Today we welcome Sean Silverman to the Bar Exam Toolbox blog. Sean tutors students who are preparing for the Florida Bar Exam and the Uniform Bar Exam. He is sharing his tips on preparing for the Florida Bar Exam.
Many states are shifting from state-specific bar exams to the Uniform Bar Exam. This is great news and hopefully more states will follow! Some states, however, continue to hold tight to their current bar exam and in my view this poses additional difficulties for those preparing for the test. With a state-specific exam, the examinee must prepare for the numerous state-specific subjects along with the subjects tested on the MBE. Add to this the state-specific distinctions to the MBE subjects and the test quickly becomes overwhelming. Florida is no exception here; simply put, there is a ton of law to learn.
And so if one is to have a shot at passing the exam one must have an attack plan. Organization is the key to preparing for the Florida Bar Exam, and in this post, I’ll lay out some steps I believe to be essential (especially for self-studiers or those working with a tutor) for taking control of the test and not allowing the test to drown you in its overwhelming relentless content.
Step 1: Get Online
Go to the website for the Florida Board of Bar Examiners and note all the subjects tested on the Florida portion of the exam. “Know thy enemy,” as they say.
Step 2: Organize the Subjects in a Way That Makes Sense to You
When I work with students preparing for the Florida Bar Exam, our goal is to work through two essay subjects, and one MBE subject per week. But we attempt to organize these subjects in a methodical way. Wills and Trusts have some commonalities so we study them together. Likewise, if we are studying Florida Civil Procedure in a given week, we’ll also study Federal Civil Procedure that week. Come up with a weekly plan based upon your organization of the subjects. Not having to think about what you’ll be studying each week will clear the mind and make this entire process far more bearable.
Step 3: Use the Outlines Provided by the Florida Board of Bar Examiners
The Florida Board of Bar Examiners has released on its website an outline for each subject tested on the Florida portion of the bar exam. In some of those subjects, it has gone as far as to bold the areas within each subject that it deems more important than others. Though you should study everything that shows up in your bar prep outlines, you should absolutely be guided by these outlines provided by the Florida Board when deciding on where your primary focus will be. There is never enough time to cover everything equally and with that in mind, it’s essential to cover the areas that are most likely to be tested more than areas that are less likely to be tested.
Step 4: Look Over Essays That Have Been Released
The Florida Board has released essays going back about a decade from previous bar exams. If you’re working with a tutor then you should absolutely be writing essays for that tutor to hone your legal analysis skills, but if that is not an option for you then you should still review all these prior essays that have been released to get a feel both for the issues that come up more frequently than others as well as to gain an understanding as to the type of analysis that the graders are looking for when grading the exam. The more of these essays you review, the better. It’s one thing to memorize a legal rule; it’s another to understand how a legal rule can be utilized to analyze a legal issue. Only by reading through released essays will you begin to get a feel for how these rules are actually used in the context of a fact pattern.
Step 5: Review
Save some time to go back to review the subjects once you’ve seen them in the context of the essays. After you’ve had a chance to see how these subjects are tested in the essays you’ll have a new perspective as you view your subject outlines. Knowing that a certain concept has been tested will incentivize you to learn that concept so that you’ll be prepared if it is tested again. The subject outlines become far more relevant if there is a greater purpose and goal in mind when learning any given topic within them.
I hope the above will prove helpful! There is nothing at all easy about preparing for a bar exam. Having taught the exam for some time now, however, I have come to realize that if you take an approach in which you have control over the test then the entire process will become far more manageable and the end result will ultimately be much more in your favor!
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Sean Silverman tutors students who are preparing for the Florida Bar Exam and the Uniform Bar Exam. As part of Silverman Bar Preparation, he runs a blog covering a wide array of topics tested on the MBE. In addition, he has published three books, MBE Essentials, and MEE Essentials Volume 1 and Volume 2 to assist students in their preparation for the exam. For personalized assistance with the bar exam, contact Sean @ Silvermanbarprep@gmail.com.
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Did you find this post helpful? Check out some other great articles:
- Steps to Making Your Own Bar Exam Schedule
- Why Really Wanting to Pass the Bar Exam Isn’t Enough
- What You Can Do Now to Prepare for the Bar Exam
- Train Like an Athlete for the Bar Exam
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