Practical Analysis, Strategies, & Skills (PASS) Courses
McGeorge offers two courses to students in their final year of law school to help them begin preparing for the upcoming bar exam: PASS I and PASS II.
PASS I is a three (3)-unit course that allows students to review and prepare effectively for each component of the CA Bar Exam: essays, MBE (multiple choice), and the performance test. Students in PASS I practice using real bar exam essay and performance test questions, receiving extensive individual written and oral feedback concerning critical reading skills, issue identification, answer organization and structure, time management, and crafting effective rule statements, factual analyses or arguments, and conclusions. Students review selected areas of substantive law commonly tested on the CA Bar Exam and complete weekly homework assignments using Adaptibar online MBE software, to which they retain access until their bar exam date. CA Bar Exam procedures, standards, and strategies are explained and practiced. PASS I is required for students in Directed Study, but all McGeorge students in their final year of law school are strongly encouraged to enroll in either the fall or spring.
PASS I is graded on a pass/fail basis. PASS I students must be in their final year of study at McGeorge, but students do not need to wait until the semester before taking the bar exam to take PASS I. In fact, many spring graduates who took PASS I in the fall report that doing so helped them improve their law school exam writing in the spring.
PASS II is a three (3)-unit, graded elective course offered in the spring semester that focuses on the substantive law of three subjects that graduates preparing for the bar exam typically find challenging: Civil Procedure, Contracts, and Real Property. PASS II is an online, asynchronous class, meaning that there is no weekly physical class meeting component; students review substantive law and lectures and complete essay and multiple-choice exam simulations remotely. Students must adhere to a rigorous schedule, however, completing weekly tasks by predetermined deadlines and meeting regularly with their professors in individual conferences. The course is fast-paced, covering each subject in four weeks. It uses materials and an online platform for course content and assessments provided by Themis Bar Review, but students taking PASS II may enroll in any post-graduation commercial review course.
Both PASS courses are offered as a precursor to—not a replacement for—enrollment in a post-graduation commercial bar review course. Enrollment in a commercial bar review course facilitates the organized study of all testable subjects that is essential to bar success. If you would like to discuss your commercial bar review course options, you are welcome to contact Professor Harrington.
Bar Exam Advantage Training (BEAT)
McGeorge graduates taking the bar for the first time also may participate in the Bar Exam Advantage Training (BEAT) program, a supplemental bar review program offered after graduation in the summer that creates opportunities for more simulated practice, written feedback, and individual counseling. BEAT allows participants to write practice exams more often and sooner than they otherwise might, but it is meant to work with the commercial bar review program schedules, not to add work to an already-loaded study plan. Due to its supplemental design, BEAT does not replace enrollment in a commercial bar review course. BEAT is open to first-time bar applicants, and admission is by application only. Check your Pacific email during your final semester of law study for application information; applications typically become available in early March for the July bar exam and in early November for the February bar exam.
Extra Feedback Program
McGeorge graduates taking a different state’s bar exam or otherwise not participating in BEAT may participate in the free Extra Feedback Program (EFP) instead. Alumni taking advantage of the EFP submit designated essay and performance test practice exams for detailed, individualized written feedback. Exams used in the EFP are the same as those used in BEAT, but the EFP is entirely voluntary, allowing for greater flexibility. This program is open to all McGeorge alumni, regardless of whether they are taking the bar for the first time, and there is no application or RSVP necessary. Please watch the "McGeorge Bar Prep" Facebook page for the schedule, which should be posted shortly after graduation
Professor Harrington is available to counsel students and alumni who are studying to pass the California Bar Examination, whether they are taking it for the first time or trying again. Students and graduates may meet with her to discuss their choices of commercial bar review programs, their extracurricular or work schedules during bar preparation, how to communicate with their families and loved ones concerning the support they will need, and anything else related to their bar success.
Bar Financial Planning
Preparing for the bar exam is more than a full-time job, so we recommend that graduates do not work during the study period if at all possible. It’s never too early to plan ahead, and Joe Pinkas, Director of Financial Aid, is available to discuss your options with you.