How To Pass The Bar Exam In Two Weeks
As you prepare for the bar exam, you’ll likely hear a lot of different advice from a variety of sources. One piece of advice surrounds how long you should spend preparing for the bar exam. We’ve even written many blog posts about making sure you have around 8-10 weeks to prepare for the bar exam. But, what do you do if you don’t have that kind of time, or you realize you’re behind in your studies? Below, we’re including our best tips on how to pass the bar exam in two weeks.
How To Pass The Bar Exam In Two Weeks
Don’t waste time.
On the surface, not wasting time seems incredibly obvious with so little time to go before the bar exam. But, how exactly do you make the most of your time in the final two-week stretch? What might you still be doing that is wasting time and putting you at a disadvantage when it comes to bar prep? We discuss this in more detail below.
Focus on highly-tested topics
This is probably the single best piece of advice we can give to those who are preparing for the bar exam at the last minute or who might be behind in their studies. Some topics are much more likely to appear on the bar exam than others. Since your time is limited, the best way to make the most of it is to make sure you’re spending time with material that is likely going to appear on the bar exam! Some topics might appear on both the MEE as well as dozens of MBE questions. Other topics might only account for an MBE question or two.
If you haven’t started studying for a particular subject matter, figure out what topics are most likely to appear on the bar exam, and start there! If there’s a topic that’s not likely to be tested, and you’re spending a lot of your time trying to wrap your mind around it, stop there! Move on to something that’s more likely to appear on the bar exam.
We’re including the MBE Frequency Charts below. Take a look at Torts. Negligence accounts for 50% of the torts questions on the MBE. That’s nearly 12-13 questions! If you haven’t visited Torts at all during your studying, focusing on negligence is a great place to start. This is because it’s most likely to appear on the bar exam!
Another example can be garnered from the MEE. Look at how frequently Civil Procedure appears on the MEE using the chart below. If you have time to do some extra essays, adding a couple of civil procedure essays to the mix will likely pay off in the long run!
Stop listening to lectures
Lectures can be an incredibly helpful tool to introduce you to and acquaint you with the material that you’re likely to see on the bar exam. That being said, two weeks beforehand is not the time to still be listening to lectures! Why? Listening to lectures is a passive study technique. While they certainly can be effective in introducing you to material, your time can be better spent at this time in the process by working on memorization and application of rules; not merely listening to them!
If you have not covered a topic in law school or during bar prep and need to listen to a lecture to understand it, then make sure you are “actively” listening to it by taking notes.
Stop writing your own outlines
Working off of or creating a good outline is an important component of passing the bar. At this point in the process, however, memorizing the applicable law is going to be key. If you don’t have your outlines finished, spending your study time working on outlines instead of studying and memorizing outlines will not be as fruitful at this point in the bar exam prep period. Instead, find a commercial outline and use that for the last two weeks if your outlines are not finished! This will help you focus your efforts on memorizing the applicable law!
Start learning law
At this point in the bar prep process, you should focus on learning and memorizing the law. Sound daunting? Start by focusing on highly-tested topics! As we mentioned above, this information is most likely to appear on the bar exam, so learning the law on highly-tested topics is time well spent! If you want some more information about how the law might be used on different portions of the bar exam, check out our guides! We have guides for the MPT, and MBE, all of which can be helpful in the weeks leading up to the bar exam!
While we certainly emphasize the need to both learn and memorize the law, keep in mind that it is impossible to learn everything that might appear on the bar exam (even if you spend 8-10 weeks studying and stay on track!). Nobody expects you to know every detail, but if you can focus on what is most likely to appear on the bar exam and understand that subject matter, your chances are greater that you will succeed on the bar exam!
Bullet point essays
The UBE doesn’t have a minimum essay or MBE score that you need in order to pass. This means that if you’re struggling with the MBE but doing well on essays, over half of your passing score on the UBE could come from the MEE/MPT.
In the days leading up to the bar exam, it’s easier for most people to significantly improve their essay score as opposed to their MBE score. What’s one way to do this? Bullet point your essays! If you don’t have time to write a full essay, you can still practice by using bullet points. For each issue, write down the rule and some supporting facts, then check and self-grade your answer. This allows you to go through more essays in a shorter period of time while still familiarizing yourself with the law!
While bullet pointing your essays can help you familiarize yourself with the law, you should still write out some essays in full so you can work on your timing. This brings us to a sub-tip: if you start to run out of time on the test day, try bullet pointing your essays. You likely won’t receive full credit, but you should still be able to get some points (which is better than leaving an essay blank!). We have seen many actual graded essays where students score high from bullet pointing!
Pay attention to the MPT
For whatever reason, many students completely bypass the MPT when preparing. These students operate under the false assumption that because all of the information to answer the MPT is provided to you, there’s little to do to prepare. This is not true! We recommend practicing the MPT so you can get used to the types of tasks that might be asked, familiarize yourself with the timeframe for answering questions, and get acquainted with the type of materials you’ll see on the MPT.
The MPT is worth twenty percent of your UBE score (the equivalent of 70 MBE questions!). By spending some time on the MPT, you might be able to earn 80-100% of the points for each task! This could be the difference between passing or failing, especially if you are having trouble memorizing the law!
Do not try to answer 100 MBE questions per day
Answering 100 MBE questions per day (unless part of timed practice) in the final weeks leading up to test day can be a waste of time. When students do this, they tend to just focus on the number of questions they answered correctly or incorrectly. Instead, focus on quality over quantity! Try answering a smaller number of MBE questions, but go through each question slowly and really understand why you got an answer right or wrong. This helps you get a better feel for how certain material might appear on the MBE.
Also, make sure you’re using real MBE questions! Many bar prep companies include simulated MBE questions with their courses. You might not be studying with the real deal. Real MBE questions are the closest to the MBE questions you’ll actually see on the bar exam! Where can you find real MBE questions? We sell access to our MBE QBank (containing nearly 2,000 real MBE questions!) through our website.
Mindset is important
In the two weeks leading up to the bar exam, staying in the right mindset is important! You can help boost your confidence using positive affirmations, visualization and meditation techniques. Believing that you can pass the bar exam can be just as important as reviewing MBE questions and practicing MEEs!
To work on your mindset, try starting with some positive affirmations. These can be simple. For example, start with “I can pass the bar exam.” Don’t just say the phrase in your head, say it out loud! Verbalize your positive affirmation to a friend, a family member, your pet, or even just say it aloud to yourself! Hearing yourself say that you can pass will help you believe that you can actually pass!
You can also incorporate some visualization exercises with your positive affirmation. Close your eyes and visualize yourself passing the bar exam. Try to think of everything from what you’re wearing to the feeling of your laptop keys as you type an essay. Visualize the feeling of confidently walking out of the testing center having put the bar exam behind you. Like hearing yourself say that you can pass the bar exam, visualizing yourself passing the bar exam can help you believe that you can actually pass!
Also, meditation can be a powerful tool to help calm your mind in the days before. If you feel that anxiety creeping in or find yourself thinking about the bar exam, even when you’re trying to take a study break, meditating might be a helpful way to clear your mind so you can feel refreshed when you pick up your studying! Keep in mind that meditation can be a powerful tool even when you’re not prepping. If you still find yourself getting distracted when waiting for your results, meditation might also be helpful!
Lastly, tell yourself you are “excited about the bar exam.” A study by Harvard showed that students that said “I am excited” before a math test scored 8% higher on that math test than the control group (that did nothing at all) and than the group that tried to relax before the test. If you are feeling nervous, channel that energy into being excited about the exam. You might just boost your score!
Don’t forget about breaks
This point is important throughout your bar prep, including in the last couple of weeks before the bar exam. Don’t forget to take breaks, even if you are behind in your studies! Taking a break allows your brain to recharge. This makes it more likely you will be able to recall the material when it appears on the bar exam!
That being said, your breaks in the weeks leading up to the bar exam might be a little bit different. This is especially true if you are behind in your studies! Try to make sure your breaks are actually allowing you to recharge instead of a time when you find yourself getting stressed about something else. If you find yourself getting too consumed with social media, now might be the perfect time to pause checking your accounts. Instead, try going for a short walk or talk to a supportive friend or family member. The purpose of taking a break is to get back into studying feeling refreshed, not drained!
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