Chapter I. Introduction 18 results (showing 5 best matches)
- At a recent law school graduation ceremony, I ran across a highly successful student named Elena. Elena was pretty excited as she walked across the stage and happily hugged her family and friends. If anyone could handle the bar prep stresses, everyone figured, it was Elena. Yet, just two weeks later, she couldn’t have been further removed from her former self, wearing what seemed to be a permanent frown, as she tried to dig herself out of the bar prep blues. By the time of the exam, she was worn out, unsmiling and just plain tired – exhausted from studying, sick of the subject matter and fed up with the singular demands of the bar exam. The long and short of it was that she wasn’t mentally and emotionally prepared to take the exam and she didn’t pass. Don’t get the bar prep blues – psyche yourself up. You’re about to experience one of the hardest processes of your life. However, if you truly have a curiosity about the law and want to tie up some of those loose ends you never really...
- “It is good to go into the bar prep period understanding that preparing for the bar exam is not supposed to be easy.”
- Now, you knew all along that there was going to be a bar exam, but it had always been a distant mountain. But now that mountain is right in front of you and the sample questions look a lot different than what you thought. With the bar exam mountain looming overhead, let’s face it - you’re bummed out.
- Why is the bar exam so frustrating, even for the most accomplished of students like Elena? There are a lot of reasons, ranging from the organizational to the psychological. The main reason is that there are numerous distinctions between the bar exam and traditional law school finals. Let’s start with a few distinctions to get this point across before it’s too late.
- B. BAR PREP BLUES
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Chapter IV. Qualities of Successful Exam Takers 66 results (showing 5 best matches)
- The goal, therefore, is to identify time usage each day and look for spaces in which bar prep can occur. If a person has no responsibilities other than studying for the bar exam, there
- Your exercise in judgment relates to decisions all along the bar preparation continuum, from which prep course to take, if any, to exam-time decisions of how much to write in response to an essay question. Exercising judgment also involves the existence and nature of self-assessment, particularly the effectiveness of the preparations. In this regard, judgment concerns the relationship between the inputs and outputs of studying. In other words, judgment involves the connection between what you put in and what you get out of it.
- If uninterrupted prep time is not available, consider sharing time with other tasks. One obvious location is in the car, where driving often is one of several activities. Drivers listen to the radio, talk on a cell phone, dictate, gaze at the scenery, talk with passengers and eat and drink. “Car time” can be used for bar preparation as much as any other time of the day, although it is not as valued as “study-room” time, which can be singularly devoted to bar preparation. (There’s no need to watch out for other drivers in your study room.) Mealtime is another place to “steal” some bar prep time, if needed. This type of “time share” should occur only based on need – if possible, driving time should be spent focused on the road exclusively and mealtime on eating.
- Treat Bar Prep as Your First Law Job
- Just because bar prep is treated like work does not mean it has to be absolutely horrible. Students should include variety and try to make it as interesting as possible.
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Chapter XIII. The Workbook Chapter: Applying Your Knowledge 19 results (showing 5 best matches)
- Another reason for this workbook chapter is that to really understand the components of a course, it is not enough to just read about it. That’s like taking an auto mechanic’s course and watching films of auto mechanics repairing cars. Sure, that’s helpful, but it won’t help you become the expert – and that’s the goal for the bar exam. So, this chapter is more about you taking the car apart and putting it back together to get the real feel for what the auto mechanic must do.
- Although it’s useful for us to describe in broad terms what we mean by “studying smart” and using active techniques, it’s a heckuva lot more helpful to demonstrate what we’re preaching to you. Students learn to worship outlines and start to believe that they are the keys to the magic kingdom of success. In reality, however, even the best outlines focus mainly on the first step of the learning process, which is content-knowledge. Outlines don’t provide a path to the proper execution (meaning application or method-knowledge) of the knowledge you learn. This execution, or application, of knowledge – which is really critical reading, thinking and writing – is essential to passing the bar exam. It’s like buying all of the right ingredients for a great meal but not knowing how to cook them. (Many students who go astray in their studying often don’t even know they are heading in the wrong direction.) So this is the workbook chapter – we’ve told you what to do and now we’re going to give...
- THE WORKBOOK CHAPTER: APPLYING YOUR KNOWLEDGE
- We called this chapter a “workbook chapter” because it is primarily centered around you, the reader, actively working through problems. It’s not about you being a passive observer. You are the “doer,” the “decider”. To check how you are doing, the answers to the problems are located in the back of the chapter.
- WORKBOOK CHAPTER - ANSWERS AND EXPLANATIONS
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A Note from Steven I. Friedland 2 results
- Because the essence of this book is about preparing efficiently, and not simply about the number of total hours logged, it is filled with pragmatic tips to help make good use of your true bar prep currency: TIME. In a sense, this book is your navigational guide through foreign land – namely the bar exam. Take it from us, it is a land you will visit once – and hope to never see again. We hope it guides you well.
- This book had several sources of inspiration. It is partly based on educational literature about learning. It’s also founded on a compilation of personal experiences, from teaching full-time in law schools for 20 years, to teaching bar review courses for more than a decade, to taking and passing three states’ bar exams and, perhaps most importantly, to tutoring many students after they failed the bar exam on multiple occasions. This book draws significantly from the experiences of many students who have passed – and failed – the exam. All these sources have taught me that not everyone learns the same way, especially when it comes to the very unforgiving bar exam. Consequently, this book has been designed to offer a variety of techniques and strategies, especially for those people who have difficulty in preparing for and succeeding on a test of the magnitude and nature of the bar exam.
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Chapter VIII. Critical Thinking Techniques 14 results (showing 5 best matches)
- With the overwhelming quantity of information unleashed by the bar exam, it is easy to lose sight of the forest for all of the trees. When prepping, students should make sure they label the particular forest – really, course – each rule is from. For example, instead of diving right in to understand all of the elements of
- a. Learning the Vocabulary of Bar Prep
- Doctrinal triggers are facts that trigger legal issues. In a sense, these triggers are part of, and aid, critical reading. Instead of law then facts, the bar exam is facts then law – just like your law school exams. Why not study for the way you will be tested? It is useful to see economic laws passed by Congress as possibly triggering the commerce clause or the questions about a witness’ truthfulness as triggering impeachment issues (unless the witness is a party, which may also trigger character evidence rules).
- (3) Make Sure Your Studying is “Useful for the Bar Exam”
- Thinking is not something that one does entirely inside one’s head. It is expressed, either in writing, verbally; or even nonverbally. For the bar exam, too many students do not have any outward expression on a day-to-day basis to see if they are thinking or how that thinking is going. Feedback is important and to get it, there must be practice in critical thinking.
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Chapter III. Common Mistakes Bar-Takers Make 47 results (showing 5 best matches)
- A few years ago, while sitting in my office, I received a phone call from a former student named Todd. After a brief hesitation, Todd declared he had just flunked the bar. Todd was very smart and did very well in law school, so it was a bit surprising. But upon a closer look, it was not very surprising at all. In law school, Todd worked full-time and was not all that prepared for class. Instead, Todd cranked it up for exams. Todd sought advice on how he could improve his chances for the upcoming bar exam. Before I responded to his question, I asked him what had gone wrong. Finally, the obvious came out - Todd admitted he was working full-time throughout the bar prep period and that he didn’t really have a chance to seriously study until a week and a half before the actual exam. I could almost see Todd’s sheepish grin on the phone when he said, “Well, I know I need to study more. I was hoping to pull it out in the end just like in law school. I was too busy with my job, trying not to...
- There are plenty of reasons why students don’t pass the bar exam. Most of the time, it has nothing to do with how intelligent they are. It has more to do with the choices they make between the time they should start studying and the time they take the exam. Taking the bar exam is different than any other exam most students have ever taken and that’s because it is written in its own vocabulary, almost like a secret code. Your objective is to decrypt that code and feel comfortable when taking the exam so you don’t get intimidated or upset when you stumble across a word or question that seems confusing.
- Working while preparing for the bar exam is common and sometimes unavoidable. With money being a scarce resource, it is a fact of life that bar exam preparations must coexist with having some source of income. Many students successfully negotiate jobs in combination with bar exam preparation, but it does ratchet up the level of difficulty. While lawyer-employers certainly understand the pressures and necessities of the bar exam, lawyers unfortunately seem to forget how much time is
- This may surprise you, but it’s common for bar exam takers to score higher on the actual bar exam than on any of their practice tests! Remember, most of the preparation course materials you’re using are designed to prepare you for the worst. Although the questions on the bar exam will look a little different, sound a little less recognizable and throw you for a little bit of a loop, if you have prepared properly, you will have learned how to sort the potentially good from the clearly bad answers.
- Radical personal transformations before the bar exam generally don’t help bar exam performance.
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Chapter II. Familiarity with the Bar Exam 21 results (showing 5 best matches)
- Ironically, because the bar exam is a different type of test than those that preceded it, you’re going to be in uncharted waters – just like being first year students all over again. Gee, aren’t you lucky? Getting the edge on bar exam preparation requires understanding the bar exam “game” just as much as law school exams offered a “game” or undergraduate evaluations provided a “game.” For some students, the lack of understanding about the “game” coincides with the lack of a “game plan.”
- Perhaps the greatest distinction between law school essay exams and the bar exam is the way the questions are asked. Bar examiners usually have very specific, directed “stems” – the part of the question in which the test-taker is asked to do something. In law school, many of the exams simply ask the students to “discuss the legal issues presented” or even just “discuss.” On the bar exam, the questions usually are in complete sentences and often ask the students to play a particular role, like an attorney for a defendant.
- Most bar examinations are two or three days long. Florida has only a two-day exam whereas California and New York, states that include performance testing, have a three-day exam. Question types vary. Although most bar examinations rely heavily on objective questions, such as multiple choice, essays are still an important component.
- The essay questions on the bar examination are based on a variety of subjects. Many states test a larger number of subjects than others and essays can mix together several subjects or be solely committed to a single topic. In Arizona, for example, there are no multiple choice questions on its state bar exam. Instead, there are a dozen essays. When essay questions are given, they are usually offered in a uniform manner, with the same length of time allotted and the same approach to legal issues. The essays are distinctive, however, when compared to essay questions on law school exams. The calls of bar exam essay questions often are very specific and directed. Rarely will a bar exam question be framed as “Discuss” or “Analyze the legal issues.” There also may be two or more questions asked in a single essay. Remember, this isn’t law school. Don’t expect the expected.
- In questions about Evidence, both law school courses and the bar exam are in sync, focusing on hearsay. The vast expanse of hearsay, however, requires knowledge of what out-of-court assertions are not hearsay, as well as what statements fall within the exceptions. And what about the dreaded Best Evidence Rule? It is on the exam, but not a highlight for the examiners.
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A Note from Jeffrey Scott Shapiro 4 results
- I strongly suggest you use the methods in this book and stay in close contact with your classmates whether they’re from law school or a bar prep class, if they’re studying as effectively as you are. Not only will their feedback be helpful in learning course material, it will help keep you going. Don’t get down. You’re about to learn more about the law in a few weeks than you learned in all three years of law school. If you had any doubt in your mind about your knowledge of the law, you’ll know it by exam time. Remember, although this test is important, it’s not life or death. Try to keep it in perspective. This is simply a rite of passage, nothing more. If the bar examiners were ‘cool,’ it would be a straightforward test. But the bar examiners are definitely not cool, not in the least. They’re going to try and throw you off course. We’re going to keep you on it. Whether you’re taking this test for the first time or the third time, play it cool, play it smart and keep your head held...
- When I graduated from law school at the University of Florida in May 2005, I only had a week before my first bar preparation class began with PMBR. A few days after that was over, I started my other bar prep class with BARBRI. It’s unfortunate that I didn’t get in the study mode the first couple of weeks, because once I did, I was learning more than I ever have. The hardest part was actually not knowing how much I had to study and how to make use of my time effectively.
- When I studied for the bar exam, I started out very unsure of how to proceed. If I had known how to study correctly from the first day, I would have had a much easier time with it. Whatever kind of student you are, you can channel your particular strengths in a creative way to pass this exam.
- As time went on, I realized that although the BARBRI prep class schedule was a good barometer on how to spend my time, I needed to really adapt to my own study needs. Instead of moving forward as the schedule dictated, I eventually started studying what I needed to, the way I needed to learn it best. This proved to be much more effective.
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Chapter IX. Critical Writing Techniques 9 results (showing 5 best matches)
- It is somewhat understandable that students do not regularly practice their writing during bar preparations. In law school, exam preparation did not routinely include essay writing under time pressure, but rather centered on notes, outlines and oral interaction. For the bar exam, the focus often is displaced - on coverage and the mass of raw material.
- During your bar course and all throughout law school, others probably preached the virtues of using IRAC when writing your exam essays. Let’s quickly review this silly acronym. You’re supposed to spot the issue and then list it, address the rules of that issue, analyze (whatever that really means) and then write a conclusion. Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion. What’s wrong with this picture? Well, for starters, IRAC is so flexible that bar-takers never really use it the way it’s intended to be used. IRAC is used to fit whatever you want to write in your essay, so people who are practicing writing never really end up writing it the same way on the bar exam. Why? Because they often practice it in a shorthand version to save time and energy like it’s a mere note-taking exercise as opposed to actually writing a full-length answer for the bar examiners. When you turn in your bar exam essays, you need to have the framework down on how you are actually going to answer a question in full...bar
- For that matter, fewer students practice it, even when their careers are on the line - namely, when they are studying for the bar exam. It is ironic that with all of the money and effort expended in preparing for the bar exam, most test-takers write their first full-length essay under time pressure at the actual exam itself. Even professional athletes have “spring training” or “exhibition” games in which to prepare for the actual contests.
- In law school, a “note dump” on an exam often was received kindly, enhancing the perceived content
- A big problem in writing for the bar exam is there is no “professor” you can use to help you orient yourself in writing your essays. Remember how you learned to take the professor and not the course in isolation? There are also many subjects that could be tested. So you must keep the “big picture” in mind – what are the subject areas that are being tested? Make sure you get the issues – and don’t make any wrong turns at intersections. This is the “big picture.” Then, watch the details – apply the pertinent rules carefully, without being conclusory. Both skills are needed for the bar exam.
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Chapter XI. The Exam is Now - Strategies and Tactics 19 results (showing 5 best matches)
- This is a critical aspect of the bar exam experience. We strongly advise you to make reservations several months or even a year in advance. The city that is hosting the bar exam is most likely going to be booked solid by the time you arrive.
- Here’s our simple advice. Treat this test seriously, but just sail through it as you did with your practice questions. If you did relatively well on those, you’ll probably do well on these, even if they look a bit different. Remember, this is a bar exam – not a medical exam. The worst-case scenario is not that you’re going to die. You’re just going to have to take it over. It’s really not the end of the world. Your professors, bar instructors, fellow students and the test center conditions enhance the paranoia of how important this test is, but put it in perspective.
- Congratulations, you’ve finally made it to the bar exam. It’s time for you to give it your all and put this chapter of your life behind you. Make sure you have this positive outlook. This is an opportunity for you to move forward in life. Every minute that passes is one step closer to finishing this exam. There are some people who look at the clock as a ticking time bomb, dreading every moment that they get closer to exam time. Instead, we suggest the alternative perspective. You should realize that every minute you get closer to the exam, the closer you are to being finished with it. As we said in earlier chapters, this day is going to go more quickly than any other day of your life. You will get tired and frustrated, but you will also feel exhilarated.
- You’re better off staying at a hotel as close to the bar exam site as possible. The best case scenario is staying somewhere within walking distance. This will help you to avoid unnecessary traffic, rushing and complications in the morning. There’s another issue. You aren’t staying in your hotel after the second test day, which means that you have to check out that morning. Therefore, you either need to take your luggage with you to the exam, leave it in the trunk of your car in a paid parking garage or leave it with the concierge at your hotel and return to it later on. You’re much better off simply leaving it with the concierge at a hotel across the street from the exam site, walking back and making for a quick getaway when it’s over.
- You’ll arrive at your desk and most likely will be sitting beside someone you’ve never met before. Introduce yourself if you want and find something to talk about. (Or be unsociable – that is perfectly acceptable here. The goal is to pass the bar exam, not make a new friend.) As hard as you try to talk about something else, you’ll most likely both discuss how unfamiliar the strange test conditions are. Almost everyone taking the exam has the same conversation. The repeat takers or lawyers moving in state who have already taken the bar will be a bit less chatty. They know the drill. At the front of the room, there will be an announcer who will be talking in a very monotone voice, telling you not to open your test booklet and where the restrooms are. It’s extremely annoying and often makes people more nervous.
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Chapter V. Goals are Everything - A Schedule for Bar Exam Success 23 results (showing 5 best matches)
- Students should make a solid decision about what to study and when. Without such overt, known decision-making, all of the students’ efforts may go for naught. They might work extremely hard – but not in an effective way. People describe this problem as “spinning their wheels.” NASCAR and bar prep may have more in common than people believe.
- While “winging it” can be a successful approach to the bar exam, most bar-takers (and attorneys) try to fully prepare. Why do even the best lawyers prepare for the bar exam when they go to another jurisdiction? Because having a plan is essential. The first step in effective preparation is detailing when, what, where and how learning will take place. Writing that plan down in the form of a schedule, rather than just thinking or talking about it, makes a difference.
- One yardstick is to treat the bar preparations as a full-time job and to allocate studying time accordingly. It is generally not a good idea to try to study every waking hour and engage in “overkill” right from the start – bar exam burnout is a serious potential problem.
- There is no magic number as to how many months it takes to prepare for the bar exam. A rolling start that increases in strength and duration works for some. Others need a discrete amount of time that allows for their undivided attention. A general rule is that 2 to 3 months of is a standard minimum. If significant deficiencies in skills exist, more than the traditional two plus months separating the end of the semester and the bar exam may be warranted.
- One of the most important parts in creating a bar exam study plan is having identifiable goals. Many students think that studying for the bar is just about input, what they learn while sitting and listening and reading and that all that input turns into output for the exam. But it’s not that simple. You’ve got to be able to verbalize and write the rules and elements as you learn them and explain what they mean. Despite what you may believe, rote memorization isn’t going to cut it. Your bar review classes are very important, but those are just the raw ingredients. You need to organize them and then use them to create “output.” You need to be able to understand and explain to your peers what the rules and elements mean and especially how to apply them.
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Table of Contents 20 results (showing 5 best matches)
Chapter X. The Approach to Game Day 26 results (showing 5 best matches)
- Like most law students, you’re probably conditioned to study hard even the day before the exam. In fact, you may think it’s wise to study right up to the last minute. With the bar exam, that’s a serious mistake. This isn’t a two or three hour exam. The test’s duration is nearly eight hours, including your lunch break.
- Here’s a familiar scenario for you to expect. Okay, it’s the day before the exam and you’ve just pulled up to your hotel (preferably a Marriott, but maybe you can only afford a Holiday Inn – whatever, as long as it’s clean and close to the exam site, we’re good to go). You get out of your car and check in. You notice a barrage of law students walking around in pairs and triplets. You’ll see some people in the hotel bar drinking. These might be takers who, for whatever reason, seem to think that they can operate better on alcohol. We don’t recommend this path, especially since most of you reading this book haven’t taken the bar yet, so stay away from the bar.
- Another important piece of advice is not to obsess over a question. If you can’t find the answer, if you’re just not seeing it and after two minutes go by you just can’t grasp it, let it go. It’s not as if another seven minutes of dwelling on it will help you. Remember, for every minute you spend on one question you can’t answer, you’re deducting time from other questions you have the capacity to answer because they’re within the scope of what you studied and retained. And now that the bar examiners on the multistate are throwing in practice questions to be “pretested,” there is absolutely no reason to linger. Besides, there are always a group of exceedingly hard questions that are thrown on the bar exam that even the best bar-takers can’t figure out. Consider these questions “quicksand.” We believe these questions are systematically designed to slow you down and get you stuck. The longer you obsess over these questions, the more you will sink lower and lower both in the sense of...
- Here’s another thought. With only three weeks to go, you should start simulating exam conditions. Feel what it’s like and start acting like the bar is tomorrow. Take note of how much time it takes for you to get up and fall asleep. Also take heed of when you eat and what kind of physical impact certain foods have on you around lunchtime. If a turkey sandwich makes you tired, avoid that on exam day. If a cheeseburger makes you sick, ditch that too. Make sure you start sleeping on a schedule that parallels the same schedule for exam week. Don’t suddenly switch your schedules or routines. Determine what works for you and make a routine practice of it for the next weeks and then stick with it.
- The week before the exam is a time when you should “stay the course” personally and professionally. This is not the time to start a diet, relationship or hobby or end one. It is also not the time to dramatically change study habits. Those who cram are going to want to start a “24/7” scorched earth policy of learning everything at all hours, but remember, this exam is just like a big athletic contest and you want to stick to your carefully constructed training regime. As noted in the toxic people section above, this is the time you put out the “do not disturb” sign – even for relatives and close friends. If they just don’t get it, then they are not acting in your best interest. Other bar-takers may turn into toxic, needy people the week before the exam as well, so beware.
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Chapter XII. Post-Mortems 9 results (showing 5 best matches)
- The Multistate exam conditions won’t be any different than the state part of your exam and vice-versa, so we won’t bore you by repeating the previous part. By 4:30 p.m. you likely will be finished with the MBE and thus finished with your bar exam adventure. There’s only one part left and we strongly recommend it. It’s time to celebrate.
- After taking the first day of the bar exam, I mostly remembered those questions that for the life of me had at least two correct answers. Impossible questions in areas I had taught bugged me even more. I knew that holding on to these questions was not a smart move
- If you’re taking the entire bar exam, you’ve most likely just finished the state part of the exam and you are probably exhausted. You have walked directly back to your hotel room and collapsed on top of your well-made bed, lying atop your comforter, staring at the hotel room ceiling. You immediately wonder what other people put down for their answers. You may feel tempted to ask your friends how they answered questions. If you engage in this risky conduct, do so only with intellectual curiosity. Don’t start worrying if their answers differed from your own or they wrote something in their essay that you forgot. They may be wrong, and even if they’re right, there’s no way you can figure out whether you passed from memory. It’s impossible.
- Our advice: Just take it easy. Take a vacation in Hawaii, or, if you really want to, now you can really go to Vegas. Now, it’s okay to go there and roll the dice all you want. Whatever you do, let the bar exam go. It’s time for you to enjoy your life for a while. You’ve survived one of the most intense studying processes in the world. You should be proud of yourself.
- One quicksand trap that many bar-takers fall into is that they begin to obsess over bar questions after the exam. This is extremely common and almost unavoidable. We don’t recommend it, but since one of the authors (guess who) is guilty of this charge, we won’t get down on you for it. It’s not uncommon to call all your friends and ask them what they put for a particular lengthy and memorable Constitutional Law fact pattern or a strange and confusing Contracts question (even providing the number of the question). You may have even encountered a couple of questions in which you couldn’t figure out exactly which subject area you were in – the new “hybrid question” fact pattern. Hopefully, you were able to figure it out by applying the framework. If you weren’t, hopefully your instincts drew you to the right answer.
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Chapter VII. Critical Reading Techniques 12 results (showing 5 best matches)
- On bar exam questions, like law school exams, some words work harder than others. The reason some words matter more than others for resolving questions relates to critical reading. Reading critically is the gateway to legal reasoning and problem solving. The natural sequence when taking a test is to read, think and act (usually write), although the three components really blend in with each other when working properly.
- Remember: on the bar exam, some words work harder than others
- A lot of people pass right on by critical reading when preparing for the bar exam. This is a big mistake, however, because “trigger words” help you spot the issue. Identifying issues, and judging which issues are the best ones to negotiate, is a really important skill that will help you take command of the exam. Reading critically isn’t something that’s “hardwired” in most students. Instead, critical reading takes practice and effort. Once you start, you’ll be hot on the trail and good to go. Just give yourself a chance. You may actually start enjoying your learning process.
- Just like in law school, there are different levels of advancement in the bar exam study process. Instead of being a 1L, 2L or 3L, however, you’ll have to be honest enough with yourself on where you stand in terms of preparation readiness and proficiency. There are always going to be certain people who only know one way to prepare for a test, and it may be difficult for them to “rocket up to the next level.”
- book at this point? After 5 chapters, you’re probably thinking, c’mon guys! I’m sick of all of this bar exam nonsense.
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Preface 5 results
- The point of our title is that the bar exam is different than law school in a lot of ways. It has its own set of very distinguishable rules, obstacles and wording. It is almost safe to say that the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), the folks who write the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), incorporate a writing style that comes right out of the Restatement, the U.C.C. and the Federal Rules of Evidence. In their own peculiar way, the bar examiners are an unknown entity to most law students. Not many law students know much about why they pick the answer choices they do, but we’re going to do our best in this book to help get you acquainted.
- Now, let us tell you a little about our friend, Lady Luck, since she isn’t often that kind to bar takers. It isn’t uncommon for people to miss their state limit by anywhere from 1 to 5 points, and if you’re on the edge, you often will come close but not close enough. It’s rarely the reverse – barely passing – when gambling with the bar exam.
- The Essential Rules for Bar Exam Success
- Confused? Don’t worry. We’re going to explain all of this later on. Just do yourself a favor right now and take this advice – don’t find out how the examiners do things the hard way. Let’s get this right the first time. If you’re taking this exam for the second time, then let’s make sure there’s not a third. And if you’re taking it for the umpteenth time, let’s make this your last. You can do it. Just believe in yourself and avoid the mistake of studying the wrong way. If you already have, it’s time to unlearn it. Remember, no matter how far you’ve gone down the wrong road, you still have to turn back to get on the right road. You need two months or more to effectively prepare for the bar exam. We’re going to get into time management in a few pages. You’ve already made the first move by reading this book, so sit back, relax and take it all in.
- Now, don’t get too excited. This book isn’t a ‘magic pill’ that’s going to make the pain, drudgery and required effort disappear into the horizon. After all, you’ve got to put in your due diligence. Preparation isn’t merely about input (meaning how many bar courses you can take or how many materials you’re using); it’s also about output (what you learn from those materials).
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Prologue 4 results
- Most students pass the bar exam on the first try, so don’t worry. This test is far from impossible. With the guidance of a few touchstones, including structure, discipline, mastery of the essential material and competency in critical reading, thinking and writing under time pressure, you can pass the bar exam and move on with your life. Or, you can go back to having a life. Now that we’ve set the record straight, let’s get on with it.
- as the character Rosanne Roseannadanna, “If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.” People who have difficulty with the bar exam usually attribute it to one thing or another. Those reasons fall along a broad spectrum, ranging from a lack of mental preparation, to an unwillingness to devote the necessary time and effort, to bad test-taking skills. For some people, the long and winding bar exam road leads to a plethora of motivational problems. For others, the surprise comes when they finally ‘get’ that they really had no idea how to study properly. This book was designed to help people who are hurt by “one thing or another” by offering some ideas of how to approach the test effectively. Since people learn differently, we’re going to offer you a few different strategies to choose from.
- We are going to focus on the three most important things you will need to pass the bar exam: (1) Course and question frameworks (a.k.a. maps); (2) Deep knowledge; and (3) Application (transferring your knowledge to different fact patterns and contexts).
- Even if this book helps you minimize, but not eliminate, preparation mistakes, it should still be of value. Although the goal of preparation is mastery and you should plan on an Air Force strategy (aiming high), your real objective is just to pass. Remember, this is not law school. First lesson - you don’t need an “A” on this exam. You just need to get a C . Don’t exhaust yourself cramming in every tiny detail. Learn the “big rocks,” the “main courses,” the essential rules of the bar exam. Don’t worry so much about the “side salads,” at least not yet. Prioritize – some things are indeed more important than others.
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Chapter VI. Techniques for Success 10 results (showing 5 best matches)
- How to Analyze Bar Exam Questions
- Let’s face it. Sometimes the best answers to complex questions are very simple. One very common problem for bar takers is that they get over-paranoid and assume that an obvious answer must be a trick answer. This is perhaps the worst trick of all. Because some of the bar exam questions are very difficult and sometimes tricky and many bar classes teach you to be wary of obvious answers, you may start fighting your own instincts. At the very least, it’s important to remember one simple rule - your first instinct may often be right. Although some of the more difficult questions may require deep rule analysis, you must have the confidence to trust yourself. If you hesitate too much, you may find yourself haunted by two answers you can’t seem to choose between. The best way to avoid agonizing over an obvious answer and a tricky answer is to know the rules and elements and understand them.
- pressure and ask you a series of questions). If it’s helpful, she’ll also take an x-ray. Okay, we’re going to give you a framework system for analyzing bar exam questions. Each applicable rule in a bar question has its own set of protocols. The protocols would be the next step after you apply your course framework. Let’s turn our attention back to the medical example.
- Here’s another important tip. It’s very common for bar-takers to let a difficult question haunt them throughout the exam. Often times, your first instinct is right and you’ve made it safely to Hawaii. If you have confidence, you won’t let doubt get you on the Red-eye back to Las Vegas. It’s often very bad to change answers for a variety of reasons. For one, the MBE is done on a Scantron sheet that is being graded by a machine. As you well know, Scantron machines gobble up No. 2 lead. If you’ve erased an answer incompletely and the machine senses your first answer and your new answer, it will assume you’ve marked two answers for the same question and automatically mark the question wrong. Although you can pay seven dollars to the graders (American College Testing (ACT)) to hand-grade your exam afterwards, it is extremely unlikely that your re-grade will come back as you hope. Unless you marked the wrong answer choice for the wrong question (answering question 32 in the answer 33...
- Okay, now you’ve got a pretty good idea where we’re going with all this. However, all of this is useless unless you realize that without this kind of analysis, you’re going in the wrong direction. It’s good to get a study partner or even a bar tutor to get regular feedback on a timely basis. When people train for a competitive sport, they get a coach, right? What makes you think studying for the bar exam is any different? It’s not. Whether you’re getting the right answer or the wrong answer, it’s not as important as to whether or not you’re guessing or applying the proper framework and protocols to the question. To fix a problem, you’ve got to identify it first. You wouldn’t take your Corvette into an auto shop and let a mechanic simply guess at what’s wrong, would you? (Okay, we admit, this is probably an accurate version of what happens, but let’s pretend it’s a perfect world.)
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About the Authors 1 result
- Professor Steven I. Friedland has been a full-time professor of law for more than 20 years at several different law schools, currently as a Professor and Senior Scholar at Elon University School of Law. Friedland has worked for more than a decade with students who have had difficulty passing the bar exam. An honors graduate of Binghamton University and Harvard Law School, he also holds LL.M. and J.S.D. degrees from Columbia University. A former Assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C., Friedland has written several Evidence Law textbooks, a student guide to Criminal Law and a Constitutional Law textbook. He can be reached at:
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Acknowledgements 1 result
- Andrea Reid for sticking it out with me during the bar exam until the bitter, yet rewarding end; indebtedness to CBS News producers Susan Zirinsky, Joe Halderman, Doug Longhini, Erin Moriarity and Al Briganti, Journal News editors John Alcott and Bill Falk as well as my Section Chief, Duane Kokesch at the Washington, D.C. Attorney General’s Office for teaching me the respective trades of journalism and law. Finally, a very special thanks to former Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter, former Boulder Detective Steve Thomas and especially, First Amendment crusader Professor Rod Smolla, for inspiring me to go to law school and make a difference in the world.
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- Publication Date: June 18th, 2008
- ISBN: 9780314176783
- Subject: Bar Exam Success
- Series: Career Guides
- Type: Academic/Prof. Development
- Description: This book presents a method for teaching students to pass the bar that is easy to learn and implement. Topics covered include learning to study actively rather than passively; choosing study partners who will help, not hinder, your studying; learning to think, read, and write critically; dissecting multistate exam questions; coping with pressure; making the most of the weeks before the bar exam; and preparing for the day of the exam.