8 Things I Wish I Knew Before the Bar Exam: The following post is a list of wishes a student who passed the bar exam on her fifth try came up with. Use them as guideposts to make sure you are fully ready before the bar exam!
8 Things I Wish I Knew Before The Bar Exam
1. I wish I took all bar related elective courses. These courses would have helped better prepare me for those state specific subjects on the bar exam.
While it is not necessary to take bar-related courses, it can certainly be helpful. If your state loves to test Secured Transactions, for example, it is much easier to learn this over the course of a semester than it is in two days of bar prep!
2. I wish I knew how intense the MBE was. I wish I practiced more multiple-choice while in law school and took every subject on the MBE.
Some subjects that are covered on the MBE are not required at every school. These include Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Sales, and Constitutional Law. Make sure to take MBE-related classes (Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts & Sales, Criminal Law & Procedure, Real Property, Evidence, Torts) and any classes that are related to those classes.
It would also be helpful to take classes that have multiple-choice portions on their exam so you can practice this skill.
3. I wish I saved more money to help cut down cost while I was studying and not working.
This is a very common regret. Applying for the bar and sitting for it is more expensive than many students realize. Save even more money than you think you will need, especially if you don’t plan on working. (We recommend you take time off of work, if possible!)
4. I wish I knew real MBE practice questions were available.
Many students who take commercial courses do not realize that “real” multiple-choice questions from past bar exams are available. Unfortunately, many commercial courses do not pay for the license to use them! You can find real questions by using Adaptibar, Strategies and Tactics (we recommend the 6th Edition), or going on the NCBE website. See this post for more on where to find real MBE questions.
5. I wish I looked into bar prep courses other than Barbri and Kaplan as they are not fit for everyone.
Everyone learns differently. Some students need smaller, more intensive courses that offer more one-on-one attention (like our courses do!). Others do fine with a bigger commercial course. The point is to look into your options early to determine what works best for you!
You can also consider what worked for you when you studied for the LSAT. If a commercial course was fine, then it may be fine for the bar exam. If a commercial course didn’t work out for you, no need to repeat the same mistake again when you sign up for a bar review course!
6. I wish I explored the option of bar tutoring services early on.
Many students find tutoring beneficial, regardless of whether they take a commercial course or not. Some of our students have never used tutoring for anything in their lives but find it immensely helpful when it comes to the bar exam.
7. I wish I interned in a law firm specializing in multiple areas of law tested on the bar. This would have given me hands on experience that could have been beneficial to my success on those bar subjects.
You can learn a subject well by working in the field with the subject! For example, many of our students who intern at the prosecutor’s office find that criminal law comes naturally to them! It also looks good on their resume!
8. I wish I started studying many months (6 months) earlier for the bar instead of starting (2 months) before my first bar exam.
Not everyone needs to start bar prep early, but there are many students who should start bar prep early. If you are wondering if you are one of them, see this post. Starting early will rarely hurt you; it will generally only help you!