How to Pass the Uniform Bar Exam the First Time You Take It
Everyone wants to pass the bar exam the first time they take it. However, as you know, not everyone does. There are certain things you should do to ensure that you pass the Uniform Bar Exam the first time you take it!
How to Pass the Uniform Bar Exam the First Time You Take It
1. Get Good Materials and Use a Logical Approach.
We approach the bar exam as a three-step process: (1) get good materials, (2) engage in lots of active review to aid in memorization, and then (3) practice application. You can see from our heading and the first step to our approach that getting your hands on good materials the key for you to pass the Uniform Bar Exam the first time you take it. Many Uniform Bar Exam takers simply blindly sign up for a program having zero clue what they are getting in return. Please. Don’t. Do. This. This may be the most fatal error you can make. Be sure to do your homework. Flip through a variety of different materials, ask questions. Find out—can you ask people questions during or after lecture? Or are you on your own to figure out substantive issues?
Also, be sure to pay special attention to their outlines—many students who are unsuccessful with the Uniform Bar Exam the first-time state that listening to long lectures and using fill-in-the-blank outlines were extremely unhelpful to them. Most people do not gain a whole lot from passive review or listening, which is exactly what you are doing when you listen to a pre-recorded lecture and fill-in-the-blanks on an outline. The take-a-way here: actually spend some time making a decision about which bar prep program you are going to use, as this is a key ingredient to being successful with the exam. If you want excellent resources for the Uniform Bar Exam check out our different options!
2. Make a Study Schedule and Stick With It.
Tip number 1 and 2 for how to pass the Uniform Bar Exam the first time you take it often go hand-in-hand. Most first-time bar exam takers do not feel comfortable enough making their own bar prep schedule. Rather, they usually just follow suit with the commercial program that they purchased. This is generally okay at the beginning of prep. However, when it gets toward the middle to end of preparation for the exam, every student is different. You may find that you need more time with torts. And your friends may be struggling with real property.
In order to maximize your study time be sure that you are following a schedule that actually works for you. If you want to pass the Uniform Bar Exam the first time you take it be sure to carve out a little bit of time in your schedule each week to evaluate what worked for you and what didn’t. Did you spend more time reviewing past material and find that your MBE score went up? Did you cut down on passive review time and it left more time for application? Pay attention to these things and immediately stop doing anything that is not working for you.
Lastly, do not be scared to ditch your commercial course’s schedule and make your own. You know what you need to work on better than anyone. This is especially true for when you are through all of the material and reviewing the last few weeks leading up to the exam. But no matter what schedule you follow—you have to stick with it! Consistent studying is necessary to pass the Uniform Bar Exam the first time you take it. If you want help making your own bar exam study schedule click here.
3. Practice with Real Questions.
For this tip, do yourself a favor and think back to law school. What was the best preparation for your professor’s exams? The usual answer to this question is your professor’s past exams! Or think back to the LSAT. What was the best source of practice questions? Actual official released LSAT questions.
The same theory is true for the Uniform Bar Exam. Make sure that you are practicing with real questions—not questions made up by your commercial course. Many students get frustrated because they don’t take our advice in tip 1, and they blindly sign up for a course only to later find out that the course utilizes made up questions. Most people either gamble or spend even more money to get real questions.
When we say you should practice with real questions we mean real MBE questions, real MEE questions and real MPTs. By practicing with released questions you can actually gauge how you are doing and whether or not you are likely to pass the exam. It is very difficult to make this determination when you are practicing with made up material. Why are real questions better? Because you will see how they test the material and you will notice that they test certain material in the same way over and over again. This is HUGE for you and your bar examination score. For more information on whether or not Barbri MBE questions are like real MBE questions click here. For information on where to get real MBE questions click here.
4. Do Not Skimp On Active Review or Memorization.
Active review is so important to ensuring that you pass the Uniform Bar Exam the first time you take it. The one consistent thing we hear from repeat takers is that they just moved through the material trying to complete lectures and their outlines without taking sufficient time to actually actively review their material. It is not enough to simply sit through a lecture and then practice questions. But, that is the approach that SO many bar takers take. The main reason for this? They signed up for a program that doesn’t really work for them (see tip 1) or they have a study schedule that isn’t working for them. In reality, you should be spending the bulk of your time actively reviewing the material so that you have it memorized. For more information on how to memorize your outlines click here.
5. Practice Self Grading MBEs, MEEs and MPTs.
Going back to one of the first things stated in this post, is that one of the steps to successful bar prep is making sure that you practice applying the law. In other words, you should learn how to take this test. Most students understand this. However, most sell themselves short here. It is not very productive to sit down and do fifty MBE questions for regular practice if you aren’t taking time to carefully check your answers—this means making sure you are getting the correct answers for the correct reasons (and not just a lucky guess) and making sure you understand where you went wrong if you got it wrong. Then, when you answer it wrong, don’t just read the explanation and move on. Instead, write down why you got it wrong and keep reviewing your wrong answers. (If you are looking for more MBE tips, check out this post.)
This is also key with MEEs and MPTs. It is not enough to just sit down and practice them. What you do after you practice is HUGE to determining your success. Always be sure to take your answer, whether it is an MEE or MPT, and compare it to the model answer. Be sure you go through and self-grade it, noting what you did right and wrong. Take your time with this, that way you can review the self-graded MEE or MPT later and remind yourself of your errors or law you at one time didn’t know. Not only is self-grading a necessary part of the application process, but it is creates a great review tool for later. For more information on how to self-grade your essay answers click here. To learn how to self-grade your MPTs check this out.
6. Take Care of Yourself.
Studying for the bar exam is obviously a big deal. It takes up the bulk of your life for weeks at a time. But, be sure that you are still taking care of yourself. You can’t run yourself into the ground and expect that you will be performing at 100% on the days of the examination. Be sure that you are sleeping, exercising and eating good healthy food. Try to take little breaks throughout the day and do something physical. If you find that you are depressed or lonely, talk to someone—many law schools have programs in place so you can speak to someone in confidence. Or, if that doesn’t work, talk to a friend or family member. Taking care of yourself is key to passing the Uniform Bar Exam the first time you take it!
Ambika, one of our bar exam tutors, wrote this post on how to pass the Uniform Bar Exam the first time you take it. She has passed three bar exams, including California, New York, and New Jersey. She scored in the 95 percentile on the MBE, and specializes in helping students raise their uniform bar exam scores!
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