Congratulations on graduating from law school! Completing law school is a great achievement, which leads to the next challenge: passing the bar exam. Of course, some of the information you learned in law school, including black letter law, how to write a brief, and (if you were lucky) how to IRAC, will be useful for taking the bar exam. However, in order to be successful on bar exams, you need to shift from some of the old goals and techniques you used on law school exams to new goals and techniques that will lead to success on bar exams. [Read more…] about Shifting From Law School Exams To Bar Exams
Students who are non-native speakers of English may face special challenges when taking a bar exam. These students may or may not be international students, but what they have in common is that they had limited or no exposure to English while they were growing up.
The most common challenge that non-native English speakers face is that they consistently make grammatical errors on the essay and performance test sections of the bar exam. I asked a former bar exam grader how grammatical errors might impact a bar candidate’s score on a bar exam. She said that in her jurisdiction (California) the bar examiners did not specifically subtract points from an essay or performance exam for grammatical errors. She also said that grammatical errors could lower a bar candidate’s score if the grammatical errors were significant enough to make it difficult to understand what the bar candidate was writing. [Read more…] about Five Special Techniques For English As A Second Language (ESL) Bar Takers
Scientists who study how people learn categorize learning styles into two main categories: passive learning and active learning.
Passive learning techniques are what many students are most familiar with and tend to use the most. In passive learning, students are expected to absorb information without proactively engaging in any activity. Examples of passive learning techniques include taking notes at live lectures, watching videos of lectures, viewing a PowerPoint, reading textbooks, reading outlines and watching demonstrations. Passive learning techniques are generally done alone, even if others happen to be physically present. An example of this would be taking notes on a lecture that a number of students attend.
In contrast, active learning techniques require a student to proactively engage in an activity rather than just sitting back and absorbing information. Examples of active learning include engaging in back and forth discussions, problem-solving, writing, creating videos, creating websites, practicing doing an activity, explaining something to someone else, performing a task, and evaluating the results of one’s efforts. Active learning techniques can be done alone or in collaboration with others. An example of this would be having two or more students create a website: one student can focus on creating the text, while the other creates graphics that illustrate the ideas in the text.
Bar candidates are often intimidated by the performance test because the materials that present the question are so long they consume an entire packet! However, success on the performance test does not depend on how fast you can read, but how well you can read and if you have mastered an approach for each section of the performance test. In addition, much of the work you did for your legal writing class has given you the tools you need to do well on the performance exam. [Read more…] about Five Common Issues on the Performance Test and How to Fix Them
If I were to ask a random sample of law students what the most important factor in passing the bar exam is, many of these students would say “intelligence” or “hard work”. Both are incorrect. The most important factor in passing the bar exam is one’s commitment to the bar exam. [Read more…] about The One Thing You Need to Pass the Bar Exam
In order to pass a bar exam, you need to collect as many points as possible on your bar essay exams. In order to maximize the points you receive, you need to make it as easy as possible for the bar exam grader to give you points.
Bar exam graders want to know if you spotted the issues and if you understand how to analyze that issue given the facts in the essay exam (i.e., can you do a complete IRAC analysis). Avoiding the four common mistakes listed below will help you maximize your score on bar essay exams. [Read more…] about Don’t Do This On Your Bar Exam Essays