Advice For Taking Back-To-Back Bar Exams
Imagine. There you are, walking out of the bar exam and feeling like you’re on top of the world. You’ve given everything to a test that has infiltrated every aspect of your life for the past two months. Now imagine that you hop on a plane, fly to another state, and take a different bar exam! Surely, nobody in their right mind would do this, right? Wrong. Each year hundreds of students take back-to-back bar exams.
Advice For Taking Back-To-Back Bar Exams
While it might sound intense (it is), taking back-to-back bar exams occurs more regularly than you might think. For out-of-state law students, students who move immediately after taking their first exam, or students wanting to potentially practice in another jurisdiction, back-to-back exams are a common occurrence. For example, many students from New York who attend law school in California might complete back-to-back tests. They may see themselves practicing in one location for now but in the other location in the future. Regardless of the reasoning, taking two bar exams back-to-back is not for the faint of heart. Here are our tips for students planning to take back-to-back bar exams.
Don’t Start Preparing For The Second Exam Immediately
Taking one bar exam is draining enough. Taking two bar exams back-to-back? Even more so! Be sure to take time in between bar exams to rest and decompress from the prior exam. Regardless of whichever test you took first, your brain has been on overdrive from studying, preparing, and actually taking the exam. Like a car on a long road trip, you need to stop and refuel. Take some time to relax before you start preparing and studying for the second exam. Everyone’s definition of relaxation is different, so do whatever works best for you! This might mean taking a trip, spending time with friends and family, or getting back into a hobby.
Be Aware Of Formatting Changes
Different bar exams have different formats. For example, while California does utilize the MBE portion of the exam, it has its own essay portion. Similarly, Florida also administers its own essay portion of the exam. The New York Bar Exam utilizes the UBE format. This is important for students who plan to take back-to-back exams because the approaches to preparing might differ. In short, you likely won’t prepare for each exam in the same way. For instance, the California Bar Exam asks five essay questions that are designed to take an hour each. Contrarily, the New York Bar Exam asks six essay questions, with each meant to be answered in thirty minutes. Therefore, you’re not going to practice writing long elaborate answers if you’re preparing for the New York Bar Exam. However, you will if you are preparing for the California Bar Exam. Be sure to review how each exam tests the material so you can plan and study accordingly!
Don’t Confuse The Law
Each bar exam requires you to know different materials. For students planning to take two bar exams back-to-back, you really don’t want to mix up the law! Talking about California-specific law on the New York Bar Exam is a sure way to let the graders know you’re confused (and lose valuable points)! For example, consider that California Bar Exam requires that students know certain community property concepts. New York on the other hand is not a state that focuses on community property material. Therefore, making sure to keep one state’s body of laws separated from another state’s is crucial. This might mean using separate study materials, bar prep courses, and supplemental resources.
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