Uniform Bar Exam Tips – 10 Top Tips to Study Effectively for the UBE
We are often asked what our top uniform bar exam tips are. While studying approaches do vary from student to student, there are some techniques that we have found particularly successful. Here are 10 uniform bar exam tips to help make your study more effective!
Uniform Bar Exam Tips – 10 Top Tips to Study Effectively for the UBE
1. Take the MPT seriously from the beginning.
Do not leave your review of the MPT for the two weeks leading up to the exam. Take your MPT prep seriously! The MPT is worth 20% of the overall score—or the same as 70 MBE questions!. Take advantage of the fact that you don’t need to have any law memorized to pass this part of the exam. But make sure that you feel comfortable with the types of tasks you may encounter (e.g., objective memos, persuasive briefs, demand letters, etc.). It is equally important to complete the MPTs on time! Do a few timed MPTs during the first few weeks of bar study and see how you do. This will give you an idea of how much you need to practice the MPT prior to exam day.
While taking the MPT seriously seems like one of the more obvious uniform bar exam tips, it is one that many well-intentioned students do not follow! You will do yourself a huge favor if you take this tip seriously from the beginning!
2. It’s OK to alter the study schedule provided by your commercial course.
Students are generally hesitant to make alterations to the study schedules created by their commercial bar prep courses. But keep in mind that one schedule does not meet everyone’s needs. Maybe you had an excellent Contracts professor in law school and you feel comfortable as you do the practice essays and multiple-choice questions. But maybe you have some real gaps when it comes to Real Property. Take a few extra days as needed to learn the concepts you struggle with (e.g., mortgages, recording statutes, etc.).
3. You don’t have to study 10-12 hours every day to pass the exam.
Students often lament that they have to spend 10, 12 or even 14 hours a day continuously studying. This is not necessary. Nor is it sustainable over the course of several months of bar study. Do you remember the law of diminishing returns from economics class? It basically states that at a certain point the benefits one gains from continuing to engage in an activity are less than the amount of energy invested. You have to figure out at what point you are no longer absorbing the information in front of you.
Instead of studying longer, study smarter! Follow these uniform bar exam tips to make sure you are studying efficiently (especially tip#5 below!). Then, take breaks 5-10 minute breaks for each hour of study. Also, set aside time to eat healthy meals and exercise.
4. Doing questions without reviewing the explanations will only get you so far.
Students often become frustrated when they do 30 or 40 MBE questions a day for a week or two and do not see any improvement in their scores. The way to get the most out of doing practice questions is by thoroughly reviewing the answer to each question. It’s important to understand the explanation for the correct answer choice. But it’s equally important to take the time to understand why each of the incorrect choices is wrong.
Please see our post on how many MBE questions to do per day here.
5. Evaluate your study methods periodically.
Take some time each week to see what study methods have or haven’t been working for you (e.g., watching lectures again, writing flashcards, etc.). If something isn’t working for you try a different approach.
Also, study at your most productive time of day. Some people are more productive in the morning, while others are more productive in the evening. Actively review (e.g., do practice MBEs, essay questions or MPTs) during your most productive time of day. This will help you to maximize your study time. If you are a night owl, you will want to slowly adjust to studying during the time you will be taking the exam a few weeks before the exam. It is a good to start transitioning to reviewing in the morning and afternoon a few weeks before the exam.
6. Gradually build up your concentration to avoid testing fatigue.
At the beginning of bar study almost no one has the mental strength to power through two consecutive days of testing (6 hours each day with a lunch break). In law school, the longest in-class exams are generally four or five hours long (and you are only tested on one subject!). It takes practice to tackle the last essay, MPT or multiple-choice question of the session with the same level of concentration you had for the first question(s) of the session. Start by taking one timed essay question, and gradually increasing the amount of essays you answer in a timed session.
Do the same with the MBE — start answering 33 questions in an hour. Then build up to 66 questions in two hours, then 100 questions in three hours, etc.
7. Reward yourself at the end of each week of bar prep.
Give yourself something to look forward to at the end of each week of bar study. This will help to re-energize you for the next week of studying. See a movie or grab a meal with a friend. Get a massage. Go on a hike. Draw or paint. Do something you enjoy (and something that is completely unrelated to bar study)! Do your best to turn your mind off for a bit. Recovery is an essential part of exercising and it is an equally important component of studying for the bar exam.
8. If you are hoping a particular subject won’t be tested on the MEE, take the time to review it!
Every administration a student will say that he or she hopes a specific subject (e.g., Secured Transactions) won’t be tested on the essays and avoids studying that subject. And then that subject shows up on the exam and they regret not even skimming their outline. Don’t make this mistake! If you at least know the basic concepts and the appropriate legal terminology, you can still pick up some points. Some points are better than no points. The worst thing you can do is leave a question unanswered.
If you are looking for an overview of the highly-tested areas of law on the MEE, check out our MEE one-sheets. These give you an overview of the highly-tested areas of the MEE in one sheet, front and back. Read more about our MEE one-sheets here.
9. Finish looking over all of the subjects about three weeks before the exam.
Do your best to finishing reviewing each of the subjects three weeks before the exam. This will give you ample time to do both timed and untimed practice essay questions, multiple-choice questions and MPTs. You should also take this time to review and commit to memory any highly tested areas of law that you haven’t already memorized. You’ll be less stressed if you are not struggling to learn new areas of law too close to the exam date. You can also attend our MEE Seminar as a great last-minute review of MEE material.
10. Don’t do any practice exams too close to exam day.
Don’t do any practice exams during the five days leading up to exam day. This is not the time to shake your confidence. Be confident in the time you have spent reviewing thus far. You also don’t want to burn out by doing half-day or full-day practice exams so close to exam day. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t do practice questions – just don’t do practice exams!
We hope the these uniform bar exam tips are helpful! To read all of our Uniform Bar Exam Tips, please see these posts.
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