It is very helpful to study early for the bar exam in law school. And, in fact, many students attribute the fact that they passed the bar exam in part due to their early start dates. Not everyone needs to study early for the bar exam (but you may still want to, as it does have several advantages!). Here, we will tell you if you should start studying early and, if so, exactly how to do that.
Do I need to start bar prep early?
You may not need to study early for the bar exam if you did well your first year of law school and if you are a good test-taker! However, early bar prep might be right for you if you:
- Graduated near the bottom of your law school class.
- Struggled a lot in your first year courses.
- Struggle with standardized exams (e.g., you struggled on the LSAT)
- Did not take a lot of bar exam-specific courses
- Plan on working (or if you have a similar time-consuming obligation) during bar prep.
- Are anxious about the bar exam and simply desire to get a head start.
- Have failed the bar exam in the past.
What are the advantages of studying early for the bar exam?
There are several advantages of getting an early start on bar prep. Here are just some of the advantages:
- It decreases anxiety.
- It increases confidence as you have more time to go over the material.
- It makes studying for the bar exam less stressful.
- It can help you target your specific weaknesses.
- Perhaps most importantly – It increases your chances of passing the bar exam the first time you take it!
Basically, there are a lot of advantages to studying early for the bar exam. Probably the biggest advantage is that you are less likely to fail the bar exam. However, starting to study early is also very good for your mental health as it decreases stress and anxiety and increases confidence.
What should I do to start bar prep early?
Here are a few things you can do to get started studying early for the bar exam:
- Review subjects you learned your first year of law school. These subjects will help you on the bar exam. Going back and reviewing the law can be invaluable as it will make it that much easier to learn when you begin studying. (We also have MBE one-sheets if you are looking for a resource to guide you on these subjects!)
- Take classes that will help you pass the bar exam. In addition to first-year courses, classes like Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Constitutional Law are very helpful. So are classes like Family Law, Wills & Trusts, Secured Transactions, Corporations, Agency, and Partnership. We do not necessarily think you should structure your entire class schedule around bar related classes, however, making sure to take some of the classes for the more difficult subjects is very helpful.
- Figure out how you learn. E.g. are you a visual learner, auditory learner, or a different type of learner? Try different techniques to memorize your law school outlines. This will not only help you on the bar exam, it will help you in law school! You will also have a great strategy going into the bar exam.
- Read some helpful tips on our blog about a general bar exam approach. Here are 10 MBE tips that you should review sooner rather than later! However, our blog is full of other great tips as well.
- Dedicate some scheduled time each week to begin preparing. If you are trying to start bar prep while you are still taking classes, you will need to set aside a certain time every week or every day to do so. Some students prepare for an hour in the morning before classes. Others set aside time on days of the week when they don’t have classes. You will need to make it a part of your routine if you plan to consistently prepare!
- Sign up for our early bar prep email campaign! We send you a tip once a week from January 1 through the July bar exam! We keep your email completely confidential. Read more about it here. You can sign up here: [contact-form-7 id=”9961″ title=”Early Bar Prep”]
What not to do:
- Don’t do a bunch of multiple-choice questions before learning the material. Some students make the mistake of trying to answer a lot of multiple-choice questions during their early bar prep. There are really not that many advantages to this. Learn the law first!
- Don’t forget to choose your law school classes carefully. For example, if you want to take a class to help you prepare for the bar exam and you are debating between Evidence and Conflicts of Law—take Evidence! It is double-tested on the bar exam in most states, including Uniform Bar Exam states. (That is, it is tested on both the multiple-choice and essay portion.) And it is a difficult subject. Conflict of Laws is not tested heavily on most state bar exams, if at all.
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