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California Bar Exam and MPRE: 2. The Essay Component

This California Bar Exam guide provides an overview of steps law students can take to prepare for the California Bar Exam and the MPRE. Information regarding deadlines, topics covered on the California Bar Exam, and other helpful resources are provided.

Helpful Information

The Essay Component of the Bar Exam

Each essay question is designed to measure your ability to analyze legal issues arising from factual situations.  Graders look for your ability to:

  • analyze the facts of the question;
  • tell the difference between material and immaterial facts;
  • discern the points of law and fact upon which the question turns; and
  • apply relevant legal principles to the factual scenarios provided.

Answers that merely state conclusions will receive little credit.  In addition, unless a question expressly asks you to use California law, bar exam instructions advise that you should answer according to legal theories and principles of general application.  The California State Bar provides online access to essay questions and selected answers from past examinations.  For your convenience, links to PDF files for the essay questions and selected answers from recent years are provided below.

February 2018 July 2018
February 2017 July 2017
February 2016 July 2016
February 2015 July 2015
February 2014 July 2014