Wednesday, July 20, 2022

The Final Countdown to the Bar Exam

You might be wondering, what do I do the week before the bar? First, a week is more than you think. I promise.

Second, remember that the goal is NOT to memorize everything. It’s not possible. So, if you don’t feel like you know every last piece of law ever that can possibly be tested on the exam, you are not alone. It’s a normal feeling!

So, what CAN you do?

Practice. Between now and Friday or Saturday, this is the last big push where you can practice. Make sure you’ve practice MBE sets in 100, and timed. Make sure you’ve written more than one essay at a time. Now might be the time two take 90 minutes and write 3 essays, or take 3 hours and write 2 MPTs! It’s one thing to write one essay in 30 minutes, it’s an entirely different thing to get through 6 at a time! It’s hard, it’s tiring, and it’s easy to lose focus. So, the only way to work on your stamina and timing is to practice. This upcoming weekend and week is the perfect time to get that in, and really make sure you are practicing in test like conditions, or as close as possible.

Start to work on memory and recall. Yes, there are things you just NEED to remember. This week take 5-10 minute chunks to work on memory. See this post for more on memory:

Finally the days leading up to the exam, the weekend before, take some time to relax. It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s important.

Here is a little timeline to help:

Four Days Before the Bar Exam

This should be your last day of “heavy lifting” activities. Complete a set of 50 timed MBE questions. Complete a set of three MEE questions, timed. Complete a full-length timed MPT. Do not pick and choose between these – do all of them. This is the last day you will do practice that improves your stamina and timing. Remember, you should be doing these things all week, but four days before the exam is your cut off point.

Three Days Before the Bar Exam

In terms of bar exam preparation, today you should complete 15 to 20 MBE questions, complete one timed MEE question, outline three to five additional MEE questions, and complete one full-length timed MPT. You are tapering off. This isn’t an exact science – the point is that you are practicing, so you will feel prepared, but you aren’t tiring yourself out.

This is also the day to do something relaxing for yourself – watch a movie, go on a run. Do something that is going to make you feel less stressed. You should also be sure to go to bed early and eat well. Yes, that sounds like “mothering” but it’s good advice. On the days of the exam you will NEED to be well rested and refreshed.

Two Days Before the Bar Exam

Rinse and repeat yesterday. Today you should complete 15 to 20 MBE questions, complete one timed MEE question, outline three to five additional MEE questions, and complete one full-length timed MPT.

Take some more time to do something relaxing for yourself to help relieve some of that bar exam stress. And again - you should be sure to go to bed early and eat well.

Also, when I say do something relaxing for yourself, that can be almost anything that makes you happy. The point is to get out of your head a bit, and give yourself a break. I realize it might seem like the worst time to take a break, but it’s not. Your brain needs to feel “fresh” on exam days. Think of it like running a marathon – you don’t run 26.2 miles, or even 13 miles, the day before the marathon. You’d be exhausted. The days leading up to the actual marathon you might run 1-5 miles and stretch, and relax, and eat pasta. This is your mental marathon, so treat your brain accordingly.

One Day Before the Bar Exam

Today you should lighten the mental lift even more. Review your flashcards and other memory devices. Outline three to five MEE questions. Do five MBE questions to keep your brain in the practice of thinking through MBE questions without overly taxing it.

You also want to make sure you have everything ready for tomorrow. What types of ID do you need? What are you allowed to bring in with you to the exam? Make sure to have all those items pulled together and ready to go. Make sure your laptop is fully charged. And as silly as it sounds, map out how you will get to the exam location. Do you need to worry about parking? Are you taking a train? Do not leave anything to chance. Most of you, but not all, are currently looking at virtual exams. So do you have a good space to take the exam? Do you know how you will log in? What the timing is? Etc?

Finally, relax. You’ve put in so many hours, weeks, months of preparation – you’ve got this. Take some time to relax and unwind before bed. Eat a simple meal that will sit well with your potentially uneasy stomach. Lastly, head to bed a bit earlier than usual to account for nerves keeping you awake.

Day One of the Bar Exam

Today is the day. Make sure you are on time for check in and have everything with you. Today is filled with the MPT and MEE. At the lunch break and after the day of testing ends, do not talk with others about the contents of the exam. Invariably, one of you will think you saw a subject the other did not spot – and you won’t know who was right or wrong until you get your final bar results, so there is no benefit to discussing such matters now. Doing so will only freak you out and add to your anxiety.

After the testing day is complete, eat dinner and mentally decompress. If you must, review a few flashcards – perhaps the ones you still struggle with and want just one more run at. But this is not the time to do any serious review or learning because your brain is tired from today and needs to rest up for tomorrow. What is there is there. Have confidence that your hard work will pay off tomorrow!

Day Two of the Bar Exam

It is almost over! Today you will tackle the MBE and then – be done! After the testing day is over, just like yesterday – do not talk about the exam! Instead, relax, take a nap, celebrate!

(Melissa Hale)

July 20, 2022 in Bar Exam Preparation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Enjoy Your Summer

I hope everyone is having an enjoyable summer.  I know many of you are helping prepare students for the bar exam.  Good luck to your students.  Rushing through the summer focused on bar prep and the upcoming academic year happens to most of us.  The summer is almost over, so I encourage everyone to take some time before the year begins to refresh.  We have lawyers to train who will change the world.  We will also take a brief break on the blog to get ready for the semester.  We will begin posting regularly again August 15th.

Have a great week!

(Steven Foster)

July 6, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight

Renee Nicole Allen, Get Out: Structural Racism and Academic Terror, 29 William & Mary J. of Women & L. (2022).

From the abstract:

Released in 2017, Jordan Peele’s critically acclaimed film Get Out explores the horrors of racism. The film’s plot involves the murder and appropriation of Black bodies for the benefit of wealthy, white people. After luring Black people to their country home, a white family uses hypnosis to paralyze victims and send them to the Sunken Place where screams go unheard. Black bodies are auctioned off to the highest bidder; the winner’s brain is transplanted into the prized Black body. Black victims are rendered passengers in their own bodies so that white inhabitants can obtain physical advantages and immortality.

Like Get Out, this article reveals academic horrors that are far too familiar to people of color. In the legal academy, structural racism is the monster, and under the guise of academic freedom, faculty members inflict terror on marginalized people. Black bodies are objectified and colonized in the name of diversity and antiracism. No matter how loud we scream, it remains a Sunken Place. Only time will tell if the antiracism proclamations of 2020 are a beginning or a killer ending.

This article explores the relationship between structural racism and academic terror in the legal academy and articulates an effective framework for analyzing academic terrorism.

[Posted by Louis Schulze, FIU Law]

July 5, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 4, 2022

Lack of Independence Day

I am not celebrating today. I am not grilling, having a party, arranging fruit to make a flag, or planning to watch the fireworks (even on TV). I am just not doing it. And unlike other things, the government actually cannot make me....

As of last week though, I could be forced to carry a pregnancy to term over my objections and regardless of the fetus’ or my health.[1] I could also be forced to send my kids to school knowing that someday[2] a person with a concealed weapon could walk in and join them. When they opened the beautiful new STEM wing of our local high school, I went on a tour and saw that the classrooms are composed of two or three walls of glass-and all I could think of then (and this was during relatively safer times) was where would the children hide if an armed person was intent on shooting them? I hated to be the person whose mind immediately went there, but I was. And now this is not an irrational fear.

This week, the swearing-in of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson made me so incredibly happy. It was a spot of intense light on a dark horizon. As attorneys, the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court should be our celebrities. The Justices I’ve met or even watched on the bench turned me into a babbling fangirl at the time[3]. I once almost got escorted out of the U.S. Supreme Court building for standing on a marble bench under the portrait of Justice Brennan (I was too short to get me and the painting in the same shot without the extra foot and half boost). For all I know, the U.S. Marshals have that picture in the backroom captioned, “trouble!!!” Yet, now when I think of the U.S. Supreme Court, I just sigh--not the dreamy fangirl sigh, more the elderly “things used to be better back in the day” sigh. I bet you just sighed too. The current majority on the court does not seem to have any respect for the rule of law or stare decisis—unless it suits their purposes. A court that is arbitrary and capricious in this way should not have the power to determine the constitutionality of anything.

These Justices have not, as intended by the folks who created the Court, remained independent, “[t]his independence of the judges is equally requisite to guard the Constitution and the rights of individuals from the effects of those ill humors, which the arts of designing men, or the influence of particular conjunctures, sometimes disseminate among the people themselves, and which, though they speedily give place to better information, and more deliberate reflection, have a tendency, in the meantime, to occasion dangerous innovations in the government, and serious oppressions of the minor party in the community.”[4]

I know there are arguments that would take this particular quote and use it to say the Court should not have made some decisions to begin with—but Hamilton went on to say, “[t]o avoid an arbitrary discretion in the courts, it is indispensable that they should be bound down by strict rules and precedents, which serve to define and point out their duty in every particular case that comes before them; and it will readily be conceived from the variety of controversies which grow out of the folly and wickedness of mankind, that the records of those precedents must unavoidably swell to a very considerable bulk, and must demand long and laborious study to acquire a competent knowledge of them.”[5] 

So, with thanks to the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus[6], today could be considered: Dependence Day, or Subjugation Day, or even Unfreedom Day. But I am not celebrating these either.

(Liz Stillman)


[1] I do live in Massachusetts where I am safe from that fear, and I am happy to help anyone who needs to come visit to go “camping” here in the Bay State.

[2] Not today, luckily, because Massachusetts will wait until the litigation is over to change anything.

[3] I’ve met Justice Souter (briefly) and seen Justice Marshall on the bench.

[4] Hamilton, Federalist Papers no. 78.

[5] Id.


July 4, 2022 in Current Affairs, News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Assistant Dean/Director of Academic Support at Northeastern University School of Law

Northeastern University School of Law seeks to add in the Academic Support Department.  The position is being advertised both as a 12-month administrator (Assistant Dean) position and a 9-month non-tenure-track faculty position (Assistant/Associate/Teaching Professor). Applicants have the option to apply for either position. 
You can find the posting for the faculty position here.

July 3, 2022 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Assistant Dean of Academic Success & Professionalism at Nova Southeastern

Nova Southeastern is seeking an Assistant Dean of Academic Success & Professionalism.  The Assistant Dean manages a robust ASP Program at NSU Law. In addition to the Assistant Dean, the ASP department includes 5 professors of practice and 2 administrative support persons. You get to work with great people who are creative and have each developed their own expertise in the ASP field! The department teaches ASP and bar related courses throughout the curriculum and runs a robust bar support program for graduates. There are professional development funds to attend conferences, and the Dean of the law school is a huge supporter of the ASP department. 

July 2, 2022 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Assistant Director at University of Oregon

The University of Oregon academic support program is growing.  They are adding an associate director to the Academic Excellence Program.  The associate director will teach bar studies classes and provide education programs to law students to prepare them to gain admission to the bar while assisting with other Academic Excellence Program projects and classes as necessary.  The associate director will also work with the director to enrich and further develop the Academic Excellence Program. 

You can find more information about the job and application instructions here

July 2, 2022 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 1, 2022

Director of Academic Excellence at The Ohio State University

The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law seeks a Director of Academic Excellence. The posting is here.  The Director has primary responsibility for providing support for bar exam success, for designing and perpetually refining the College’s systems for student academic excellence, and for providing academic support to our students.

The Director is responsible for running the comprehensive bar support program for students during their enrollment and after graduation during the bar study period. The bar support program presently includes a credit-bearing course for a segment of students during the second semester of the third year. Ohio State also has an institutional arrangement with Themis, through which all students have access to the full suite of bar preparation materials and support provided by Themis. The Director oversees and ensures student use of the Themis resources and provides additional support for bar study as needed; maintains frequent communications with students about bar exam requirements, beginning in the spring of 1L year; advises students on completing the character and fitness and bar licensure process in students’ chosen jurisdictions; advises students on the MPRE; assists students in navigating requests for testing accommodations; and tracks bar exam results for graduates, continually analyzing results to strategically improve student and institutional performance. As well, the Director provides support to graduates retaking the bar exam as needed. The Director has responsibility for maintaining familiarity with bar admissions requirements and issues and trends in bar exam administration.

During the academic year, the Director oversees the College’s support program for academic excellence. This includes assessing the programs to ensure they are adapted over time to student needs, licensure demands, and the contours of the changing profession.

Throughout the year, the Director presents formal programming (such as at orientation, lunchtime presentations, and recorded webinars), shares resources, and provides individual academic counseling.

Prepares and ensures adherence to the annual college budget for bar preparation and academic support related activities.

The Director works closely and collaboratively with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the Assistant Dean for Students to identify students in need of academic support and other resources.

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to design additional academic support programming to occur throughout the academic year, including the possibility of credit-bearing courses. Depending on interest and need, the successful candidate may also teach additional courses. 

Required Experience/Education:

Juris Doctor degree; member of a state bar; at least 2 years post-JD experience.

Desired Experience/Education:

At least 4 years of experience working in a higher education setting in the areas of bar preparation, teaching, academic assistance, academic advisory or similar administrative, teaching or practice experience; experience in program planning and administration, detail oriented with good organizational, communication, and time management skills; ability to work effectively with a diverse range of people; familiarity and experience with current issues and trends in bar exam and attorney licensure.

July 1, 2022 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)