How to Study Efficiently for the Bar Exam
You may be wondering how to study efficiently for the bar exam. Many students quickly realize when embarking on their bar exam preparation that time is their most valuable asset. It is no secret that you cannot cram for the bar exam at the last minute and that spending your time effectively is critical if you want to pass the bar exam. We also find that a lot of students waste valuable time because they have not figured out how to study efficiently for the bar exam.
Here, we give you a few tips on how to study efficiently for the bar exam so that you do not waste any of your valuable study time!
How to Study Efficiently for the Bar Exam
1. Focus on the highly tested topics and subjects.
One of the most daunting aspects of the bar exam is the sheer amount of information you have at your disposal. If you are in a Uniform Bar Exam state, you have at least 14 subjects to learn and some states have even more subjects than that. However, you should take comfort in the fact that you do not need to know every rule to pass the bar exam. In fact, some “rules” are worth a lot more points than others. And many rules are tested over and over again in the same way!
Your goal is not to learn every single rule of law. Rather, your goal is to pass the bar exam. So focus on the rules that will help you meet that goal!
- Check out the highly tested MBE topics here. You will see, for example, that negligence is worth 12-13 points on the MBE. But something like present and future interests is likely worth 2-3 points max! Thus, it is well worth it to focus on the big-ticket items that will give you the potential to maximize your score!
- If you are in a Uniform Bar Exam or Multistate Essay Exam jurisdiction, check out the highly tested MEE topics here (or purchase our MEE one-sheets here!). We have a great overview of the topics you want to be most aware of when studying for the MEE.
2. Stick to one outline per subject.
Students drive themselves crazy trying to cross-reference seven different Real Property outlines and learn all of them. The problem with using multiple outlines per subject is two-fold. First, you waste time worrying about what is in one and what isn’t in the other–rather than just focusing on learning what is there. Second, since the information will inevitably be set up in a different way in each outline, you are making it harder for yourself to memorize the information!
We recommend you stick to one outline per subject. Pick one that is manageable but not too simplified. (If your Real Property outline is 7 pages long, it is not long enough. If is 150 pages long, it is too long! An MBE outline should be about 40-60 pages and an MEE or state-specific essay outline should be shorter than that.
3. Use real MBE questions from the beginning.
Many students use course-invented multistate bar exam questions and then find themselves frustrated when they get to the real bar exam since the MBE questions on the real exam inevitably look much different than the questions that your course has invented. We highly recommend using real bar exam questions when you practice–and use them right from the beginning. This will prepare you best for what you will see on the MBE. It will save you a lot of frustration down the line and will give you a good gauge of your performance.
4. Do not watch lecture if it is not helpful.
Many first-time bar exam takers biggest regret is they spend four hours a day on lecture and do not get anything out of it. They often say they feel like stenographers, filling in blanks on a lecture handout but not really digesting the information.
If lecture is not helpful, stop going. Or minimize the time you spend on it (speed up the lectures to 1.5x or 2x the speed). Do not waste so much of your valuable study time on something that is not exponentially increasing your score!
If you do find lecture helpful, then great. Keep attending. It still may be worth it to see if you can minimize the time you spend on lecture (i.e., by speeding up the lecture) so you can fit more in your day.
5. Do not make flashcards for everything!
So many students fall into the trap of making 10,000 bar exam flashcards. This is a mistake. Flashcards can be helpful but they are not something you want to spend all of your time on. The problem with flashcards is that they do not give you a good “bigger picture” of the law (like an outline does) and many students who are lacking this bigger picture have no idea how pieces of the law fit together.
Another problem with flashcards is that students often spend so much time making them (and half the time when they make the flashcards, they have the tv on in the background or are otherwise not focusing on what they are doing so even the process of making them isn’t that helpful). Further, many of these students never take the time to review the flashcards that they make since they are spending too long making them!
The best way to use flashcards, if you feel as though you learn well from flashcards, is to make flashcards for very specific portions of your outline–e.g., if you struggle with memorizing hearsay exceptions you could make flashcards for that portion of your outline. Then, after you make them, make sure you are taking the time to review them.
We hope these tips help you study efficiently for the bar exam! If you have any questions, feel free to post below or contact us!
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