Five Keys To Passing The Bar Exam
We know the bar exam is incredibly demanding. Preparing yourself for this test is tiring, challenging, and stressful. You may often find yourself wondering where to start, what more you need to do, or whether you are adequately prepared for the bar exam. If you fall into this group, be sure to check out our other post on how to know if you’re prepared for the bar exam. We understand asking yourself these questions. To help, here are five keys to passing the bar exam you should always consider!
Five Keys To Passing The Bar Exam
1. Memorize the black letter law
We always emphasize the need for memorizing black letter law. You should aim memorize and comprehend every inch of black letter law. Full memorization will require a lot of work and a specific plan. Begin by utilizing your bar exam outline. Some students choose to create their own outlines for extra review. Others prefer to jump into memorization from pre-made brief outlines from their bar prep company. There is no one right way, so choose what best works for you. Here are some memorization techniques to help you succeed.
Once you have some memorization complete, you will want to test your retention by being sure you can recite the law without any outside help. That is how you will know you have correctly prepared and memorized for the bar examination. Having black letter law memorized well will translate to better application of the law overall, paving the way to you passing the bar exam!
2. Remain calm
Questioning yourself and whether you are capable of passing the bar exam will do nothing but waste valuable study time. We know that bar preparation is tiring and stressful. However, it must be done thoroughly to pass the bar. Therefore, you must find ways to keep yourself calm and avoid unnecessary stress.
If you are going to pass the bar exam, you need to remain incredibly focused. Focus requires you to skip any time spent questioning your abilities. Instead, visualize your success on the exam and begin working your way towards it one day at a time. We also understand this can sometimes be easier said than done, so just in case, here are some tips if you become panicked during your bar prep. Utilizing the resources available to you will be beneficial and give you the techniques you need to reset your mind and get back to the critical work at hand. Everyone feels the pressure of the bar exam; just don’t let it take you over!
3. Practice pushes you closer to perfect
Practice is going to push you as close to perfect as you can get! For this reason, it would be best if you practice questions and essays as much as you can. A successful student will work their way through roughly 1,000 questions and 100 essays. Check out this post on how many essays should you complete before the bar exam and how many MBE questions to work through! These exercises take time and dedication, so be prepared to dedicate a lot of time. However, doing these questions is not enough. You also need to carve out time to review.
Your review will be a crucial part of your practice, as it will break down the areas you are falling short in and help you get where you need to be. Additionally, we learn from our mistakes, and bar prep is no different. Taking time to address where you went wrong, and learning the correct answer will better preserve that information in your mind for exam day. Just be sure to begin your practice early enough to give yourself time to work through all the questions you need to complete as well as sufficient review. One thousand questions and 100 essays require a lot of hours. Plowing through them last minute will be a waste of time and materials, so plan well and spread the wealth throughout your study schedule.
4. Treat studying like your job
When you began law school, you probably approached your 1L schedule like a job. You knew what you had to accomplish and when to finish the. You had a daily schedule with alarms to stick to, and you could only “clock out” once you completed all your responsibilities for the day. Now is the time to bring that mindset back into play. Treating your bar prep like a full-time job will keep you accountable to your schedule and study requirements you have set for yourself.
To accomplish this, first, be sure you have a reliable study schedule designed for you. We all come to bar prep with different personal responsibilities we must schedule around. Take stock of what is in your life for the next couple of months and allocate time for it. Your bar prep should include important life events like weddings, birthdays, or other gatherings but should not be scheduled around a busy social calendar. Be sure that bar prep is your priority. Alert family and friends of your new schedule, so they know not to burden you with errands or social gatherings.
Afterward, begin to schedule your bar exam work. Once your schedule is done and you are ready to begin, wake up every day and treat your studying as if you are going to work. We recommend getting ready in the morning, as it puts you in the right mindset for a long day of hard work. Further, approaching this schedule as a job will keep you accountable from the first week to the last.
5. Understand the exam you are about to take
The last of our keys to passing the bar exam is to understand the exam. Formatting, question structures, question-wording, and so on, will help you better prepare yourself for test day. We recommend you go back through at least ten years’ worth of old bar exams to review. You want to understand what will be asked of you before you sit down for your bar examination. There is no better resource for this than the actual tests previous students sat for. Previous exams will give you exposure to real bar exam questions you can expect to see and more substantial confidence with the overall bar exam format. Here are some tips on where to find practice MEEs and real MBE questions. You want to limit the number of surprises you will face as you sit for the bar exam, so don’t skip this step. Exam knowledge will give you greater confidence and thorough practice necessary to pass the bar exam!
We know bar prep is a long, exhausting journey. There is so much material to work through, and the exam is always looming overhead. However, if you stick to what is essential, memorize the law, practice using past essays and MBE questions, rely on your schedule, and stay calm, you will surely be putting yourself on track for passing the bar exam!
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