Law School Classes that will Prepare you for the Uniform Bar Exam—JD Advising
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Law School Classes that will Prepare you for the Uniform Bar Exam—What to Take and What Not to Take!

If you are taking the Uniform Bar Exam, it is a great idea to get a head start on some of the tricky areas of law that you will be tested on. We highly recommend taking some law school classes that will prepare you for the uniform bar exam in addition to classes you are interested in. Here, we rank them in order of “classes you should definitely take” to classes that will not help you at all in preparation for the bar exam. Before we do this, you should know what the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) is (and you can see this post if you want to read about it in more detail). It contains three portions:

  • the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) portion, which contains 200 multiple-choice questions and is worth 50% of your score,
  • the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) portion, which is composed of 6 30-minute essay questions and is worth 30% of your score
  • the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) portion, which has two 90-minute ‘practical’ tests – where you will be asked to, for example, write an objective memo, persuasive brief, demand letter, opinion letter, etc. This does not ask you to recall any law but rather show off your lawyerly skills.

Tier One: Classes you should Definitely Take

The classes that you should definitely take in law school to prepare for the Uniform Bar Exam are classes that are double-tested on both the multiple-choice and written portion of the bar exam. Each of the following subjects will have 25 multiple-choice questions that test on them, and they could come up on the essays (the multistate essay exam portion of the UBE). These subjects are: Real Property, Torts, Evidence, Constitutional Law, Contracts & Sales, Criminal Law and Procedure, and Civil Procedure.

All are important to take! But here is what we recommend signing up for in order of most-to-least important!

  • Evidence. This is a difficult subject! You will see 25 multiple-choice questions on it and it has come up more and more on the essay portion. Take a semester to learn it rather than trying to learn it in two days. You will be very grateful you did.
  • Real Property. Some law schools do not require Real Property. If you attend one of them, make sure you take this critical class. It is difficult and, again, it could be double-tested on the multiple-choice and essay portion.
  • Contracts and Sales. Every law school that we know of requires at least one semester of Contracts. However, some do not require more than that and some do not teach sales at all. Most law schools have additional classes you can take — e.g. “Sales and Leases” or “Contracts II.” Take these classes. Again, Contracts is a difficult subject and it is double-tested. Getting as exposed to it as possible in law school is a great idea.
  • Constitutional Law. Not all schools require Constitutional Law as a first-year course, and those that do often have additional constitutional classes that they offer (e.g. Constitutional Law II, classes on the First Amendment, etc.). Take this important class in law school. It is double tested and can be tricky.
  • Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. While Criminal Law and Procedure make up 25 MBE questions (half on Criminal Law and half on Criminal Procedure), these subjects are tested a little less frequently on the MEE (the essay portion).  Further, when it is tested on the essay portion, it is tested in a semi-predictable way. Most law schools require Criminal Law as a first-year course. (If yours doesn’t, you should probably take it!) I (Ashley Heidemann) did not take Criminal Procedure and didn’t think it was that hard to learn during bar prep, but if I could go back, I would take it to be as prepared as possible.
  • Lastly, we assume Torts and Civil Procedure are required at your law school as they are required at all schools that we know of! However, if they are not, take these important classes to help yourself on the multiple-choice and written portion of the bar exam!

Tier Two: Classes that are a Good Idea to Take

These law school classes are a good idea to take to prepare for the Uniform Bar Exam but not essential. These classes are only tested on the multistate essay exam (MEE) portion of the bar exam. So you may see an essay question on them (but you also may not!) We recommend you take these classes and in this order:

  • Secured Transactions. We recommend this one first because it has been coming up more frequently (and is such a difficult subject!).
  • Business Organizations or Corporations, Agency, and Partnership. Corporations is especially hard for bar exam students to learn in just a lecture or two. So if your law school splits Corporations and Agency & Partnership into two classes, take Corporations! (I didn’t take it in law school and I truly regretted it when I was studying for the bar exam!) This is, again, tested on the written portion with Corporations & LLC’s being tested about half the time and Agency & Partnership being tested the other half.
  • Trusts and Estates. This one is trickier for some students! So it is not a bad idea to get some background on it in law school.
  • Family Law. This one could go into category three (of optional classes) since it is not that hard to learn. However, since it is semi-frequently tested and since many commercial courses do not have the greatest family law outlines, it does not hurt to get some extra background on the subject.

Tier Three: Optional Classes

These show up on the bar exam but are not as important to take:

  • Conflict of Laws. This is tested on the MEE but is not a “standalone” subject – so you won’t see it tested by itself but rather, will see it combined with other subjects. Further, it does not show up very often! And when it does, it is tested in semi-predictable ways. We even predicted exactly how it would be tested in July 2017!
  • Classes or Real Life Experience (clinic, internship) that will help with your writing. Now, in reality, this could be a “tier one” or “tier two” recommendation. However, we left it at tier three because (a) the other classes will help you with substance, which is invaluable, (b) it is often hard to improve your writing with just one class, and (c) they will help you more indirectly than directly. However, these classes are still important to take as writing is important – especially on the MPT, where you will have to respond to a task in about 90 minutes. If you are taking a writing class or internship with the goal of improving your writing for the bar exam, take something that (a) will help you with practical tasks (like where you have to write a brief, demand letter, objective memo, opinion letter, complaint, etc.), and (b) will offer frequent feedback (this is how you improve!).

Classes you can Leave Behind

The following subjects are not tested on the Uniform Bar Exam, so there is no need to take them if your sole purpose is to prepare for the Uniform bar exam.

  • Immigration
  • Bankruptcy
  • Tax Law
  • Negotiable Instruments (this used to be tested on the UBE but is not anymore!)

If you have any questions or comments about specific classes that will prepare you for the bar exam in your specific state, feel free to post them below or contact us here. We are happy to help you create the best class schedule possible! Good luck registering for classes!

Looking to start early studying for the bar exam?

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