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Candid Bar Exam Advice from IHateLawschool.com!

IHateLawschool.com Bar Advice:  General Strategy

One of the most frequent questions that we receive from future lawyers is how we approached preparing for and taking the bar exam. Obviously, much like your fingerprints, the best way to study for the bar is unique for everyone and I can’t promise you that what worked for me will work for you. Enough of the legal disclaimers, let’s talk about how I approached the bar. Overall, my approach was pretty simple. First of all, I was fortunate enough that the firm I was going to work for reimbursed me for my bar review classes. This saved me from having to weigh the value of taking a bar prep course versus a hefty financial outlay. All that aside, I would have probably bit the bullet and signed up for a bar course anyway. If you can't afford to take a bar exam course, it certainly isn't the end of the world. In fact, IHateLawSchool.com provides a great list of recommended bar exam study aids.

Now, back to me. I graduated from law school in 2002 and BarBri was the most popular course in Texas at that time. I found the BarBri course and the materials that were provided to be pretty helpful. I attended 90% of the classes, and always made sure I copied the notes from a friend if I missed the class. In addition to the class, I made note cards with EVERY SINGLE item from the BarBri lecture materials. This resulted in about five shoeboxes full of note cards and some massive hand cramping. This may seems obsessive to some of you, but I tend to be very good at memorizing things, so having to visualize the answer before I flipped over the card worked well for me. By the day of the bar, I think I had about 80% of the cards memorized, so this gave me quite a bit of confidence. Another question we frequently receive is as to when you should really buckle down and study. This is a great question and a lot of people are of the opinion that for the July bar, three weeks before (i.e. around the Fourth of July) is a great time to get cranking. I actually started a little bit earlier, but didn’t exactly go “all-in” studying at this point. I tried to pace myself as much as possible. A normal day would include going to bar review, having lunch with fellow preppers, hitting the driving range for an hour or so, taking a nap, and then studying for an hour or two that night. In the final ten days or so before the big date, I usually skipped the driving range (but not the nap) and upped my studying to four or five hours a night.

One thing that you should be particularly conscious about is burning yourself out. Repeat after me: “I can’t memorize everything.” Guess what? You don’t have to. A passing score in the State of Texas is 675, which means 67.5% and that usually gets you an “F”. The night before the bar exam began, I honestly didn’t study all that much. I actually checked into a hotel to try to hide from the Internet and television, but the bar inconveniently conflicted with Season 1 of American Idol, and the battle between Justin and Kelly won. Yes – I am a loser. Notwithstanding that fact, if you have put your time in on a fairly consistent basis over the several months up to the bar, a couple of hours of studying while chewing off the last of your fingernails isn’t going to mean much.

Click here for my advice related to the "Day of the Bar".

Return to the Bar Advice Main Page

We also recommend these great Bar Exam Study Aids:

  1. Supreme Bar Review: First Year Review
  2. Supreme Bar Review: MPRE DVD Outline Set
  3. Supreme Bar Review: Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)
  4. PMBR Multistate Bar Review Flashcards
  5. PMBR Multistate Bar Review Audio CD Set
  6. Legal Bar: Multistate Bar Review Software
  7. Legal Path: MBE (Multistate Bar Exam) Bar Review
  8. If I Don't Pass the Bar I'll Die: 73 Ways to Keep Stress and Worry from Affecting Your Performance on the Bar Exam
  9. Law In A Flash Flashcards: Multistate Bar Exam Review Set
  10. Strategies & Tactics for the MPRE
  11. Strategies & Tactics for the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)
  12. Gilbert Law Summaries: BankruptcStrategies & Tactics Series: The Finz Multistate Method
  13. The Study Group's Multistate Bar Exam Personal Trainer CD-ROM
  14. MPRE: Ultimate Exam Prep
  15. Legal Bar: Multistate Bar Review Software
  16. Law Decks: Multistate Bar Exam Flashcard Set
  17. Rigos Primer Series: MBE Review Course (2 Vols.)
  18. PLI MultiState Bar Exam Study Course (CD-ROMs)
  19. Law In A Nutshell: The Bar Exam
  20. Scoring High on Bar Exam Essays: CD Companion

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