Monday, December 17, 2012

Early Bar Prep

Not taking the bar exam until summer but curious about what to expect?  Thinking about ways to get a head start on your bar prep over the break?  Want to have a better idea of what is required in your state when applying for the bar exam?  Great!  Advance planning is an essential ingredient in your bar exam preparation.   Here are a few ways to get started without causing anxiety, taking too much time, or causing you to feel overwhelmed.  In fact, these helpful ideas will help reduce the brewing stress that the bar exam produces and will help you feel more in control when you are studying for the bar exam this summer.

1.    Plan financially for the bar exam.  This could mean stocking away money every week reducing your current spending (forgo that extra latte, brown bag it, or take the bus instead of paying forparking), or creating a budget that incorporates your bar review expenses.  Taking the bar exam can be an expensive endeavor.  So even if we avoid the fiscal cliff, a substantial expense is still in your future.  You should anticipate spending approximately $2000-$6000 for your bar preparation.

2.    Make your hotel reservation.  It may seem too early to call the hotel closest to the bar exam testing center, but it is not.  Hotels book quickly and you want to have a choice as to where you stay when you take the most important exam of your life.  Find out where your state bar will take place and research the hotels in the area.  Once you have made your selection, call them directly and ask for the group rate, use your AAA discount (or other discount), or search online for the best deals.

3.    If you have not already, sign up for a commercial bar review.  In these economic times, many students ask me if taking a bar review is really necessary.  Resolutely, my answer is always yes, a bar review is necessary to achieving success on the bar exam.  Take your time to determine your options and how they will suit your individual needs. Bar prep courses are an investment, see item #1 above, but one that is wholly worth it.

4.    Check out The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) web page at www.ncbex.org. You will find information regarding the MBE, MEE, MPT, MPRE, and UBE.  There are also helpful articles and resources regarding every aspect of the bar examination process from bar exam application information, character and fitness issues, and psychometrics and scoring of the bar exam. Even if you have a limited amount of time, I highly suggest becoming familiar with the NCBE’s website.

5.    Similarly, think about where you want to sit for the bar exam. Once you have thought through where you want to be licensed, determine the jurisdictional requirements in that state. Contact the licensing entity and review the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admissions published by the NCBE and the American Bar Association.  In this document, you will find information regarding every aspect of the bar examination and contact information for state bar admission agencies.

 Lisa Young

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