think about possible scenarios, fine. But, if it is something that you use to direct your studies away from less predicted subjects or less likely expected subjects, then it is nothing short of dangerous. Be prepared for every subject and each topic within each subject.

Okay, I am not going to provide a list today of predictions. I will, however, pass along some of what I address in my lectures about areas that are probably worth a little extra attention simply because the bar examiners have not tested these areas in some time.

As I teach each subject in our bar review course, I let our students know which areas of that topic were tested recently and which areas have not been tested recently.

Then as the bar draws even closer, we spend time reviewing additional essays that have tested these very topics (the topics that have not shown up in a while). It is not that all will show up on the next administration, or that it would be wise to study only these areas. However, I know that our students reap a great deal of confidence from this exposure simply because when they do arrive at the exam and open their essay booklets, they will inevitably see some of these areas tested in exactly the same way on exam day. This is a great confidence builder.

Still, I constantly reinforce with my students that anything can be tested (for example, First Amendment speech and Murder essays have shown up back to back on not just two administrations, but three in a row in some years). Other topics have repeated in this same fashion. Therefore, while predictions are very tempting not only to make but to rely upon, it is not a good way to decide which subjects to review or study harder. Instead, study all of the subjects, of course.

I will do my best to provide postings about some of these subject areas that I believe the bar examiners might be more inclined to test on the upcoming February 2012 bar exam.

Incidentally, I do not intend to pass along every point that I make in my lectures regarding the essay predictions. I do not think that my students would think that was fair as they chose to enroll in Bar None Review and paid the associated fees. But, I will provide some information here when I can and to the extent that I think is both helpful and fair.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to leave a comment here on my blog or to email me directly at: pass@barnonereview.com

Good luck in your studies!


Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(949) 891-8831

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February and July 2018 Florida Bar Exam

We hope the following information helps you in your 2018 Florida Bar Exam study endeavors. If you have questions or comments, please use our contact form to communicate with us. Kind regards, and happy studying!


Table of Contents

I. General Information
A. Florida Board of Bar Examiners v. The Florida Bar
B. When and Where is the February Exam?
C. When and Where is the July Exam?

II. Part A (The Florida Portion)
A. The Exam’s Purpose
B. How is the Florida Portion Tested?
C. Time Allotments and Raw Scores
D. What Subjects are on Part A?
1. Essay Subjects
2. Multiple-Choice Subjects

III. Part B (The MBE)
A. The Exam’s Purpose
B. When and How is the MBE Tested?
C. Time Allotments and Raw Scores
D. What Subjects are on Part B?

IV. Passing Score Requirements

V. Additional Resources

VI. View this Page in Flip Book Format

I. General Information

A. The Florida Board of Bar Examiners v. The Florida Bar

As a bar exam applicant and a soon-to-be licensed Florida attorney, it is a good idea to understand the difference between the Florida Board of Bar Examiners and The Florida Bar. Maybe you already know the difference. If so, great. Explain it to your peers and to others. There tends to be confusion on the worldwide web and among bar exam applicants regarding this seemingly mundane, yet important, difference, which is why we are taking the time to discuss it here.

The Florida Supreme Court has exclusive power to license and discipline Florida attorneys. [1] The Court performs its duties through two entities: The Florida Board of Bar Examiners and The Florida Bar. As an administrative agency of the Court, the Board is responsible for implementing the rules regulating an applicant’s admission to The Florida Bar. [2] The Board has authority over an applicant’s admission to The Florida Bar.

The Florida Bar has no direct authority over an applicant’s admission. [3] The Bar is an organization that oversees unethical conduct of licensed attorneys—including the unlicensed practice of law. Once you become a licensed Florida attorney, you become a member of The Florida Bar.

Simply stated, as an applicant you answer to the Board; as a licensed attorney you answer to The Florida Bar. If you are interested in knowing the Board’s authority after admittance, read Rule 5-14.

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B. When and Where is the February 2018 Exam?

The February 2018 Florida Bar Exam will be tested on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 27-28, 2018, at the Tampa Convention Center.  Part A, the Florida portion, will be tested on Tuesday, February 27th. Part B, the MBE, will be tested on Wednesday, February 28th.


C. When and Where is the July 2018 Exam?

The July 2018 Florida Bar Exam will be tested on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 24-25, 2018.   Part A, the Florida portion, will be tested on Tuesday, July 24th. Part B, the MBE, will be tested on Wednesday, July 25th. The exam will be held at the Tampa Convention Center, 333 South Franklin Street, Tampa, Florida. You can find detailed information such as arrival and exam session times on the Florida Board of Bar Examiners website (“Exam Information”).

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II. Part A—The Florida Portion

A. Purpose of the Florida Portion

Obviously, as an applicant, your purpose for taking the bar exam is to pass it and become a licensed Florida attorney. However, from a strategical stand point, have you considered the purpose of the exam as seen through the eyes of the examiners? We have, and we believe that understanding it from the examiners perspective is beneficial to understanding the exam in general. It allows an applicant to “get into the examiners’ heads,” so to speak.

According to the Florida Supreme Court, the purpose of the General Florida Bar Exam is threefold. First, the exam tests your “ability to reason logically.” Second, it tests your ability to “accurately analyze the problem presented.” And third, it tests your ability to “demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the fundamental principles of law and their application.” [4]

So when you’re studying for the bar exam, study like a lawyer and not like a student. Know as much about your opponent as is diligently possible. In this situation, your opponent is the bar exam. The more insight and understanding you have about the overall exam, and of course, the substantive law, the more confident you should feel when facing your opponent.

Taking the bar exam is very different from taking a law school exam. The bar exam is all-encompassing. You need to know a vast array of federal law subjects, including Florida law distinctions. Memorization alone is not enough to pass the exam, although mnemonics are certainly helpful.

As you are studying, just keep in mind the exam’s purpose. Be prepared to show the examiners that you: (1) have a thorough knowledge of the fundamentals of law; (2) can accurately analyze the questions presented; (3) know how to apply the law to the facts of the specific question; and (4) can logically reason to reach a conclusion. With this insight in mind, hopefully some semblance of stress about your opponent will be relieved.

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B. How is Part A Tested?

Part A is comprised of two sessions—the Tuesday morning essay session and the Tuesday afternoon multiple-choice session. The morning session consists of three hours answering three essay questions. The afternoon session consists of three hours answering 100 multiple-choice questions. Part A tests your knowledge of both federal law and Florida law. When federal law differs from Florida law, be sure to answer all questions pursuant to Florida law. [5]

C. Time Allotment and Raw Points

You are essentially allotted one-hour to answer each essay question. Each essay is worth 100 points for a total possible essay raw score of 300 points. As for the 100 multiple-choice questions, you are essentially allotted 1.8 minutes to answer each question. The total raw score available on the multiple-choice section is 90 points. This is because 10 of the questions are “experimental” and do not count toward your total score. The total raw points available on Part A are 390—300 points on the essay section and 90 points on the multiple-choice section. [6]

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D. What Subjects are Tested on the Florida Portion?

As mandated by the Florida Supreme Court,

“Part A consists of 6 one-hour segments. One segment includes the Florida Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure and the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration 2.330, 2.420, 2.505 and 2.515. The remaining 5 segments, each of which includes no more than 3 subjects, are tested from the following subjects: (a) Florida constitutional law; (b) federal constitutional law; (c) business entities; (d) wills and administration of estates; (e) trusts; (f) real property; (g) evidence; (h) torts; (i) criminal law, constitutional criminal procedure, and juvenile delinquency; (j) contracts; (k) Articles 3 and 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code; (l) family law and dependency; (m) Chapter 4, Rules of Professional Conduct of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar; (n) Chapter 5, Rules Regulating Trust Accounts of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar; and (o) professionalism.” [7]

Notice that the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, and Florida Rules of Judicial Administration §§ 2.330, 2.420, 2.505, and 2.515 are required subjects on every bar exam. It is a good idea to know these three subjects because, rest-assured, they will be on the exam.

The tested format for the above required subjects varies at the discretion of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners. We have broken-down the subjects based on the general category of prior tested exams. For instance, we set forth which subjects are most commonly tested as essay questions and which ones are tested as multiple-choice questions. You will see that a few of the subjects are cross-overs, which means they might be tested on either, or both of, the essays or the multiple-choice questions (e.g., professionalism [ethics]). It goes without saying, but just as a reminder, you must know the law in order to pass the exam!

1. Essay Subjects

The number in parenthesis indicates the approximate number of times the examiners have tested that particular subject in essay format. The tested time period extends from July 2003 through July 2017. [8]

a. Florida and Federal Constitutional Law (22)*
b. Professionalism [Ethics] (31)*
c. Real Property (13)
d. Family Law and Dependency (16)*
e. Contracts (18)
f. Torts (17)
g. Trusts (10)*
h. UCC 3 Negotiable Instruments (3)*
i. UCC 9 Secured Transactions (3)*
j. Constitutional Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, Juvenile Delinquency (2)

* Subject was tested on the July 2017 exam

2. Multiple-Choice Subjects

As previously stated, there are three subjects that must be tested on every exam — the †Florida Rules of Civil and †Criminal Procedure and the †Florida Rules of Judicial Administration. The bar examiners have been generally testing these three subjects in multiple-choice format, along with two additional subjects from the following areas:

a. Wills & Administration of Estates^*
b. Business Entities^
c. Evidence^*
d. Professionalism [Ethics] (MC/Essay)
e. Rules of Professional Conduct, Chapter 4 (MC/Essay)
f. Rules Regulating Trust Accounts, Chapter 5 (MC/Essay)

† Required Subjects on every exam
^ Heavily and consistently tested in MC format
* Subject was tested on the July 2017 exam

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III. Part B—The MBE

A. Purpose of the MBE

According to the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), “The purpose of the MBE is to assess the extent to which an examinee can apply fundamental legal principles and legal reasoning to analyze given fact patterns.” [9]

B. When and How is Part B Tested?

Part B, the MBE, will be tested on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, and again on Wednesday, July 25, 2018, at the Tampa Convention Center. The MBE takes six hours to complete and consists of 200 questions. The morning session contains 100 multiple-choice questions which shall be completed within three hours. The afternoon session also contains 100 multiple-choice questions which shall be completed within three hours.

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C. What Subjects are Tested on the MBE?

The 2017 MBE brought changes to the Real Property portion of the exam (see, e.g.,2017 MBE Real Property Changes). It also brought with it changes to the number of scored versus the number of unscored questions on the exam.

In past years, the MBE consisted of 200 questions, only 190 of which were scored. However, as of 2017, the MBE consists of 200 multiple-choice questions, only 175 of which are scored. So now there are 25 unscored “pretest questions” as opposed to a mere 10 unscored “pretest questions.” [10]

In any event, according to the NCBE, the 175 scored questions will be evenly distributed from the following subjects:

1. Civil Procedure (25 Q)
2. Constitutional Law (25 Q)
3. Contracts (25 Q)
4. Criminal Law and Procedure (25 Q)
5. Evidence (25 Q)
6. Real Property (25 Q)
7. Torts (25 Q)

It might be worth your time to read the NCBE’s article entitled, “Preparing for the MBE“. It contains new and important MBE information.

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IV. Florida Bar Exam Passing Score Requirements

To pass the General Florida Bar Exam, you “must attain a minimum scaled score of 136 points or above on both Parts A and B under the individual method, and an average scaled score of 136 or above under the overall method.” [11]

When we were preparing our July 2013 Florida Bar Exam information, the Florida Board of Bar Examiners website stated that to pass Part A, an applicant must have an average essay score of at least 45 points and correctly answer at least 55% of the multiple-choice questions. (See July 2013 Florida Bar Exam.)

However, for the February and July 2018 exam, the bar examiners simply state that “an average scaled score of 136 or better” is required to pass the exam (“Overall Method”). [12]

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V. Additional Resources

The Florida Board of Bar Examiners published a “Virtual Tour” of the exam in hopes of making your 2018 bar exam experience less stressful. They also published a “Study Guide” containing past essay questions and sample multiple-choice questions. As previously stated, the NCBE published a “2018 MBE Subject Matter Outline” which gives examinees valuable MBE information. The NCBE also has its own MBE study resources store where you can purchase Practice Exams and study aides. Additionally, we posted a Florida court jurisdiction flowchart page in case you need it.

VI. View Page in Flip Book Format

View this Page in Flip Book Format.

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Posts You Might Like:

1. FL Bar Exam Feb & July 2017
2. Dependency Law Nutshell
3. FL Bar Exam Review Videos
4. Fourth Amendment Podcasts
5. FL Bar Exam 14-Year Essay Graph/Chart
6. Questions and Selected Essay Answers 2003-2017
7. Note of Encouragement (includes prominent people who failed the bar exam)

Article Sources:

1. Article V, Section 15 of the Constitution of the State of Florida [back to text]
2. See Rule 1-13, Rules of the Florida Supreme Court [back to text]
3. The Florida Bar [back to text]
4. Supra, Rule 4-21 [back to text]
5. Florida Board of Bar Examiners (“Exam Information”) [back to text]
6. See, e.g., Raw Scores February 2013 [back to text]
7. Supra, Rule 4-22 [back to text]
8. See, e.g., Florida Bar Exam Essays 14-Year Graph [back to text]
9. 2018 MBE Subject Matter Outline [back to text]
10. Supra, Rule 4-26.2 [back to text]
11. NCBE Website [back to text]
12. Supra, “Exam Information” [back to text]

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