Saturday, June 15, 2019
Bar Review is a long and hard process. Realize that working hard and completing each task is an accomplishment that will bring you closer to your goal of practicing law!
I start receiving emails from panicked and stressed students around week 3-4. Constant bar review lectures become overwhelming. The amount of material is substantial, but remember, lectures don't continue up to the day of the exam. Just like a marathon, take one step at a time, and focus on what you need to do today.
Here are a few pieces of information I tell my students right now:
- You cannot know all the law for the exam. The bar exam tests numerous subjects (up to 20 in some states), and the MBE tests 7 subjects in significant depth. You cannot possibly know all the rules. Strive to learn as much as possible before the exam, but don’t stress out over what you don’t know. Complete the assignments and work hard. You will know enough to get enough questions correct to succeed.
- You can miss questions on the MBE. I know for many type A, always correct students this concept is hard. However, you can miss questions, and you can miss many questions. Since the NCBE switched to 175 scored questions and they no longer provide raw data, I can't say exactly how many you can miss. However, my guess is you can miss 50-60 questions and still be at or near the MBE passing line. I encourage everyone to try to receive a few more correct for a little margin for error, but when you don’t know an answer, don’t stress because that is one of your 50-60.
- Learn the best ways to manage stress. Stress will happen during bar prep. Figure out your way of managing it, whether it is a workout, listening to music for an hour, or any other activity. You need mental breaks throughout the day. Make sure to take them. Obviously don’t take so much time that you can’t complete your work, but spend the time necessary to be mentally ready for the exam.
- Study in 1 hour time blocks. Attention and memory decrease significantly after 60 minutes. After the hour, take a 5 minute break. Don't surf the internet an hour, but 5 minute mental refreshes will improve retention.
- If you are having problems with bar review or life in general, contact your law school. Most schools have numerous administrators, faculty, and staff ready to help throughout the summer. Don’t try to go through bar prep alone.
Bar Prep is a mental marathon. Graduating law school demonstrates and ability to succeed on the bar. The goal now is to apply the hard work and skills from law school to the bar. Keep it up for the next 6 weeks.