Multistate Essay Exam 2014 Predictions

DISCLAIMER: Please know that these are only my personal predictions, and you should in NO WAY exclusively rely on them. At the end of the day, YOU are responsible for your own preparation for ALL of the essay subjects and should not gamble or rely on anyone’s predictions. PREPARE for ALL subjects. 






From 2010 to 2013, Property was tested twice a year.


However before that (2005/2006/2008), AND in the last few years, Property has been tested once a year in February,– with the exception of 2016 where it was not tested at all that year.


This is why I hesitated to pick Property, because I wasn’t sure if it would show up again this year, since it was already tested in February 2017.


Also, I noticed that Property (since 2013) has NOT been tested along with the new subjects (Delinquency/Dep/UCC), and a part of me feels this is because Property tends to have a low median/average already – so testing them with the new subjects would lower the overall curve even further. Just an observation.


On the other hand, if property IS tested, then another thought I had was about Landlord/tenant rules – that has not been tested since 2005, 2000, and 1998. I suddenly started thinking about it the other day – wondering if it would ever show up again soon or if they are retiring that subject.


Just a thought to keep in mind, in case property is tested.




In regards to the new subjects, I feel strongly that you will get Delinquency, Dependency or UCC Art 3+9.


Looking back at the essays (since 2013), Delinquency and Dependency have NOT been explicitly tested (and also NOT mentioned in released answers), even though their counterparts have been tested (Family Law and Crim Pro).


So I think it is time that it will get tested, so be especially prepared for Delinquency or Dependency.


In 2013, one new subject was tested in July (UCC Art 9).

In 2014, one new subject was tested in July. (UCC Art 3)

In 2015, one new subject was tested in July. (Crim Law/Pro** first time tested since 80s and 2000)

In 2016, two new subjects were tested in February. (Crim Law/Pro and UCC Art 3 +9 with emphasis on Art 3)

In 2017, none so far.


Be sure to prepare for Delinquency and Dependency, along with Art 3 + 9.


It would seem logical that you might get a full Secured Transactions essay, since that has never happened before (2013 was not a full Art 9 essay, it was mostly Contracts). Nonetheless, be prepared for either Article 3 or Article 9


Of course, ethics would be tested in one of these essays or ALL 3 of them, so be prepared for ethics, no matter what!!


So now that you understand my thought process, below are my personal predictions:


Family Law and Dependency/Trusts/Ethics

FL Con Law/Criminal, Crim Pro + Delinquency / Ethics

UCC Article 3 +9 / Contracts / Ethics

DISCLAIMER: Please know that these are only my personal predictions, and you should in NO WAY exclusively rely on them. At the end of the day, YOU are responsible for your own preparation for ALL of the essay subjects and should not gamble or rely on anyone’s predictions. PREPARE for ALL subjects. 

We are pleased to welcome back Jeff Curl to the Bar Exam Toolbox blog. Jeff  talks about the best way to focus your studying for the California bar exam. Previously he was an apprentice grader for the California bar exam, and now works as an attorney  practicing bankruptcy law at JC Law Group PCWelcome, Jeff! 

Studying for the bar is overwhelming for a variety of reasons – it stresses your life, both professionally and personally. It also puts strains on relationships and your sense of well being. One of the biggest stresses is the sheer volume and scale involved with studying for the California Bar Exam.

Naturally, you want to impose some order and limit the scope of your studies if at all possible. There are really two ways of doing this when it comes to the written portion of the exam: try to predict the questions and study for those, or use history and the structure of the exam as a guide.

I absolutely despise the attempts to predict the exam questions to the tee. I will hear that “a Fourth Amendment question is due,” or that torts is a summer bar exam topic, but not a winter question, so expect that in July. Such predictions are both desperate and dangerous.

What is the more intelligent way to focus your studies?

  1. Look at the historically tested subjects that make regular appearances. Negligence and Commerce Clause questions, for example, do seem to make regular appearances, albeit not necessarily as Question 2, every February administration of the exam.
  2. The California State Bar has made it abundantly clear that it is testing professional responsibility in almost every exam whether on its own or as a cross-over. Given that it also serves as double duty for the MPRE to get your license, mastering this subject makes sense.
  3. Spending a little more time on the six core subjects that are on the multistate exam also makes good sense. You are killing two birds with one stone since you will be tested on constitutional law, contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence, real property and torts on the MBE already.
  4. Weigh the cost/benefit analysis of trying to study for every single area of the thirteen subjects tested, versus trying studying the more popular subjects. Unless you have one of those crazy memories that permits you to absorb the elements of everything, attempting to memorize 150 things may serve you better than trying to memorize 300. Never would I skip any subject in its entirety, but you must have an honest discussion with yourself about your limits and how far you can reasonably push them to incorporate every detail of every subject that is tested.

Yes, curveballs may be thrown, but spending time trying to master all potential outlier questions is just not within the ability of many bar candidates. If you can memorize everything, great. If not, design the scope of your studies intelligently from the outset.

Jeff Curl was an apprentice grader for the CA bar exam. He practices bankruptcy law with his wife Jeena Cho at JC Law Group PC. 

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