The Bar Exam is an incredibly punishing, multi-day test that tasks would-be lawyers with not only remembering all they learned in law school but applying those skills in a number of theoretical scenarios. A fairly high proportion of students who take the Bar will never pass and an even higher number won’t pass on their first try. If you are looking to pass the exam, though, there are steps that you can take to help give you more of a chance to succeed. Below are five tips you should use for Bar Exam prep.
Take a Bar Review Course
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to pass the bar exam is to take a Bar Review course. These courses are offered by a number of companies and they tend to be absolutely necessary for passing the Bar, especially if you are taking the Bar in a state in which you did not attend law school. Even if you cannot afford an entire course, attending several classes can help you to brush up on unfamiliar topics before you sit for the exam.
Consider a Study Group
Depending on your study style, it may be worthwhile to study with a group. Just as study groups were a vital part of the law school experience, so too are study groups as you get ready for the Bar. It’s a good idea to find a few individuals who are driven to pass the exam and who have similar study habits to your own in order to get the support you need. While some students are likely to do better on their own, most people can benefit from the sense of accountability that comes from a study group.
Direct Your Studies
You know the parts of the law with which you are familiar. Look back at your notes from law school in order to figure out where you were successful and where you need the most help. There is unfortunately not an infinite amount of time to study for the exam, so directing your studies towards those areas where you know that you need help is usually the best idea. Though it’s good to review everything, try to put the most focus on the areas of the exam that you think are likely to trip you up.
Practice the Written Exam
It is hard to overstate how important the written portion of the Bar Exam is. The multiple choice portion is certainly difficult and you should study for it but the written exam is where you’ll have to show a higher level of legal reasoning. It’s usually a good idea to spend time writing practice essays not only so that you can get used to the type of reasoning that you’ll be expected to show but so that you can become more comfortable with providing the incredibly thorough answers that the Bar requires.
Clear Out the 24 Hours Ahead of the Exam
Finally, make sure that you clear out some time before the Bar exam to relax. Don’t schedule anything for the day before the exam if you can help it and give yourself permission to avoid cramming at the last minute. Stress can be dangerous to those who are looking to pass the Bar, so do what you can to minimize this as a factor. If you know that you’re going to have to take the Bar somewhere other than your hometown, it may also be useful to rent a hotel room near the site of the exam so you won’t have to worry about traffic or parking before the test.