Finishing law school is a daunting but exciting time of your life. There are so many moving parts, deadlines, and steps you must take before you are able to practice law. And since there is a lot of confusing information out there, it can be challenging to figure out what you need to do when, what is important, or even what is required! Preparing for the bar is a confusing and difficult time in every law student’s life. Fortunately, I have been navigating through it and am gearing up to take the bar in July. In order to assist you in some of this huge but exciting change, I have answered some questions that you may be asking in thinking about bar prep. Hopefully these answers will shed some light on what bar prep is all about and will make you feel more prepared for your next steps!
What do you Mean by “Bar Prep”?
Bar prep encompases a lot of things. It is preparation for the bar exam. This can mean actual preparation for the bar exam, prepping for the bar application process, and general preparation relating to getting ready for the bar.
What is the Bar Exam?
The bar exam is every law student’s least favorite topic. Basically it is the last final exam you will take in law school but it tests a variety of subjects chosen by your prospective state’s bar. It is a long, two or three* day exam that consists of a multiple choice portion and essay portion. If you are a new applicant, you must take and pass the bar exam of your prospective state as part of your application for licensure.
*amount of days depends on jurisdiction.
What is Tested on the Bar Exam?
Most states administer the MBE (Multistate Bar Exam) for the multiple-choice sections of the bar exam. Many states also administer the UBE (Uniform Bar Exam). However, the topics and qualifications of the bar exam vary by jurisdiction. You can look at what your state requires by following this link: http://www.ncbex.org/exams/mbe/.
When is the Bar Exam?
Since most states administer the MBE, they must be tested on the same day. Typically the bar exam is given in the last week of February and the last week of July. However, North Dakota and Delaware sometimes test only once a year in July if they do not have enough applicants. Louisiana does not administer the MBE, so test days may differ.
What Electives should I Take to Prepare for the Bar Exam?
Taking bar exam electives is a great way to prepare for the bar exam. These give you an understanding of what the black letter law for that area of law is. You should research what topics are on the bar exam you plan on taking and choose electives from that list.
When should I Start Bar Prep?
There is no right or wrong answer for this question. You should start bar prep when you think it is appropriate. Personally, I suggest starting preparation early because that will help you in the long run. You can prepare by getting information about the bar exam, gathering your application materials, or taking courses that deal with topics on the bar exam.
Should I get a Bar Prep Course?
Everyone is different and everyone has different needs when it comes to studying. People have passed without bar prep courses, however, your chances of passing your first time go up significantly if you take a bar prep course and take it seriously. You will have to decide for yourself what would be best for you and if you believe it is worth it to sign-up for one.
What Kind of Bar Prep should I Enroll in?
Again, this is a question that will require some personal reflection. There are many different kinds of bar prep out there to assist you in what you may need. There is private tutoring, commercial courses, private company bar prep courses, prep books, selective courses, and many other resources. It is best to know what kind of curriculum and format each company or individual provides so that you can decide what is best for you.
Should I be Worried about Bar Prep?
You are thinking ahead, which is great! It is easy to be worried and overwhelmed through this process. You should be concerned about doing well and taking your preparation seriously. However, if you are reading this, you are already there.
Bar Prep – No Sweat!
You are already taking an important step in your bar preparation, you are searching for information and resources to help you along the way! Preparing for the bar can be a confusing and challenging task. You are getting ahead of the curve and thinking ahead about the end goal. Hopefully now you feel a little more prepared and comfortable with some of your questions answered. If you have any questions or follow-ups, please let me know! Nevertheless, you are doing great, and I know you will be successful in your bar preparation!