Can you believe it has been about six to eight weeks since you started studying for the bar exam? Everyday, including weekends, you start your day by reviewing some core subject and tweaking your attack plans. At some point during the day you take a practice essay exam or a set of practice MBE’s. As each week passes, you have gotten better at spotting the issues on a bar question. You’ve even gotten more and more MBE questions right with a better understanding of why certain answers were wrong. [Read more…] about You Are So Close – Now Don’t Blow It!
It used to be common to take the bar exam using a bluebook. Now, the vast majority of people use a laptop to take the bar exam, while a very small minority writes. This may be due to a generational shift, and a resulting reliance on technology. People now “keyboard,” they don’t “write” – just look at examples of signatures. Other than your parents, how many people do you know who still write letters, checks, or thank you notes? Instead, most of us communicate with our phones – not actually talking on them. We text, email, and use social media sources on our phones. We use laptops for work or school – but we do not “write.”
What if you are one of the few who really wants to handwrite the bar exam? Everyone is telling you to reconsider, but should you? It depends. If this is something you want to do, first ask yourself some very serious questions:
While there are some who have the ability to work while studying, the vast majority of us treat studying for the bar exam as an all-consuming endeavor, at least the first time. If you failed that first time however, there is a temptation to reduce the amount of time spent studying for the next bar exam claiming financial necessity or mental exhaustion.
One of the things that bar-takers might consider cutting back on are practice exams, including multiple choice tests, taken under timed circumstances. They might justify this pared down approach for the following reasons: [Read more…] about Why Practicing for the Bar Exam is So Important
When I took the bar exam, MBE’s only accounted for one-third of the overall grade. I assumed my writing skills would overcome a bad performance on the MBE’s, even though I had no trouble passing the MPRE, which had no essay component.
Once I began working with law students, I started to think about this issue more. I wanted to explore why I had anxiety about the MBE. I taught both Professional Responsibility (“PR”) and Remedies. What I discovered is in most PR classes, instructors emphasize that MPRE questions are often focused on the details – sometimes testing concepts discussed in the comments following each ABA model rule. The focus is not on the “techniques” you are taught to use when answering MBE questions – like immediately rejecting two answers then focusing on what’s left. Instead, for the MPRE you are recalling the rules and focusing in on the exceptions or alternative ways to interpret those rules as suggested in the comments. [Read more…] about How to Analyze Real MBE Questions
Most of us who have gone to law school would probably say that we have never really failed at anything before. While that may be a good thing, it also means you probably never had to look back and assess what you could have done differently to avoid a failure. The reality is that in the current climate, a huge percentage of people taking the bar exam will fail. Depending on where you take the exam, that percentage may be larger than you ever thought possible. For this reason, you should consider the potential mistakes some bar studiers make and try to avoid them. [Read more…] about Avoid Making Mistakes While Studying for the Bar Exam
You don’t have to be a real estate investor to understand the meaning of the phrase, “Location, Location, Location.” A mantra those getting ready to take the bar exam should adopt is, “Practice, Practice, Practice.” No, your goal is not to go to Carnegie Hall. Instead, think about each part of that mantra as being a separate step in your preparation.
Yes, you have to study and internalize the subject matter of any course you are taking. While you spend hours, or days, reviewing outlines and memorizing rules you can spit out quickly and accurately when writing an essay, studying alone is never enough. Don’t tell me about the classmate who claimed to simply read through commercial outlines in preparation for an exam they claimed to have “aced.” While there may be one or two individuals in the universe that can pull this off, the vast majority of us mortals in the law need something more – we need to practice! But how you practice is also important.