New Testimonials from My Latest Roster of Passing Students for July 2017

“If you failed the CA Bar I want you to (1) cheer up because you just found the tutor that will help you pass the next time and (2) hire this tutor and commit to his methods because it helped me pass! I failed the bar on my first attempt by a small margin. I did everything that my commercial bar prep course told me to do and yet still came up short. I was devastated. I remember speaking with multiple tutors and felt like they had the same approach as the commercial bar prep course that I took (a lot of busy work and not a lot of meaningful work). I was feeling hopeless until I called Steve. From our initial conversation, Steve felt different from the other tutors. He had a clear and straightforward game plan and expected me to stick with that plan. Steve was like a drill sergeant and that is something that I needed. Everything we did had a purpose. Steve went over EVERY line of EVERY practice essay that I did with him and pinpointed my weaknesses in the MBEs with his MBE drill-down feedback. Steve's writing style and MBE approach helped me pass the bar the second time. Without Steve I don't think I would have passed the July 2017 California Bar Exam!”--Michael Yap (Thomas Jefferson School of Law)

“Steve is truly the X-factor. I passed the July 2017 California Bar Exam and I can easily attribute that to him. He calls himself a coach, and that’s exactly the type of service you get when you sign up to work with Steve. Like a coach, he’s not going to baby you or tell you how great of a job you’re doing. Rather, Steve will hone in on your mistakes and keep at it until you cannot get it wrong. His approach to the essays and Performance Tests is a game changer. He has found a method to take the guesswork out of the writing process. Further, Steve’s approach to the MBE, while difficult, is very helpful. His MBE approach will show you exactly what you’re doing wrong, how to study in a fashion to remedy that mistake, and ensure you don’t fall in pattern behavior of getting MBE questions wrong. I previously took BARBRI and it simply didn’t work for me. Long lectures and senseless amount of work didn’t teach me much. Rather, Steve’s approaches and tips were direct and helpful. He reviews essays line-by-line. It’s a detailed process. However, it’s this level of review and analysis of your work that is needed to get you through the Bar Exam. Lastly, studying and taking the bar is a marathon. Having Steve train you during that endeavor is just the type of thing you need to be successful.”--Matthew B. (California Western School of Law)

“After my initial attempt of sitting and not passing the CA bar, I was demoralized and mentally drained. I knew I needed help. I wanted to work with a tutor, but not just any tutor. I wanted someone who KNEW this test and what the bar graders were looking for and could coach me based on my own personal strengths and weaknesses. I was over seeing generic feedback on an essay, or a mere suggestion of what worked for some students, or “perhaps you should try XYZ method..” I wanted more direction than that. When I signed up with Steve, I got the coaching that I needed to get me through the grueling months of preparing for the bar exam, because he was efficient and had very high expectations of me as his student. I felt like I had someone who was on my side, who could also keep everything in perspective, and guide me to use precious time wisely.  I had weaknesses in all areas. First, with essays, Steve will go line by line with you and call out your mistakes and sometimes will be very blunt in the process. A no BS approach. He taught me what the bar examiners were looking for in the essays, which is invaluable advice. For MBE’s, his “Drilldowns” forced me to figure out what I was getting wrong AND why. Having his guidance also forced me and encouraged me to keep going when I was drained, lost track of my goal, and doubted myself. His PT method also kept me focused and efficient with my time. He taught me what I should be looking for and what needed to “stand out” in my PT’s. On the day of the exam, for the PT, I no longer felt daunted by the prompt or the library. I knew what to do right away, and got right to it in the time crunch. All the practice I did on my essays and PT’s made me feel like I had the format down of what the bar examiners were looking for, so I could focus on the issues and analysis. I did so much practice and repetition with his program (which was NOT just busy work, but important training so that his students could feel completely confident going into this marathon and endure it) that I felt calm and ready when I heard “You may begin.” Two of the essays on the July 2017 bar exam were similar to essays I worked with Steve on in bar prep and they were ingrained in my memory from working with Steve. I felt confident writing them because they were so similar to what I had practiced during bar prep with Steve. Working with Steve was an investment I will never regret because with his coaching, I saw my name on the pass list!”--J.K. (Southwestern Law School)

Coming from a law school outside of California, and not having much confidence in my writing, I knew I needed more help than standard bar-prep programs could give. Additionally, almost everyone from my law school that took the CA bar the year before failed, and many of them said it was because their bar prep program did not prepare them for the exam, so I knew those wouldn't work for me either. I worked with Steve based on a recommendation from a friend, and I couldn't recommend Steve enough. Steve has a sensible formulaic approach for both the essays and PT, so you know exactly how to structure those on exam day. This really helped me because I did not have to spend any of my time or energy on structure. I just had to fill in the applicable law and analysis with facts from the questions during the exam. Additionally, the one on one reviews of essays and PTs Steve provides help to perfect your essay and PT writing, so you feel confident in your abilities walking into the exam. Steve also explained to me how to do proper analysis, something I was not taught in three years of law school, which I believe made a huge difference in my scores and led me to pass the exam on my first try. Steve's approach to MBEs is also really helpful because he has you use AdaptiBar which contains actual former MBE questions that were used in previous bar exams. I found the AdaptiBar questions to be quite similar to the questions on my exam, compared to the MBE questions BarBri wrote. Steve has you identify patterns in how you answer the MBE questions so you can figure out exactly why you're getting questions wrong, and you can recognize those patterns and correct them and therefore get more MBE questions correct. Steve is great at tailoring your study schedule to your needs, giving you enough time to get a handle on the subject while also balancing the time you need to study every subject. Plus, I really liked Steve's outlines, much more so than BarBri, they were concise and gave the exact law I needed to know for each subject. All in all I had a great experience with Steve, I believe he is the reason I passed the CA bar on my first try.”—M.L. (Boston University School of Law)

I chose the unlimited package with Steve and found his one-on-one tutoring sessions very helpful. Over the course of our sessions, he really helped me identify my specific areas of weakness. It wasn’t that I was not smart, but I needed to push myself to see the big picture and not get bogged down by getting deep with the material. I needed to stay on target with what the examiners are looking for - which Steve was very helpful in clearly guiding me. His requiring me to do re-writes of essays as well as specifically write down summaries of what I learned were all really helpful in not only learning the law, but also learning the strategies to pass the exam! He really is The Strategic Bar Coach! Go Steve!”—A.H.

“I failed the bar twice using 2 of the better known prep programs- Barbri and BarMax- and I knew that I could not see the ‘error’ screen one more time. My boss recommended Steve to me because he also helped her pass about 5 years ago proving Steve's method is tried and true. Unlike ‘traditional’ methods that lecture and encourage referencing over a thousand pages in reading material, Steve's method is well-paced and to the point. Not once did I feel overwhelmed because of a lack of time or material because Steve's method stresses only to review commonly tested material and then to practice that material until it becomes comfortable. You will always have something to do but it will be in a more manageable and structured workload. It also helped to have Steve's end of section essay follow-ups because I would force myself to move on to a new topic rather than to dwell on little details until I reached ‘perfection.’ Steve helped me be comfortable with the fact that the bar doesn't require perfection, it just requires key words and structure. I strongly recommend Steve Zikman's bar prep program. Trust the method and save your perfection for your pleadings when you FINALLY pass the bar!”--Resa B. (Thomas Jefferson School of Law)

“Prior to moving to California, I practiced law in another state for 20+ years.  Steve Zikman helped me pass the July 2017 exam after I failed the Feb. 2017 exam (which I used an online course to prepare for).  Steve provided a structured model for answering the written portions of the exam.  Under the extreme time pressure of the exam, having this standard, grader-friendly format was critical and time-saving.  I was able to focus on issue spotting and analysis rather than how to format my answer.  Steve’s front-loaded study schedule also kept me on track and focused, so I was able to avoid 11th hour cramming.  The stakes for passing the California Bar Exam are enormous, and I would highly recommend Steve to give an applicant an extra push across the pass line.”—Jim T. (Antonin Scalia Law School--George Mason University, Arlington, VA)

“I did well in law school, but I'm a poor standardized exam taker.  However, going with Steve was the best decision I made since he made me pass.  If you do the work, (yes, it's a lot of work) you will pass!  Steve's taught me how to write for the bar, and taught me how to attack MBEs.  His MBE drills are a nightmare, but I went from scoring in the 50%-65% range to high 70% range!  His writing technique is very different than commercial bar prep - it works!  Specifically, his approach to "write what you think" and formatting saved me on the bar.  I wish I didn't follow the herd and went to Steve my first or second time!  Another important thing I learned from Steve was fixing my attitude towards the bar, which already put me ahead half way as I prepared to pass.”--Farhana Akther (Thomas Jefferson School of Law)

“The bar exam was a complete nightmare, and after quite a few attempts it seemed like this struggle would never end. That was until I found Steve. Steve focused on my strengthens which were my MBES while helping me understand why I've missed a specific question. But most importantly he helped me focus on areas I needed many improvements. His method and strategies help me transform my writing on the essays and PTs. Steve’s line by line essay and PT review helped me transform my analysis which was too wordy and incomplete. He helped me spot facts that I was overlooking which help me analyze the issues correctly. Prior to Steve, I was terrified of the PTS, I would read the file and library but had no clue how to organize all the information. Steve’s guidance and technique helped me improve my PT writing and gave me the confidence I truly needed in passing the bar exam. I am forever grateful to Steve for helping me concur my greatest challenge because without his help I don’t think it was possible.”--Svetlana L. (Arizona Summit Law School)

I passed the July 2017 CA Bar Exam on my 3rd attempt. The feeling of seeing your name on the pass list is honestly the best feeling in the entire world. The first time around I took Kaplan Bar Prep and my computer crashed during the bar exam. The second time around, I went with Barbri and still came up short. I actually only changed my score from the first bar exam by ONE point. When I found out I didn't pass the second time, I vowed that I would never take this test again. I studied so hard and thought there was nothing more I could do to pass this bar exam. I was emotionally and mentally drained. After taking some time to think it through, I decided I would give it another shot and hire a tutor because I needed someone to work with me personally and "fix" whatever it was that I needed to fix to get my name on the pass list. From my initial phone call with Steve, I knew I was signing up to work with someone who was ready to help me achieve my goal, as long as I was willing to put in the work. Like other reviews have said, Steve is no-nonsense and is not going to baby you. He talked to me about being aggressive and competing to get my name on the pass list. I followed every single assignment Steve gave me, completed it on time, and never missed an appointment with him. You have to have self-discipline and trust his method.  I thought I was a good essay writer until I met Steve. He completely transformed my way of writing. His approach to writing essays is straightforward & to the point and he goes over your essays line by line and tells you how you should change it so it is exactly what the graders want to see. At first, changing my writing style was difficult but by the end I was getting 70+'s on essays, finishing on time and getting it done. My area of weakness was the MBE. Steve's "Drilldowns" were so beneficial and over time I began seeing the patterns I was making that were contributing to my low score.  Going over EVERY wrong MBE question and figuring out why I got it wrong, although time consuming, helped me pass the bar exam. My score improved tremendously and I felt confident going into the bar exam. The PT strategies Steve has and the attack plan for conquering the PT for the bar is amazing--I would have never known what the graders wanted to see. Lastly, one of the essays we had for the July 2017 bar exam was almost identical to one I worked on with Steve. When I saw it on the day of the bar exam, I was the happiest girl in the room. I knew exactly what to do and how to "wow" the graders. It was essay 3 of the morning session, where most people get tired but I knew I was going to kill that essay. If you are considering a tutor please invest in yourself and make this bar exam the last time you have to take it EVER again. I promise you, although it is expensive, it is worth it to have the feeling of seeing your name on the pass list.”—Stephanie D. (Thomas Jefferson School of Law)

“Among the Essays, PT, and MBE, the MBE was my weakest area. While I can self-learn my mistakes doing practice questions, I needed another pair of eyes to examine hidden issues. After I had completed the MBE questions, MBE drill-downs, and pattern exercises, Mr. Zikman made it apparent the different type of mistakes as well as my weaknesses in the various topics of each of the MBE subjects. These were all issues I could not see by myself, and Steve brought them to my attention. Additionally, while my Essays and PTs were my strengths, I found that Mr. Zikman’s formulaic approach to writing Essays and PTs further enhanced my writing. I learned to structure my Essays and PTs in a format that kept me organized while simultaneously making it easy for graders to read. Mr. Zikman has taught me strategies and approaches in the Essays, PT, and MBE that I have never learned before. He was the coach and tutor who gave me the extra push needed to pass the bar exam. Thanks Steve!!”--A.J. 

Hiring Steve as my tutor was one of the best decisions I ever made. I first took the Barbri course and failed the CA bar the first time.  When I hired Steve, he taught me how to write a real passing essay and PT essay.  During our tutoring sessions, he went through my essays with me line-by-line.  He gave me pointers, great lines to use in any analysis, and made me think critically.  He also had me use Adaptibar for multiple choice.  Steve held me accountable for everything--there were no excuses, even if you have phone trouble or did more multiple choice questions than is required.  Time working with his was very valuable.  He wants you do well and really cares.  I did the work and took his advice and learned from his instruction. My essay writing skills and multiple choice improved dramatically. If it wasn't for Steve's guidance, my family's support, and studying--using what I learned from Steve, I would not have passed the bar on my second attempt.”--Stephanie Feccia (Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School)

I highly recommend Steve for anyone looking for a more customized, streamlined approach to bar prep. Not only did he tell me what to study, but more importantly he told me what to not waste my time doing.  Steve kept me level-headed—when I had a bad practice exam he was straight with me and he honed in on how I could approach the question better next time. His time management tips were also extremely helpful. After looking over my practice essays he would mentor me as to where I could have written more or less in order to maximize my essay score points. His MBE schedule gave me peace of mind to know that I was doing the right amount of questions throughout the study period and also was set up in a way to maximize my MBE score on exam day.”—J.M. (University of San Diego School of Law)

“Based on an initial consult with Steve, I made the strategic decision to take the MBE even though I’d practiced in another jurisdiction long enough to sit for the 1-day exam. Doing Steve’s drilldowns helped to buoy my strengths on the objective portion which had an equalizing effect on the exam overall.  Essays were my biggest challenge. In our one-on-one tutoring sessions, Steve went through my responses to past questions word for word and showed me exactly how I was missing opportunities to score points in some cases and wasting precious time in others. Looking at my weaknesses in such detail was painful at times but absolutely necessary in order to shed light on my blind spots and ultimately prevail.  After a couple of weeks of working with Steve, I noticed that my essays had fewer shortcomings and increasing instances where I was really starting to ‘get’ it. All of the materials that we used made good sense. As exam day got closer, I could feel myself getting sharper and more attuned. I internalized Steve’s suggested wording, framing and approach and I even got much better at self-diagnosis. By exam time I felt well prepared.”-- T.G. (Cornell Law School)

When I took the bar exam my first time, I chose to prepare with a national bar prep company.  Their one size fits all approach did not work for me. Another re-taker recommended Steve, and I'm glad I listened to their advice.  Steve reviews every essay you write line by line and explains what needs to be fixed.  He also has a specific approach for how to write the essays and performance tests in order to maximize points.  His approach is simple, effective, and easy to implement.  But more importantly, it helps minimize stress on exam day because you know how to structure your essay so you can spend more time reading and analyzing the facts.  When it comes to the MBE, Steve teaches you to look for specific patterns in your incorrect answers so you know which pitfalls to avoid.  I initially struggled with the MBE, but eventually improved my overall score by 13.5% under Steve's guidance (some subjects increased by 30% or more).  Steve also tailors his program to you.  There were certain subjects that I needed more time to review, and other subjects that I didn't need to spend as much time working on.  Steve adjusted my study schedule accordingly.  In short, Steve's approach works because he highlights your weaknesses, teaches you how to fix them, and gives you the tools to avoid them.”--T.E.

I walked out of the July 2016 bar with a smile on my face, thanks to Steve! Steve went through each essay with me line by line, and gave me brutally honest, thorough, and personalized feedback. He helped me see for myself what I was doing wrong and his outlines gave very specific tips so that I knew exactly what I needed to do to write a passing bar essay. My bar essay writing improved significantly with Steve’s method and personalized feedback I could not get from a big test prep company like Barbri. Steve was tough but he was also compassionate, respectful, and very patient with me throughout the learning process.”—V.L.

“Zikman’s method will corral the rules and concepts that may be floating around in your head into precise structures you can apply to conquer any essay. He will also show you how to zone in on minutia that may otherwise go by undetected and use it to grab those extra points you need to cross the finish line. You will learn where to place every detail where it belongs to craft the essays with skill and precision. Best of all, his method makes the challenge fun. You won’t get fatigued and may actually look forward to training every day with confidence.”--Bryan, San Diego, CA