Monday, April 2, 2007
I am not usually one who believes in scaring students, because fear is usually a hindrance to good performance. When it comes to bar exams, however, I am not particularly bashful about scaring my third-year students.
Too many students around the country each year think that their performance on the bar exam will match their performance in law school. They think that if they are ranked in the upper half of the class, they cannot possibly fail a bar exam. You would think they would be right unless you have taken a bar exam yourself.
The reality is that the exam covers numerous subjects that the students have not studied for two years or more, if at all. It is one thing to do well on a first-year Civil Procedure exam; it is quite another to handle a civil procedure question on a bar exam two and a half years later.
Deep preparation is therefore critical. Not a review. Not glancing over old notes. Not reading over a bar review outline. Not even taking a bar review course. The bar exam requires serious, sustained preparation that includes a formal bar review course and weeks of full-time studying.
Have some students passed the bar without that sort of preparation? Probably. But it would scare the heck out of me to try it. (dbw)