We’re down to the final week of bar prep. From regulating your sleep schedule to memorizing attack plans, the Bar Exam Toolbox crew put together some advice for your the final stretch.
Before you read the tips, meet the individuals who are sharing advice with you.
Lee Burgess is the co-founder of Bar Exam Toolbox. She graduated cum laude from the University of San Francisco School of Law, was a TA for Contracts and Torts, and was the Managing Editor of the USF Law Review. Lee left her law firm job and became a private California bar exam tutor and law school tutor when she realized her passion for helping students pass the bar.
Alison Monahan is the co-founder of Bar Exam Toolbox. She graduated from Columbia Law School in 2006 as a Kent Scholar, a Stone Scholar, and a member of the Columbia Law Review. She was also a Civ Pro TA. After law school, Alison clerked for a federal District Court judge and worked as a patent litigator in a large law firm in San Francisco. She eventually left to start The Girl’s Guide to Law School®, which is a leading resource for individuals embarking on a legal career.
Ariel Salzer is a California bar exam tutor for Bar Exam Toolbox. She has taught everything from conjunctions to calculus on four different continents. As a student at the University of San Francisco School of Law, Ariel tutored Torts and led 1L workshops on time management, exam preparation, legal writing, and outlining. After practicing law as a product liability litigator in California for a number of years, Ariel found her way back to teaching and now enjoys helping students find success in their law school classes and on the bar exam.
Ben Nelson is a California and Oregon bar exam tutor for Bar Exam Toolbox. As the oldest child of two professors, he realized from an early age that he wanted to strike out on his own. He eventually settled on law school and graduated from Columbia in 2014 as a Kent Scholar and a Stone Scholar. When he is not tutoring, Ben is a legal fellow for Earthjustice in Denver, CO where he works to protect the iconic American Southwest and Rocky Mountains from overuse.
What Are Your Tips for the Final Week of Bar Prep?
Don’t over study (unless you haven’t been studying effectively throughout the study period). By the time I got to the last week, I pretty much knew all the law I needed to know. Sure, I didn’t know everything, but it is a minimum-competency-knowledge-of-the-law exam, so I knew enough. I was just waiting for exam day to arrive so I could get it over with! Keep drilling the law you are weak on and do plenty of practice. But make sure you stop at a reasonable time each night to relax, get rest and eat healthy food. The bar exam week is very exhausting and you don’t want to go into it too terribly tired, sick or feeling bad.
Simplify and focus on the basics. It’s simply not possible (or necessary) to memorize every detail of the law for the bar exam. Focus on knowing the most-tested areas cold, and focus on the basic outline of the law. You’re not going to fail the bar because you forgot a minor exception to a rule that’s hardly ever tested. But you might fail if you can’t coherently write out the rule for Negligence, for example!
Pay careful attention to what you’re still getting wrong on the MBE. By now, you should know what your weak areas are. Targeting your practice, and review, in these areas will pay far more dividends than just randomly doing a bunch of MBE questions in all topics. It’s not fun to drill the areas you’re struggling in, but it’s the most effective way to pick up points on the real exam.
- Memorize attack plans. Make sure you go in with these down cold. These can really save an essay if you draw a blank.
- Don’t tell yourself you’ve worked hard enough or “what will be will be.” Push harder until a couple of days before the exam. You can accomplish a lot in the last week.
- Regulate your sleep schedule. If you’ve gone nocturnal or otherwise fallen off the radar, get used to waking up early. There’s no easier way to fail the bar than sleeping through it.
- Do practice exams with earplugs so it doesn’t feel weird on exam day.
Just practice until your hands fall off. When they do, take out your super short barebones outlines and start reading and then repeating those rules from memory.
Good luck this week! You can do it!
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Did you find this post helpful? Check out some other great articles:
- Feeling Panicked About the Bar Exam? Advice to Get You Through the Final Week
- Just Decide You’ll Pass
- Don’t Get Fixated on Practice Scores
- 3 Ways to Take Care of Yourself During Bar Season
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