BarEssays FAQ

"We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction."
- Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
"My advice to her is that she should look at 15 bar questions and 15 sample, perfect answers. That is all she'll need to pass [the California Bar Exam]."
- William A. Urquhart, "one of the world's leading litigators," providing advice to a colleague, Wall Street Journal (December 2005).
What is is a unique and invaluable study tool for the essay portion of the California Bar Exam. We are, by far, the most comprehensive service that provides REAL examples of REAL essays and performance exams by REAL students that were actually taken during the California Bar Exam and graded by the California Bar Examiners. Since launching in 2007, thousands have successfully used the essay database to prepare for the essay portion of the California Bar Exam, with several entire law schools, review courses, and tutors providing access to all of their students.
Our database contains 3000+ essay examples, including both high and low scoring essay answers to more than 200 different essay questions. All of our essays are actual graded and returned California Bar Exam essays and include every tested subject. We provide you with high scoring essays, low scoring essays, barely passing essays, and everything in-between. You will see exactly what it takes to pass (or not pass) a California Bar Exam essay and performance exam.
Does provide actual California Bar Exam essays graded by the California Bar Examiners?
Yes! Every essay is from an actual copy of an exam, taken during the California Bar Exam and graded by the California Committee of Bar Examiners. Our essays are not manufactured by a review course or "model" answers. These are actual unedited essays, written by actual exam-takers, during the actual exam, with the same stress and time restraints you will have.
What is the point of
Essays and performance exams count for 1/2 of your score on the California Bar Exam. However, exam takers most often do not know exactly what the California Bar Examiners consider to be a passing essay. Some review courses provide a few examples of actual graded essays, but these examples are often limited and very old. believes in the power of learning by example – i.e. a key to succeeding on the California Bar Exam is proper knowledge about what it takes to pass. We provide you with high scoring and low scoring essays, handwritten and typed, in every recent subject and performance exams. You will see exactly what you need to do, and what to avoid, to PASS the California Bar Exam.
Are the essays from recent exams?
Yes! Our database consists of actual graded California Bar Exam essays from 2003 through the present. Our database will provide you with the most recent examples of graded essays.
Does provide examples of performance exams as well?
Yes! We provide examples of every type of California Bar Exam essay including performance exams. You’ll see examples of both high scoring (and low scoring) performance exams.
Do you provide handwritten essay examples as well?
Yes! Our database includes examples of both handwritten and typed exams. We are perhaps one of the only services that will allow you to see the differences in passing handwritten and typed exams. You’ll see how high scoring (and low scoring) handwritten and typed exams have been structured.
Are the essays altered in any way?
No! What you see is exactly what a test taker wrote during the bar exam. You'll see essays with typos, mistakes, sloppy and neat handwriting, and you'll see exactly how these essays scored. We only remove the exam number and any identifying information to protect the anonymity of the exam taker.
Is affiliated with the California Committee of Bar Examiners or the State Bar of California?
No. is an independent company and is not affiliated in any manner with the State Bar of California.
What is the best way to use recommends that you simulate at least one essay exam each day and then compare your essay to our graded examples and outlines. The more essays you practice, the better you will become at test taking! More tips and instructions are provided once you sign up for our service.
How do I search through your large database of essays?
The search engine is very easy to use. The search engine allows you to browse essays by subject, essay score, handwritten/typed essays or examination year. The search engine dramatically cuts down your study time by its efficient search function. In a matter of seconds, you can search for almost any essay tested over the past decade and easily view high and low scoring examples of that essay.
Can I sell my essays to
Yes! If you received your essays from a previous examination, click here to sell us your essays. We are constantly updating our database and can always use new essays.
How much does it cost to subscribe to
A standard subscription to costs only $175 and will provide access to the website through the conclusion of the upcoming California Bar Exam.
What is the difference between a regular subscription to and a premium subscription?
In addition to access to the essay database, featuring 3000+ essays and performance exams from prior California Bar Exams, a premium subscription will include model answers for every essay question tested since 2005, in addition to over 300 professional bar grader reviews of essays and performance exams in the database, all written by former official graders of the California Bar Exam.
The professional bar grader reviews include helpful notes and summaries detailing:
  • Why an essay received a particular score.
  • How the essay could have improved.
  • Portions of the reviewed essay that received points.
  • Portions of the reviewed essays that are unnecessary for points.
  • Detailed critiques of essay structures and IRAC format.
Why should I upgrade my membership to a premium account?
As a premium account member, you will see essays and model answers from the exact viewpoint of a former official grader of the California Bar Exam. There is no other service that provides authentic past graded California Bar Exam essays with commentary from former official graders of the California Bar Exam and model answers written by former official graders of the California Bar Exam.
Which essays are reviewed by the former official graders of the California Bar Exam?
A premium subscription to includes professional bar grader reviews for every question tested since July 2006, plus every performance exam since February 2010, totaling approximately 300 reviews.
Which essays include model answers written by the former official graders of the California Bar Exam?
A premium subscription to includes professional bar grader model answers for every essay question tested since 2003.
How do I view the premium bar grader reviews and model answers?
When searching through the database, a review and/or model answer tab will appear for each essay that contains a premium bar grader review and/or model answer.
What is the price of a premium subscription to
A premium subscription to costs $50, in addition to the price of a regular subscription to
Does a premium subscription to include additional study material?
Yes! Every premium subscription to includes a full set of the Short Review Outlines, Checklists, and Essay Attack Templates. This clear and easy-to-understand material serves as a fantastic tool to help you review each subject on the California Bar Exam. The Essay Attack Templates, in particular, will provide easy to memorize "roadmaps" for many commonly tested areas on the exam.

Click here for a sample Short Review Outline (Microsoft Word format)

Click here for a sample Checklist

Click here for sample Essay Attack Templates (PDF format)
Do you offer essay and performance exam grading or tutoring services? does not offer a full service review course. However, all members (both standard and premium) of are eligible to participate in our Essay Submission Program, whereby you are able to purchase credits at negotiated low prices to submit your own practice essays for critique and grading.
As part of the Essay Submission Program, a grader will review your essay and provide detailed written commentary. To sign up for the Essay Submission Program, and for additional details and prices, click on the "Practice Essays" tab after you purchase a membership.
Do you offer live or recorded classes?
Beginning with the October 2020 California Bar Exam, BarEssays has been conducting live essay workshops, taking students through specific essay questions and teaching how to deconstruct and answer questions in detail to receive maximum points. The workshops are conducted by a former official grader of the California Bar Exam and long term bar exam instructor. The workshops became extremely popular and well received. Access to a package of 14 of the prior workshop videos and handouts are available for $249.
**You can find detailed information about each workshop at this link (click here).
**You may view a free sample community property workshop at this link (click here).
If you are a BarEssays member, click on this link to purchase access to the workshop videos. If you are not a BarEssays member, email us to purchase access to the previous essay workshops.
In addition to the videos of previous workshops videos, we will be conducting live workshops for each new examination. Announcements of these workshops will be sent to all BarEssays members.