Reposted from June, 2008, but still pertinent.
It's almost July;
the exam is coming up in about a month. Some of y'all may be getting
stressed, particularly about practice exam/simulated MBE scores. First
off - the simulated MBE is to give you an idea of what the exam is
like and to kind of remind you that this is coming up. Keep studying
your rules of law, and you will be fine.
Remember, the exam is
there to test how well you can spot issues, state the rule and apply it
(this is your IRAC in action). You have to be able to keep your
thoughts organized - take your time and let the answer come out. Don't
panic. So long as you've studied, you should be fine. The exam is
designed to be difficult, but passable. The idea is that you need to
put in the effort to prepare for it. Remember that, and remember that
you already learned most of this in law school and you're just
refreshing your mind while studying for the bar, and you should be fine.
You still need to actually study, though. That part is tough to pass
I can't tell anyone "how" to study for the bar exam.
Everybody learns their own way. I can tell you what worked for me, if
that gives you a launching point for your own preparation after BarBri
and I studied together. We went to BarBri together, then went to the
school and studied together. One thing that helped us was that we were
able to find a room where we could speak to each other without worrying
about disturbing others. This way, we could go over practice
questions and exams and discuss the answers to reinforce what we were
learning. We actually chose the International Law Society office at
STCL because we knew we would be able to study and still have things to
take the focus off our stress.
We would start the day by doing
about 30-50 multiple choice questions, either from the Barbri software
or questions from other exam sources. We would read 10 questions, we
would both come up with answers individually, then we'd share our
answer. If the answers did not match, then we would "sell" our answer
to the other before we checked the answer (on the software we usually
did this one question at a time). After we checked our answer, we made
sure we understood the reasoning for the answer, particularly if we
got it wrong, or if we got it right but only because we guessed the
correct letter. Attention to detail counts here. Read each word in
the question and answer. Then we'd take lunch.
After the MC
questions, we would start on the essays (should be the yellow book).
Again, we'd read a question, come up with an answer, explain the rule of
law, and support our position. For these, we usually were pretty
close with our answers, but our reasoning might differ slightly, except
in the situations where we simply had no idea about the topic of the
question (this will happen - make sure you make note of it and keep
going - don't get bogged down). We would do this for 3-5 hours,
usually getting through 3-6 essays (don't worry about speed, which will
come, worry about getting the rules down). Then it was time for coffee
and coca-cola breaks.
Then, depending on our energy level, we
would consider going over the Procedure and Evidence questions - you
want to do these a couple times, just to make sure you're comfortable
with the questions - there's a limited number of questions that they can
ask, so you should have little trouble getting these in your head.
of the things that we had to do was keep something around to occupy
ourselves - we had toy swords and a Nerf ball that we would bat around,
and a yardstick we would balance from time to time. I find that I need
to keep active while I'm studying, it helps me focus. This is
certainly not for everyone and if you are studying with anyone, make
sure that your study partner is of similar activity requirement.
keep your sense of humor, don't get discouraged. Should you find yourself flailing or feeling like you don't know
anything, just recite the common law standard for burglary (the unlawful
breaking and entering of a dwelling house of another at night with the intent to
commit a felony therein). This helps you refocus and get the ball
rolling again - it can galvanize you. You know the
information, you just need to practice getting it out. Like I said
before - the exam is there to challenge you, not to try to fail you. If
you ever need any bad jokes to ease the stress, I may know one or two.