I was next.
That is right. I was in the next group to take on the California bar. It was coming at me and there was nothing I could do about it. It started to make the bar exam a bit real. In addition to that, I started paying bills for bar exam prep; students started talking about bar exam loans. The stress level of my entire class seemed to be going up at an exponential rate!One of the things that I found a bit frustrating was that no one really shared with me what I should be doing to get ready for the bar exam (other than already starting to get nervous). Because of this, 3Ls, I have some tips for you.
First, you have got to sign up for and take the right classes. This, as most things, is a personal decision based on your academic success and your personal preference. You also, though, want to make sure you complete all your graduation requirements in plenty of time. (I actually knew someone in law school who didn’t finish his writing requirement in time for graduation, so he couldn’t graduate!)
Second, you need to take the MPRE. Some of you may be doing this in August, but some folks may have delayed. Regardless, look at a calendar and commit to studying for it! Remember, it is possible to fail the MPRE (not that you aren’t ethical, but it is a challenging test) so you want the opportunity to take it again, less it delay your bar admission.
Third, learn about your state’s admission requirements—because there is likely a lot of paperwork in your future! And although these requirements vary from state to state, it is likely you want to leave yourself plenty of time for the application process. There is no benefit to waiting longer to file your paperwork. Get a jump on it early in the semester so you can cross it off your list of things to do!
Fourth, you need to pick a bar review provider. I know that the marketplace of bar review providers can certainly make your head spin. How do you know what is the right choice for you? We have some tips on how to make the decision that will support you on your way to bar exam success.
Fifth, you should reflect on your law school experience and use this last year to make any tweaks to your study methods, build your exam taking skills, or practice different methods of coping with stress or test anxiety. If you have struggled academically in the past, it is likely you will find these academic challenges continue during bar prep. So it may be worthwhile to seek help from your school’s academic support program or to hire a tutor.
Finally, if you struggle with exam anxiety, the bar exam may be a looming challenge for you. You want to work on cultivating skills that will help you cope with stress. Or, if test anxiety is something that you have found really paralyzing, you may want to seek out professional help. But waiting for the bar exam session to get help may be too late.
Thinking through these tips during your 3L year will give you a head start and help set you up for success. Do you have any other tips of things to do your 3L year? Please share them in the comments.
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Did you find this post helpful? Check out some other great articles:
- Get an Early Start on Bar Preparation
- When Should You Start Studying for the Bar Exam?
- Selecting the Right Bar Review Provider for You
- Get the MPRE Out of the Way!