It’s crunch-time for the bar exam again, and as someone who took and passed the bar, here are some words of advice.
1. It doesn’t matter what program — KAPLAN, BARBRI, whatever else — you use as long as you actually carve out the time to study and treat it like a full-time job. If you know where you want to practice, it is probably wise to sign up with one of the programs in the first year of law school. If not, many bar prep materials are also available second-hand on Ebay or Craigslist. If you do buy from these sites, I suggest not purchasing anything that is more than two years old.
2. Avoid all distractions — Your family members, friends, and employers might not understand the pressure you are under so try and lay some boundaries early. Deactivate your social media profiles–nothing is a bigger distraction than Facebook and Twitter.
3. Try different study methods, especially if you absolutely cannot sit still and read. Kaplan has a completely free MBE app that is helpful to brush up on the MBE questions. The PMBR audio CDs are also worth listening to when you are in the car, or taking the train to work or if you are an auditory learner. They helped me more the the actual lectures from Kaplan, though I got them as part of my Kaplan course.
4. Making one sheets is critical because you have to be able condense the entire subject on a tissue paper by the time the bar exam comes up. I have uploaded mine on Scribd for a small price, and uploaded some of the lecture notes for free. They are not perfect and you should make your own, but they help to start the daunting process.
5. Quality over quantity – MBE pays double dividends on most bar exams and practicing questions is the best way to learn, hands down. However, there is no point in doing over 2000 MBE questions if you don’t review your incorrect answers and reason why you got them wrong in the first place. That’s the best way to learn and get ahead on the MBE. For wrong multiple choice answers, figure out why you got them wrong so you don’t get them wrong again.
6. Don’t put off the essay writing – Start doing past test questions from the first week of review. If you don’t know the law, make it up. You’ll learn the law as you go. Make sure to practice questions from past essays, and not just from the test prep program. You can find past MEE essays for purchase on the NCBE site.
If you have any questions or need some pep talk, feel free to shoot me an email.