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How To Prepare For The Bar Exam: Strategies To Ace The Test

published April 13, 2023

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( 193 votes, average: 4 out of 5)
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The bar exam is a grueling test, and proper preparation is essential for success. Preparation for the bar exam can involve studying for months, gathering the necessary materials, and having a good understanding of the expectations and requirements. Taking the bar exam can be intimidating, but with a little research, students can be ready for the challenge.

Before taking the bar exam, students should research the test and the specialized requirements involved. This includes understanding the format of the test and the subjects in which they will be tested. It is also important to understand the time commitment required to study and become proficient in the material. Additionally, there are several resources available to get a better handle on the content of the bar exam.

When it comes to preparing for the bar exam, it is a good idea to seek out knowledgeable sources such as former bar exam takers and experts. This can provide valuable insight into the test and the necessary strategies to pass it. Additionally, having a bar exam study group is also beneficial. It allows students to bounce ideas off of each other, discuss common topics and strategies, and provide moral support to one another during this difficult process.

To effectively study for the bar exam, students should create a plan for the months leading up to the test. This should include an outline of topics to be covered, a timeline for studying, and a budget for necessary materials. Additionally, students should stick to the plan and schedule as much as possible, as well as keeping track of their progress.

Lastly, it is important to remember that taking the bar exam is extremely challenging. It takes hard work, dedication, and long hours of studying. However, with proper preparation and a good attitude, students can successfully pass the bar exam. The bar exam is all about the preparation, and it is important that students take it seriously and go into the test with confidence.

Bar Exam: Preparing for the Test

The Bar Exam is a standard test that potential lawyers must take in order to be allowed to practice law in the United States. For those who are preparing to take the Bar Exam, there are a few key things to keep in mind. The first is to ensure that you are fully prepared to take the exam. This means studying hard and preparing yourself mentally and physically for the test.

The Bar Exam is divided into two main test sections: the multistate bar exam and the state-specific portion. The multistate bar exam is a multiple-choice test that covers topics such as Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Torts, Contracts, and Evidence. The state-specific portion covers topics that vary from state to state, such as Family Law, Commercial Law, and Real Property.

In order to adequately prepare for the Bar Exam, it is essential to develop a plan for studying and determine how you will manage your time. It is recommended to set aside specific times each day to study and review the material covered on the Bar Exam. Additionally, it is important to attend a Bar prep course offered by law schools or a private prep company, as this can provide an extra layer of review and assistance in understanding the material.

It is also important to ensure that you are familiar with the format of the Bar Exam. Knowing the length of time allotted to answer each question, the types of questions that will be asked, and the order in which they will be presented can help to make the test more manageable. Additionally, it is important to practice writing essays and making outlines for the essay portion of the Bar Exam, as this will help you to develop a better understanding of the material.

Finally, it is important to create a study plan that allows for plenty of time to review the material you have studied and practice the questions that will be asked on the Bar Exam. Taking practice tests and using online resources to supplement your studies can be very helpful as well. With a well thought-out plan and sufficient preparation, you can give yourself the best chance possible of passing the Bar Exam.

"Buffalo definitely prepares us for the bar exam," said Mike Mann, 2L at the University at Buffalo Law School. "Last year we had a first-time bar passage rate over 80%, a testament to the law school's recognition that their job is not complete until we are all admitted to the bar and successful."

How to Prepare for the Bar Exam

Mr. Mann said that because, similar to other law schools, his school chose not to teach "black letter" law, that the bar exam might prove to be a challenge. Therefore, Buffalo has gone the extra mile to ensure its students successfully pass the bar. He said one example is his school's coordination of bar review classes with leading bar review prep provider, BAR/BRI in New York City, more than 7 hours away from campus, for those who failed the bar. "Whether it's donuts for the morning of the bar or open-door policies from the dean down to adjunct faculty, everyone here is pulling for you and doing all they can to help you."

For Mann, who will graduate in 2006, the bar is still a while away. But the bar is definitely on his mind. "First it was the SATs, next was the LSATs, then it was first-year final exams, and finally it is the bar exam," said Mann. "I am of the belief, 'knock on wood,' that if you put the time in and prepare, you will pass."

The bar typically consists of a two-day examination. On the first day is the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), a six-hour exam that consists of a standardized, multiple-choice, 200-question test divided into two parts. Students tackle 100 questions per three-hour session (one in the morning and one in the afternoon). The exam covers constitutional law, contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence, real property, and torts. The second day of testing generally contains essays from a wider range of subject matter and is crafted according to the jurisdiction. A growing number of states administer nationally developed tests, such as the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), according to the American Bar Association.

Put simply, law school alone is not enough to pass the bar exam. To pass it on the first try, most people highly recommend taking bar review courses. "Other than providing a basic level of familiarity with legal terms and concepts, law school did not prepare me for the bar," said Seth Peacock, who graduated from Cornell Law School in 2001. "Most of my law school classes focused on the 'interesting' fuzzy areas of the law. For the bar you need to learn the specific nuts and bolts of an area, most of which is settled and uninteresting."

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Of the 9,555 candidates examined in the state of New York in July 2004, 6,448 passed the examination. Of the 7,859 applicants taking the examination for the first time, 6,018 passed. You can bet that most of those who passed were enrolled in some kind of bar exam review course prior to the exam.

Mr. Peacock, who took the BAR/BRI course, said a student could pass the bar without a review course but that it would "be very painful." For students facing the bar exam, he offers a few recommendations. "Take a review course and follow its recommendations. Minimize your distractions and simplify your life as you prepare for and take the exam."

Most students who take the bar enroll in bar review courses offered by such companies as BAR/BRI and PMBR, which can offer on-campus prep courses. Both companies boast high pass rates on the bar because of their carefully tailored services. BAR/BRI, the more popular of the services, offers comprehensive review while PMBR focuses on the MBE and teaches strategies and techniques. Most law school graduates take BAR/BRI, but PMBR is often used as a supplement.

Roger Martin is a December 1997 magna cum laude graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law. Mr. Martin also took the BAR/BRI course and said it was instrumental in his preparation for the examination. Like Mr. Peacock, he passed it on the first try. "Besides the practice examinations and substantive outlines, attending forced me to take the time to meticulously prepare. I believe that although it is possible to pass the bar without such preparation, it is foolish to attempt doing so if you care about passing."

Each state has its own bar exam that reflects its local laws and statutes. Students must pass the bar in a particular state to practice law in that state. Some students opt to take multiple bar exams in more than one state. Bar exams are offered twice a year, in July and February. Test results from the exam are usually not made available until after three months from the exam date.

"Take a bar prep course and treat your preparations as if your career depended on them," advised Mr. Martin. "The California Bar, despite the miserable pass rate, is not a difficult test; it is just an extremely comprehensive test. It is a test of how well you can retain and repeat information. That kind of ability only comes from organized study."

For the July 2004 administration, the mean scaled MBE score in California was 1,433, compared with the national average of 1,412. Of the 8,062 applicants who took the July 2004 General Bar Exam, 68.5 percent were first-time takers. The passing rate for the 5,521 first-time applicants was 62.8 percent overall.

Adam Greene, 3L at the University of Virginia School of Law, soon will be facing the bar exam. He said he has taken some of the topics covered on the bar in coursework and feels somewhat prepared for the exam.

Still, Mr. Greene will take a bar review course to prepare for the bar. "I am a little anxious to take it but confident that if I prepare properly, I will do well." Like any major test, preparation indeed counts. The better prepared a person goes into the examination, the more confident, and the higher chances of success.


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published April 13, 2023

( 193 votes, average: 4 out of 5)
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