If you are studying for the next bar exam, I hope that practice is a key part of your study plan. And not just practice for practice’s sake. You really want to practice and evaluate your work. How else are you going to learn?
Once you have evaluated your work, what do you do then? Feel bad about all the issues you missed or the analysis you could have done better on? Nope. I recommend that you re-write your answer. This is true for both the essays and the performance tests.
Re-Writing an Essay
I realize that many of you may think that re-writing an essay answer may be a waste of time. However, I would argue the opposite. A re-write is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to review the law and practice the analysis.
Every time you write out a rule, you are studying and memorizing. So believe it or not re-writing an essay actually allows you to work on memorization, while working on your essay writing skills. And better than that, it is more interesting than just reviewing an outline. Re-writing also allows you to practice writing out the rules as you would on an actual exam. This is excellent practice! You want to have those rules at your fingertips so you can write them out without really having to think about them.
Also, re-writing allows you to reflect on your analysis of the facts. It helps you think through the facts yet again and focus on why the graders included those specific facts. It allows you to practice analysis based on those facts. And as we have discussed in previous posts, the essays are really focused on analysis. Without quality analysis, you cannot pass.
Re-writing also allows you to work on your time-management skills. One of the things students often complain about is not being able to finish their answer in the time allowed. Going through a re-write allows you to use hindsight (which we know is 20-20) to make better time-management decisions and try new things. It gives you an opportunity to focus on your speed of writing. And since getting the words on the page is part of the exercise, this is definitely something you want to work on. Re-writing is a great opportunity for that.
I also think it is important that you get used to what writing your best exam answer feels like. For each person this is different as we all work a bit differently. But you want to start to understand the parameters of “your best” answers. What an answer feels like that covers all of the issues and has quality analysis. Getting used to writing quality answers helps your initial drafts to become better and more closely reflect what you want to do on exam day.
Re-Writing a Performance Test
Re-writing a performance test is equally important in your bar exam preparation. I think a performance test can be even more challenging to force yourself to do (especially in California where a performance test takes three hours to complete). But whether you are taking the California Performance Test or the MPT, re-writing is very important if a performance test doesn’t go your way.
If you got the structure or organization for the performance test wrong, you need to go back through the material and determine where you should have found the correct organization. You then want to write out the performance test using that organization to show yourself how the performance test is supposed to flow. The folks who write performance tests get only so creative, therefore it is likely if you are well versed in the performance test that you will start to see patterns or “things you have seen before.” To be able to do this, though, you have to study the exams and learn from your mistakes.
Time-management issues, as discussed above, are also worked on through re-writing. If on the first draft you ran out of time, you need to practice allocating your time differently to see what you needed to do to finish in the time allowed. Re-writing allows you to play with this time allocation, which will likely lead to better time management in the future.
No One Likes Re-Writing, But It Is Worth It
I don’t know of any students who look forward to re-writing an essay or a PT that they have been struggling with. But really, it is worth your time. This is just part of the bar exam study process that you have to get through. Investing in re-writing can help you refine your writing and be more successful on exam day.
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Did you find this post helpful? Check out some of our other articles for more great study tips!
- How to Wait for Bar Results on Friday
- Why Do We Have to Write Out Practice Answers?
- Warning, Burnout Ahead! Take a Pre-Bar Exam Study Break