Based on the imperfect science of Ctrl+F, I’ve managed to compile the five most common comments I’ve given on student bar exams that I have reviewed in the last year. These comments have been shortened and edited to protect student confidentiality and to “universalize” the feedback. If any of these feel familiar, don’t panic! As you’ll see, every one of these issues is totally fixable with practice, strategy-building, and more practice. And so, in no particular order: [Read more…] about The Top Five Most Common Comments I Give to Bar Exam Takers
Step One: Don’t Read Them
That’s right. Before you read the facts, you have to read the call of the question. The call of the question tells you 1) the area of law, and 2) the dispute at issue. Engaging in unfocused fact reading will waste your time and likely lead to more re-reads than if you had just read the call of the question first.
Read the call a few times, so that by the time you get to the facts, you’ll have a strong sense of which claims and conflicts are central to your reading. [Read more…] about How to Read The Facts on a Bar Exam Question in Four Simple(ish) Steps
Bar exam memorization does not begin and end with the black-letter law itself. While the law is what you will be writing about, and therefore is rightfully the highest priority when it comes to memorization, you also want to have an understanding of how to write about the law you’re memorizing as well as when to write about it. [Read more…] about The What, How, and When of What to Memorize for the Bar Exam
There’s a scene in the movie Run, Fat Boy, Run, when Simon Pegg’s character Dennis, mid-marathon, hits the “wall,”– that moment when the exhaustion becomes utterly paralyzing, and going any further feels impossible. To stretch the ubiquitous “bar study is a marathon” metaphor to its limit, the same wall can appear in the weeks leading up to the bar exam. [Read more…] about Getting Over the Bar Exam Study Wall
For many bar takers, outlining an answer before writing is a commonly skipped but crucial step to developing a successful answer.
Maybe it made sense for you to ignore pre-answer outlining in law school. Law school issue spotters can feel like frantic exercises in spaghetti-throwing: write as much as you can in three hours and see what sticks. Considering the one-hour-per-essay time limit, the bar exam may have that same frantic feeling, but it’s actually a much more precise and planned out process. In fact, the essays themselves, (with the exception of Evidence), are meant to be written in just 45 minutes. Planning time is built into the writing process.
This is why outlining is such an important tool for guiding your answers. It gives you a chance to put your attack plans into action by 1) slapping down the answer structures you have committed to memory, 2) prioritizing issues and assessing time allocation, 3) and building out IRAC.
Studying for the bar exam without practicing your writing is like trying to speak a new language without saying the words out loud. You’re unlikely to get fluent just from reading or listening to a recording. The same is true for bar exam success. It requires practice, and we recommend starting in week one. [Read more…] about Writing Practice, From Week One Until The Bar Exam