We generally do not recommend that you study for the bar exam in a month. But, life isn’t perfect and sometimes it happens. Maybe you were working or had other obligations before (and are finally buckling down now!). Maybe you tend to procrastinate just a bit. Or maybe you were studying before but it wasn’t productive and you realize you need a new approach this last month.If you plan to study for the bar exam in a month, efficiency must be your motto. You cannot get lost in the minutia. And you have to focus on getting the most points. This means you want to focus on (a) the highly tested areas of law and (b) the skills that you can develop in a short amount of time. Here, we will tell you how to study for the bar exam in a month following an efficient approach. We will break down the bar exam into sections.
How to study for the Bar Exam in a Month
How to study for the MBE in a Month:
The four things you want to do if you are studying for the MBE are as follows:
- First focus on the highly tested areas of MBE law. This means you want to focus on negligence (in torts), relevancy, presentation of evidence and hearsay in Evidence, etc. Stop obsessing over things like RAP and future interests in Real Property. They take a long time to learn and are not worth many points on the MBE. Check out the highly tested MBE issues here. (We also recommend you check out our MBE Favorites series to see the most popular MBE issues to test in each subject!)
- Second, you want to have a bigger picture of the law on the MBE. So you do not want to entirely ignore any area. Check out our MBE one-sheets if you want this bigger picture in a single page, front and back.
- When you study for the MBE, work on memorization. Study one subject at a time, memorize it as best as you can, and then review whatever you memorized the day after. (You will retain much more if you review something again after a full night of sleep so always review what you did the day before, even if it is only briefly. Focus on the highly tested areas of law when you memorize. Please read this post on memorize your bar exam outlines if you are not sure how to memorize.
- Lastly, get REAL mbe questions. Do not use a Barbri or Kaplan book. To our knowledge, they do not use real questions. Get Strategies and Tactics 6th Edition from Amazon. And check out our real MBE questions on our website, which you can purchase in hard copy or electronic format. These questions on our website are the best source of released questions because they were just recently released by the National Conference of Bar Examiners at the end of 2017!
- As a bonus tip: Do not try to answer 100 questions a day. Focus a large part of the day on memorization, then answer between 20 and 50 MBE questions a day, depending on how many you have already completed. Make sure to take a timed 3-hour exam at least once and more if you struggle with timing.
How to study for the Essay portion of the Bar Exam in a Month:
What you want to do with the essay portion is as follows:
- First, again, focus on the highly tested areas of law. If you are in a uniform bar exam or multistate essay exam jurisdiction, we highly recommend you purchase our MEE one-sheets and memorize them. This is a very efficient approach to the MEE. (If you are in Michigan, we have one-sheets in the back of our How to Pass the Michigan Bar Exam book.) If you simply can’t afford MEE one-sheets, check out this post on highly tested MEE topics. It is not as efficient because you do not get as much information but it is still much more efficient than commercial bar course approaches.
- Bullet point some essays to get familiar with them. We have MEE books available electronically or via hard copy. If you are taking the MEE, you can also find some free exams and model answers on the NCBE website. If you are taking a different state’s bar exam, check their website to see if they provide questions and model answers. We recommend our MEE books in part because you have all the MEE’s in one place and don’t have to waste time searching for them — and time is your most valuable asset.
- Lastly, TIME YOURSELF. All your hard work will be for nothing if you cannot complete the essays. Take at least one three-hour timed exam and if you struggle with timing, take more. you can even start with a one-hour timed exam, then a week later do a two-hour timed exam and build your way up to three hours.
How to study for the MPT portion of the Bar Exam in a Month:
Most bar exam studiers, especially last minute ones, are tempted to ignore the MPT portion. They cite their stellar legal writing experience or their experience clerking after law school and assume they will be fine. Do NOT make this assumption. If you are tempted to, read the five reasons you need to take the MPT seriously. The most important reason is, if you are in a UBE state, it is worth 20% of your score–the same as 70 MBE questions! Further, it is much easier for most students to substantially improve an MPT score than an MBE score with a month left. Thus, you will be spending your time VERY efficiently if you dedicate time to this each week. So here is how to study for the MPT in a month:
- First, set aside at least two half-days in your calendar to only focus on the MPT.
- Memorize MPT formats for each type of MPT. Make sure you have these down. You may also like our MPT one-sheet which has them all in one page you can print!
- Look over MPTs and write out answers. TIME YOURSELF. The hardest thing about the MPT is the fact that you don’t have all day to complete it. We highly recommend our MPT books because you can get (1) the question (2) the NCBE answer and (3) see a student answer when available — all in ONE place. It is much more efficient than searching for questions and answers online. And again, time is your most valuable asset right now.
A few important wrap-up tips that we see make-or-break bar studiers:
- If you are trying to study for the bar exam in a month and you don’t understand a subject at all, please get bar exam private tutoring. We frequently tutor students for whatever subjects they need help with and we can tailor it to you.
- If you do not know if you are on track at all with the MEE or MPT or you are struggling with it, sign up for bar exam essay feedback. We give prompt detailed feedback to make sure you are on track.
- Please make sure to take into account your weaknesses. If you struggle with timing, tackle it head on by setting up timed exams every week. If you struggle with memorizing, tackle it head on by trying different memorization techniques immediately. Or, if you struggle with understanding, tackle it head on with tutoring. Don’t waste time or procrastinate!
- Also take into account your strengths. It is much easier to turn a strength into a super-strength than it is to turn a weakness into a strength. So if writing is your strength and the MBE is your weakness, still spend a substantial time on essays. It will be much easier for you to improve the score on your written portion, say, 20 points than it will be to increase your MBE score 20 points. Do not make the mistake that a lot of students make–that is, only focusing on their weak areas. The bar exam is a game. You do not need to score equally well on both portions and in most states there is no minimum score on each portion. You just need to get enough points to pass!
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