So, it’s May – and that means that if you’ve just graduated from law school, you now have the task of studying for the bar exam. Nope, no sitting back and relaxing for you! You thought graduation and final exams were it? Pft! Wrong!
So, you might be asking, how DOES one prepare for the bar exam? And how does one do so without losing their mind? Or becoming a crazy recluse, cutting off all ties from friends and family, only to appear at some point in August looking very pale, over caffeinated and bearded. (yes, I’m looking at you too ladies! Who has time for waxing when the bar exam is around the corner?!?!)
First things first, realize this summer will NOT be fun. I don’t say that to scare you, but if you buckle down over the next couple months you will never have to do this again. Secondly, don’t pay attention to what your friends are doing. Everyone has a method that works for them.
Once we’ve gotten that out of the way, there are some things that can make the summer a bit more smooth, and make your chances of passing the bar a bit higher. Practice, for one. Yes, that seems a bit obvious – why wouldn’t you practice? But many students want to spend a ton of time reviewing your outlines, and memorizing black letter law. While you DO need to know the black letter law, simply reviewing it for months will not get you where you need to be. Don’t wait to practice, start right away! Learn from each MBE question you practice, this is key. The MBE won’t ask you to define battery. Instead, they will give you an odd ball fact pattern, and ask you what the plaintiff’s chances of success will hinge on. This means that you need to know MORE than the black letter law, and the only way to do this is to practice more and more MBE questions. Having said that, don’t JUST practice. If you aren’t learning something from EACH MBE question you do, you are wasting your time. I teach bar review, in fact, my whole life centers around the bar exam and even I can find better things to do than MBE questions just for fun.
As for your essays, again, you need to practice. I know, I’m not really coming up with a new rocket science here, you’ve all been told to practice before. However, despite that, so many students fight me on practicing. Use your notes to practice essays – it’s better than writing wrong law! Take your time and practice technique! Don’t start testing yourself right away. The more essays you practice, and not just outline, the easier exam day will be.
Good basic outline.