The February 2019 Virginia Bar Exam did not bring any major surprises. But students always stress out during the long wait for Virginia Bar Exam results to be released.
Update: Feb 2019 Results are out!
At the end of every exam, students lament the absence of certain topics and the presence of others. Students worry that their particular exam was somehow a statistical anomaly in terms of what topics examiners tested on this time. But in Virginia, with all of its many possible topics, the test will always vary, so to some extent the decisions you make about what and how to study are data-driven choices. In other words, those choices should align with the topics statistically most-likely to be tested. Even so, a few things on every exam will surprise students. If you were surprised by the topics, that does not mean that you failed the Virginia Bar. As we wait for bar results, let’s look back on what was tested.
Feb 2019 Topics Tested
The exam started off with a wills question. Specifically, examiners gave you a holographic will, a revocation, a revival, and a broad question about how the estate should be administered. The Virginia Bar Exam frequently features Wills and Trusts.
You also had a real property question dealing with estates in land and future interests. While real property appears on the test frequently, estates in land and future interests usually does not. So this sub-topic came as a bit of a surprise to me, even though I did expect a real property question on this administration of the exam.
The remainder of the February morning session consisted of questions covering: Securities, Federal Civil Procedure, and Professional Responsibility.
Topics Tested in the Afternoon
After lunch, students returned to start the afternoon with an essay question that touched on Virginia Procedure, Evidence, and Appeals. The question stemmed from a fact pattern about a civil lawsuit over a physical assault. Examiners frequently test on Virginia Procedure (including Appeals), but they test over Evidence more rarely. The final sub-question on that essay was a ‘gimmie’ and you should definitely have gotten this one right:
“Should Jerry be permitted to present the additional evidence to the Supreme Court?”February 2019 Virginia Bar Exam, Question 6d
Even without reading the facts, I hope you know the answer to this is no. While I hope you did get it right, the reality is that questions like this aren’t very meaningful for your score. Since you are scored in comparison to others taking your exam, and it is very likely that most examinees got this sub-question correct, the question isn’t a good “differentiator” among examinees and therefore probably would not help you much in terms of scoring.
In the afternoon session, you also had questions on Torts, Corporations, and Family Law.
Waiting for Bar Results is Hard
Despite what exam takers may feel, this exam was not an outlier. The examiners stuck mostly to frequently tested and well-known rules, with the one minor exception being the focus on future interests within the real property question. Try not to be too anxious as you await your bar exam results. That nervousness isn’t too productive, since it is out of your hands now. So hang in there, the results will be released soon enough.