How to Make a Uniform Bar Exam Study Schedule
A good bar exam study schedule is crucial. It can ensure that you allocate the proper amount of time to studying each subject. It gives you a sense of control, can decrease stress, and can help keep your days and weeks more organized (and therefore, more efficient). In this post, we talk about how to make a uniform bar exam study schedule. We tell you how to make both a weekly bar exam schedule as well as how to make a daily bar exam study schedule.
In order to make your uniform bar exam study schedule, it will be helpful if you have a blank weekly calendar in front of you.
How to Make a Uniform Bar Exam Study Schedule
Here are six steps to making a uniform bar exam study schedule that is tailored to you.
1. Figure out when you are going to start studying for the bar exam.
This schedule assumes that you will start studying for the bar exam about nine weeks early. However, if you can start earlier — do it! Starting early will relieve some anxiety and give you extra time to learn the information.
We especially recommend you start studying early if:
- You did not have a good understanding of the material your first year of law school (since this material is most heavily-tested on the bar exam);
- You are a repeat bar exam taker that has failed the bar exam in the past; or
- You have substantial commitments to fulfill during bar exam preparation (for example, a full time job).
2. Figure out when you want to stop learning new material so that you can do a major review of all of the subjects.
Most people prefer to have at least two full weeks before the bar exam to review the material they have learned. The mock schedule below leaves two full weeks to review.
If you are starting early, however, there is no reason you can’t leave more time! We often leave three weeks (or sometimes a full month!) for our students to review if they start studying early for the bar exam.
3. Fill in the weeks between your start and end date, and plan on covering one major multistate bar exam subject per week.
If you have “extra weeks” (that is, more than seven weeks), then spend extra time on your hardest MBE subjects. If you have fewer weeks (that is, less than seven weeks) to study before your review weeks, then double up on the MBE subjects that you find the easiest and conquer them in a week. If you are starting really early (i.e. starting in January for the July bar exam) it is a good idea to add a review week or two to the middle of your schedule as well.
Remember that the multistate bar exam subjects are:
- Contracts and Sales
- Civil Procedure
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Law and Procedure
- Real Property
4. Add at least one essay-specific subject to cover each week.
The Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) subjects include all of the MBE subjects (above) plus the following:
- Agency and Partnership
- Corporations and LLCs
- Decedent’s Estates (Wills)
- Conflicts of Law
- Secured Transactions
- Family Law
It is also a good idea to try to combine highly-tested subjects with less-tested subjects and your most difficult topics with topics that are easier for you. For example if you feel very confident about the MBE topic Torts, but very uncomfortable with Secured Transactions, you could try to cover them both in the same week. That would make it more manageable than covering a difficult MBE topic at the same time that you cover a difficult MEE subject.
5. Start practicing Multistate Performance Test (MPT) problems early and often!
MPTs are worth 20% of your score in a Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) state and cannot be neglected! We highly recommend you incorporate MPT practice into your study schedule early on. This way, you will not fall into the trap of putting them off for too long!
If you think you may be one to procrastinate on MPTs, please read this post on why to take the MPT very seriously!
6. During the last month, make sure you have perfected your timing.
Plan on taking entire exams—take both multiple-choice exams and essay exams. Simulate exam conditions.
If you struggle with timing, then start taking timed exams early. Start by taking a one-hour timed exam (and answering two essays or 33 multiple choice questions). Move it up to two hours. Then three hours. This will not only build your timing skills, it will also build your confidence.
7. During the last week, make sure you are physically and mentally prepared.
Make sure you have everything you need with you. Confirm your reservations. Confirm your mode of transportation.
If you find yourself nervous or anxious, practice visualization before the bar exam. We recommend you begin visualization a few days ahead of time to calm your nerves. Visualize yourself (in as much detail as you possibly can) doing well on the bar exam. Visualize yourself having a clear head, recalling the law, and completing the questions in a timely manner. Some students find it helpful to visit the actual testing room ahead of time to better complete this exercise. Practicing visualization exercises the days preceding the bar exam—especially the night before and the morning of the exam—can increase confidence, boost motivation, and mentally prepare you for the task ahead of you. It diminishes the nervous energy and anxious thoughts that block your brain from thinking clearly and recalling the law. Visualization has the power to give you a positive mental outset and a competitive edge.
Example of a Weekly UBE Bar Exam Study Schedule:
This is an overview of what your Uniform bar exam study schedule might look like:
MBE Subject 1: Real Property
MEE subject: Real Property
MEE subject: Family Law
MPT: Start looking at different kinds of MPTs
MBE Subject 2: Contracts and Sales
State subject: Contracts and Sales
State subject: Secured Transactions
MPT: Practice Persuasive Briefs
MBE Subject 3: Evidence
MEE subject: Evidence
MEE subject: Agency and Partnership
MPT: Practice Objective Memoranda
MBE Subject 4: Civil Procedure
MEE subject: Civil Procedure
MEE subject: Corporations and LLCs
MPT: Practice Opinion Letters
MBE Subject 5: Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure
MEE subject: Criminal Law and Procedure
MEE subject: Decedents’ Estates
MPT: Practice Demand Letters
MBE Subject 6: Torts
MEE subject: Torts
MEE subject: Trusts
MPT: Practice unusual MPT tasks
MPT: Timed MPT (complete one)
*TAKE FULL ESSAY EXAM
MBE Subject 7: Constitutional Law
MEE subject: Constitutional Law
MEE subject: Conflicts of Law
MPT: Timed MPT (compete two)
*TAKE FULL MBE EXAM and ESSAY EXAM
Weeks 8 and 9
Review all subjects these two weeks.
*TAKE FULL EXAMS
Pack for the bar exam.
What should my Daily Bar Exam Study Schedule Look Like?
Having a daily routine is crucial to succeeding on the bar exam. You need to put in the time, but you don’t need to (and shouldn’t aim to!) study 14 hours a day! If you are not working, it is a good idea to make bar exam studying your full-time job. If you are working or have other substantial obligations, you will have to find as much time as you can on weeknights and weekends.
Generally speaking, there are three things you need to do to do well on the bar exam.
You should keep this in mind when creating your UBE daily bar exam schedule:
- First you need good materials. If you hate your outlines, then the bar exam is going to be a struggle right from the beginning. Find outlines that are logical, easy to learn, and tailored to the bar exam.
- Second, you need to understand the substantive law. If you do not understand how the law works, it will be very hard to memorize it and apply it. Students gain understanding through private tutoring, commercial courses where the law is explained, or sometimes by just going through outlines slowly!
- Next, you need to memorize the substantive law. It is not enough to “get how it works when you see it.” You need to know it cold. The best way to do this is to go through your outlines several times and make sure that you know them. Some students also have other ways of memorizing it (flash cards, making diagrams, etc.). Do what works for you.
- Lastly, you need to apply the law. This means doing practice multiple choice questions and essay questions. Focus more on quality when you answer questions, rather than quantity (to see what I mean, read this post: A step-by-step guide to improving your multiple choice score.)
Thus, when you study for both the MBE and essay subjects, it is important to spend a good portion of your time understanding and learning the law and a good portion of your time answering practice questions. Indeed, the bar exam tests whether you know the law and are able to apply it. Make sure that you are spending your time appropriately. If anything you are doing does not further your understanding, memorization, or application of the law, don’t do it! (For example, if you get nothing out of lectures, stop watching them!) You need to spend your time as efficiently as possible.
Example of a Daily Bar Exam Study Schedule:
If you are planning on studying eight hours a day, a day might look like this:
- 9:00 – 11:00 Learning the law (lecture, private tutor, or going through your outlines slowly)
- (11:00 – 11:30 – break!)
- 11:30 – 1:30 learning your outline (memorizing it!)
- 1:30 – 3:00 Practice multiple-choice questions for the subject(s) you reviewed.
- (3:00 – 3:30 break!)
- 3:30 -5:30 Practice essay questions for the subject(s) you reviewed. Practice MPTs
- 5:30 – 6:30 Review your outlines again (or work on whatever you think you need to work on during this time).
Note, if you find you struggle with a certain area (like understanding the law) you can tweak your schedule accordingly. If you start early, you will give yourself a cushion to do everything you need to do in a short amount of time!
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