There are two full weeks left before the bar exam. You probably know what you need to work on more than a bar review course does. Many students are afraid to stray from their Barbri schedule (lest they miss out on something!) but my suggestion is to spend a few minutes to make your own bar review schedule for the next two weeks. I can almost guarantee you will feel more comfortable with a two-week plan that is tailored specifically to you than whatever alternative plan your bar review course has in store. In order to ensure you have a solid plan, read these tips on what to include – and not include – when you make your own bar review schedule.
How to Prepare for the Multiple Choice Portion (MBE):
First, actively review an MBE topic each day. And don’t simply review one topic per day. Instead, look at each MBE subject over the course of 2 or 3 days. Not only does it make it more bearable to know that you have 2-3 days to go through a 100-page Real Property outline, but it will also help you understand and recall the information better when you “space it out.” If you only have, say, 9 days to review all of the subjects, it would still be a good idea to include more than just one subject per day. For example, instead of doing “Real Property” on Monday and “Torts” on Tuesday, do “Real Property and Torts” on Monday then “Real Property and Torts” again on Tuesday. Pair up a difficult topic with a topic that is easier for you.
Spend more time on the MBE topics that are difficult for you. If you are stellar at Torts and Constitutional Law but you really need to review Contracts and Sales, there is no reason to treat all subjects equally (in terms of the amount of time you will spend on them). You know what you need to spend time on better than a bar review course. So allocate your time accordingly.
Answer some multiple choice questions each day. Many students get sick of Barbri/Kaplan questions right about now. And many students wonder if Barbri/Kaplan questions accurately reflect the questions they will see on the actual bar exam. I suggest that you stop wondering and instead go to the National Conference of Bar Examiner’s (NCBE) website and purchase a few of their exams. (Learn more about the NCBE exams here). These NCBE exams are 100% composed of actual released bar exam questions so they will accurately reflect the kinds of questions you will see on the bar exam. You can even organize them by subject so you can do the Evidence questions on the day you review Evidence, Torts questions on the day you review Torts and so forth. The exams have explanations to the answer choices, and they show you exactly where you rank compared to others who have taken the exam. Each 100-question exam is $50.
Note that I am not affiliated with the NCBE in any way, I just love their exams. If you do not have time to take all four exams, I’d start with the last exam (MBE OPE #4) and work your way to the first one. (If you are looking for some additional MBE tips, see this post).
How to Prepare for the Michigan Essay Portion of the Bar:
When you make your own bar review schedule, make sure to review a few Michigan topics each day so that you can complete a “final review” of each topic. But before you plan out your schedule, let me save you some time:
- You have two weeks. Be smart about how you spend your valuable time. Do not spend an inordinate amount of time reviewing state topics that are unlikely to be tested (In Michigan, this is Agency, Partnership, Conflicts, Equity, Creditor’s Rights, Negotiable Instruments…the likelihood that the exam will test any one of these subjects is not high.) Spend just a little bit of time on these subjects and when you do, focus on past essay answers rather than obsessing over every little detail in your outline. Why? Because if the Board of Law Examiners does happen to test one of these subjects, whatever they test is way more likely to be something they have tested in the past, rather than some detail on page 47 of your Barbri outline.
- On the other hand, make sure to look at topics that are pretty much always tested. These include, all of the MBE subjects, and in Michigan, includes Workers’ Comp, Domestic Relations, Personal Property, Corporations, Civil Procedure, Wills OR Trusts (likely not both), Professional Responsibility…These are more worth your time because you are guaranteed to see most, if not all, of these subjects.
Secondly, when you review the subjects, plan some time to continue to answer and review essays each day. While you want to have a decent understanding of the material in your outline, it is well worth your time to focus on past essay questions and study the model answers closely. In many cases, the Board of Law Examiners re-tests what it has tested in the past.
Other Things to Include In Your Bar Review Schedule:
If possible, schedule a full practice essay exam and a full practice MBE day this week or early next week. It is best to do the full practice exam this week or early next week rather than right before the bar exam so you can have more time to learn from your mistakes and improve. If you simply do not have time to dedicate two full days to this, at least spend one day doing three hours of essay questions and three hours of multiple choice questions to get a feel for how the bar exam will be.
Lastly, do not forget to physically prepare for the bar exam. If you are studying until 3:00 AM every day and waking up at noon, it is time to change your sleep schedule now. Start getting into the habit of going to bed earlier and waking up earlier. Sleep enough. Take breaks. Exercise. And make sure you have your transportation/hotel arrangements in order.
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