The Strategic Bar Coach™ is dedicated exclusively to providing 1-on-1, premium Tutoring & Coaching programs to help students succeed on all 3 sections of the California Bar Exam: Essays, Performance Tests (PTs) and MBEs.
Steve Zikman is an experienced educator and a natural teacher. He received his Masters of Law (LL.M.) from Pepperdine University where is also served on the Council of Distinguished Advisors at Pepperdine University's Straus Institute. Steve has taught and coached individuals for over 20 years. Steve is a certified performance and self-esteem coach, specially trained to help students build their level of confidence and achieve their goal of passing the bar exam. Beyond his legal background as an environmental attorney, mediator and administrative judge, Steve is a bestselling author and award-winning co-author, including The Power of Travel, Chicken Soup for the Traveler’s Soul, Chicken Soup for the Nature Lover’s Soul and Doing Good for Goodness Sake. He has worked with thousands of individuals to help them get the most out of their writing and MBEs. Steve brings these many diverse skills to his work as the premier 1-on-1 tutor and coach for the California Bar Exam.
We offer tutoring/coaching on all 3 sections of the exam: Essays, PTs, and MBEs.
Our students' prior scores range from just below passing, to those who are 200 or 300 points away from passing. Of course, our goal is to get everyone over the passing score of 1390 and our results speak to our success. Our recent pass rates range from 72% to 84%. However, even for those who do not pass, their scores have increased by 100 points or more, boosting their confidence and bringing the next exam to within closer reach.
Most students enroll in a Premium Package that covers Essays, PTs and/or MBEs, and some students choose a Premium Unlimited program.
Our Ultimate Everest Premium Unlimited™ programs allow students to do as many Essays, PTs and/or MBEs as they wish according to the process designed and provided by The Strategic Bar Coach™. For example, our Essay program includes an initial series of 13 essays focused on structure and analysis (one for each of the 13 exam subjects), followed by an unlimited number of our Write to Pass™ Timed Essay Drills (e.g. 3 essays in 3 hours) that are focused mostly on time management. Depending on when a student starts and their availability, students enrolled in the Early Study Unlimited program will typically do 40-50 essays and 10-12 PTs.
Premium Packages of Essays, PTs and/or MBEs are also available to suit a student’s needs, time availability, and budget. Our most popular Packages are “22 Essays, 6 PTs & 6 MBE Drilldowns”, “22 Essays & 6 MBE Drilldowns”, and “19 Essays & 5 PTs. Students can also create a customized combination of Essays, PTs and/or MBEs that suit their particular needs and budget.
Yes, students can start whenever they want (as long as there is space available). Early Study is highly recommended to provide more practice, to achieve a deeper understanding of the material, and to gain much-need perspective. We encourage students to make a good decision in terms of which bar exam (e.g. February versus July) makes the most sense to meet their needs, time availability, etc.
All of the feedback for our Premium Essay & PT programs is 1-on-1, interactive, and in real time over the phone. We don’t rely on cookie-cutter, boilerplate written feedback to tutor our students. We review the Essays and PTs with students on the phone, 1-on-1, line-by-line, highlighting their strengths, fixing their weaknesses, and modeling how they might have written a better answer. Based on that discussion, students then revise their essay, exercising their Essay and PT writing muscles. We want students to get the most of each essay by examining each essay on five levels: (1) the issues, tricks and complexities of the particular essay question, (2) broader strategies and tactics for the particular subject, (3) IRAC structure, (4) factual analysis, and (5) timing. This process is most effective through actual interactive conversations to ensure that each point is fully understood and implemented by the student.
All of our Premium Essay and PT programs include:
- Our exclusive Write to Pass™ Flash Outlines designed especially for better Essay writing by breaking down the elements of the law for more effective IRAC presentation and analysis, and by providing practical, success-driven Exam Tips for how to better apply the law.
- Our exclusive PR Tip Sheet and Duty of Loyalty Template: Professional Responsibility is one of the most covered essays on the bar exam. As such, we pay extra attention to this subject and provide students with an exclusive PR Tip Sheet and PR Templates, in addition to our detailed PR Flash Outline™.
- Our exclusive Essay Structure Template designed to help students write consistent, IRAC-proof, passing answers.
- Our powerful Write to Pass™ Timed Essay Drills focused on overcoming the timing challenges of completing 3 essays in the allotted time.
- Comprehensive, Annotated Sample Answers for each of the 13 Foundational Essays to fully illustrate what is being taught on that particular Essay in terms of structure, analysis, issue spotting, answering the call of the question, reaching conclusions, etc.
- Essay Skill Enhancement Exercises to help students gain a clearer appreciation for what is being asked on each Essay question, and how to better use the facts and discuss the impact of those facts.
- Our exclusive PT Templates to help students focus on and organize the key parts of the PT Library and File.
- PT Skill Enhancement Exercises to help students understand the opportunities presented by each PT in terms of the Task Memo, Library and File.
- 1-on-1 Skill Enhancement Sessions dedicated to such topics as Time Management, Embracing Fear, Minimizing Anxiety, The Inner Perfectionist, Building Confidence, and The Power of Focus.
- A Confidential Review Exercise to analyze and assess a student’s previous bar exam Essays and PTs.
- Tips & Reminders for the Final Weeks of Preparation and Exam Days.
- 1-on-1 Exam Day Check-In Strategy Sessions.
Our feedback is interactive and in real-time over the phone. We don't rely on cookie-cutter, boilerplate written feedback to tutor our students. We review each Essay and PT with students on the phone, 1-on-1, line-by-line, highlighting their strengths, fixing their weaknesses, and modeling how to write a better answer. Based on that discussion, students then revise their Essay, exercising their Essay and PT writing muscles. We want students to get the most of each Essay by examining each Essay on five levels: (1) the issues, tricks and complexities of the particular essay question, (2) broader strategies and tactics for the particular subject, (3) IRAC structure, (4) factual analysis, and (5) timing. We strongly believe that this process can only occur through actual interactive conversations to ensure that each point is understood and implemented.
Our PT program focuses on helping students (1) follow the instructions in the Task Memo, (2) more effectively review the Library and File, (3) organize the law and the facts, and (4) finish the PT in the allotted time.
For MBEs, students use the Adaptibar™ software program (the cost of which is not included in this program) following the process designed and provided by TSBC which includes the student completing sets of MBEs followed by a series of Strategic Exercises and ‘Drilldowns’ focused on analyzing the patterns found in student’s incorrect answers and learning from each MBE.
Many students feel overwhelmed by the study process and find that they fall behind when left to their own devices or when trying to keep up with some of the larger, more cookie cutter bar prep companies. Our Program Options are designed to help students remain accountable and stay on track throughout the study period. Our task-oriented approach strives to hold students to their commitment and to keep their eyes firmly focused on the goal of making this bar exam their last.
We believe that effective tutoring requires an 'open book' approach to doing the essays. While many tutors require students to memorize the law before they do their essays, we don't see the sense in memorizing weeks and months before the exam. In fact, most students aren't good at memorization. Requiring students to spend their energy on early memorization slows down the learning process and hinders their ability to make the critical changes that are needed to pass the exam. Of course memorization is important for the bar exam; however, it is most effective when done about 2½ weeks before the exam when the material will be fresh in a student’s mind and they will have a much better appreciation for how to use the law. We want to see what students can do with the law if they had it at their fingertips.
Yes, while our programs are 95% task-based, we also offer students 1-on-1 Skill Enhancement sessions dedicated to such topics as Time Management, Embracing Fear, Minimizing Anxiety, The Inner Perfectionist, Building Confidence, and The Power of Focus.
All of our meetings have always been conducted remotely, over the phone. Our students are located all over the California, across the country and around the world. Even if a student lives in Los Angeles where Steve is located, traveling across the city results in too much wasted time and energy. We have always found that telephone meetings are ideal for the busy bar exam student who doesn't have the ability or the time to travel to meet Steve in person. With telephone conferences, students save on gas and avoid traffic jams, unnecessary delays, and wasted time waiting. This is especially critical when students get closer to the exam when every minute counts. Of course, this approach also works very well during the current pandemic to keep everyone safe.
We work with all students who are 100% committed to passing the California bar exam. All of our programs are based on active learning. Learning requires focus, engagement and communication. Students must be prepared to dedicate the time necessary for studying, to do the hard work of understanding and applying the material to the assigned tasks, and to view each ‘mistake’ as an opportunity to learn on the road to making this bar exam their last.
Yes, our student roster is typically a mix of first-timers and repeaters.
Yes, we have worked with many attorneys from both out-of-state and outside the United States.
Yes, we do. Whether you are able to study full-time or have obligations that restrict your available study time (e.g. a job, family, etc.), we will do our best to help you design a schedule and strategy to address your particular needs and time availability.
Yes, we do work with students on both the MBE and MPT portions of the UBE, etc. Also, depending on the particular state, we can offer limited program options for the essay portion of those bar exams.
Yes, many of our students have exam accommodations. We are very experienced in addressing the special challenges that arise with accommodations and welcome students who are taking the exam under these circumstances.
All of our tutoring/coaching programs are customized to meet the specific needs of individual students. We create an individualized 'real time' schedule with the goal of providing sufficient time for memorizing and gaining much-needed perspective.
Yes, our Premium program options include a very insightful exercise to analyze and assess a student’s previous bar exam Essays and PT and to help them achieve a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. This process also helps to boost a student’s confidence especially when they see the ways in which their writing has improved over what they had written on the previous bar exam.
Two weeks before the exam, we provide students with our exclusive Tip & Reminders for the Essay, PT and/or MBE portions of the bar exam.
On exam day, Steve checks in with students for a 1-on-1 ‘Check-In Strategy Session’ to review how things are going and to help keep them on track for the duration of the exam.
Students can start whenever they want (as long as there is space available). Early Study is highly recommended to provide more practice, to achieve a deeper understanding of the material, and to gain much-need perspective. We encourage students to make a good decision in terms of which bar exam (e.g. February versus July) makes the most sense to meet their needs, time availability, etc. If a student is close to the exam date and thinks they might need some last-minute help, they can also inquire about the possibility of short-term solutions such as a small Essay or PT program, or our “Fast Track Intensive” program.
Yes, we offer a free 30-minute phone consultation with Steve to go over our different Program Options and to address a student’s specific needs and questions. The best way to set up a free consultation is to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will then set up a time to speak on the phone.