How To Study For The Bar Exam Without A Bar Prep Course
From even before law school begins, you’ll start to hear people talking about studying for the bar. Then, throughout law school, you’ll hear, “You’ll need to know this when you take the bar.” The truth is, often just going through law school doesn’t adequately prepare you to take and pass the bar exam. Unless, you live in a state with diploma privilege, you’ll need to dedicate a good amount of time studying for the bar. Many students opt to enroll in commercial courses to prepare them for the bar exam. Commercial courses can be expensive, and they aren’t always an option for all law students. If you want to study for the bar exam without a bar prep course, keep reading!
How To Study For The Bar Exam Without A Bar Prep Course
1. Create and keep a schedule!
When you study for the bar exam, it’s crucial that you create a schedule for yourself. This is especially important if you plan to prepare for the bar exam without a bar prep course. In commercial courses, you would be provided with a strict schedule to stick to. If you are self-studying, you will still need to hold yourself to similar standards.
A good bar exam study schedule should include things like exercise, enough time for sleep, and some time to relax. After all, you won’t be able to do well on the bar exam if you aren’t healthy! Keeping yourself healthy will keep your mind sharp. That said, make sure you hold yourself accountable. Making it through the majority of your bar prep is key to passing! If you plan to study for the bar exam without a bar prep course, check out our sample bar exam study schedule.
2. Purchase some supplements if possible.
Purchasing supplemental books and other materials can be a cost-effective alternative to commercial bar prep courses. It can be the difference between a few hundred dollars and a few thousand dollars. If it is within your budget, purchasing some supplemental materials if you are studying for the bar exam without a bar prep course is a great investment. After all, not passing the bar can mean lost wages, additional fees, and more purchasing of study materials. If possible, try to budget for purchasing at least a few good supplemental materials.
The National Conference of Bar Examiners sells study aids. JD Advising also offers effective and affordable supplements to add to your study rotation. Try checking out our MBE Question Bank or our MPT Guide. And if purchasing supplements isn’t an option for you…
3. Make the most of free resources
People often study for the bar exam without a bar prep course because bar prep courses can be too expensive for some students. Often these same students also can’t afford to purchase a bunch of supplemental study materials. Though they are limited, there are some valuable, free resources out there for bar exam prep. For example, the National Conference of Bar Examiners releases a limited about of past questions for the MBE, MEE, and MPT. If you jurisdiction writes its own questions, like the Michigan essay portion of the bar exam, for example, do some research. Most state bar examiners release a limited number of past questions. Often companies or bar prep tutors draft their own practice questions. These can be helpful, but it’s best to go right to the source!
In addition to actual practice materials, JD Advising’s YouTube channel offers a number of videos covering the content of various bar exams. Spend a bit of time reviewing our videos and doing your own research. There are plenty of effective, free bar prep materials available online. Use these things to supplement your studies is a great way to prepare for the bar exam!
4. Study smart
If you are studying for the bar exam without a bar prep course, you’ll be responsible for making your own study schedule. That means, you should make a study schedule with the highly tested areas of law in mind. This way you’ll be studying smarter and not harder!
Focus your study time on highly tested areas of law. This doesn’t mean you should ignore other topics that may be tested on the bar exam, but you shouldn’t allocate study time equally. For example on the Multi-State Bar Exam, the National Conference of Bar Examiners tells us that the multiple-choice questions are divided equally among Torts, Evidence, Real Property, Contracts and Sales, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law and Procedure, and Constitutional Law. However, within Torts, for example, Negligence is tested much more than something like strict liability. Your study time should reflect these differences. For more information on highly tested MBE topics, check out our blog.
The essay portions of exams (including the Multi-state Practical Exam) are harder to predict. That said, there are plenty of free resources that catalog highly tested essay topics. Our blog is one of those resources!
Overall, the task of studying for the bar exam without a bar prep course can be difficult. You’ll need to be disciplined and organized, but we know you can do it. Good luck!
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