Preparing for the bar exam requires you to practice, practice and practice more, but having the right resources to study from is equally important. This article’s focus is upon the materials that worked for me and came recommended to me from ABA law school graduates and colleagues who have passed the bar on their first attempt. After following their advice, I finally passed.
First, you absolutely must have the current version of Barbri’s Mini Convisor Review. It’s all the black letter law you need to memorize for the bar exam. The law provided within this guide is complete, thorough and includes all the elements you’ll need to analyze in your essay responses. Use this review guide to create your rule statements and you’re well on your way to passing the bar exam. You can purchase it used or new.
The MBE portion requires more practice. You can use any of the MBE question books on the market and there are even online testing programs available, if that suits you. I suggest the Emmanuel Strategies and Tactics for the MBE. Answer as many practice questions as you can. You’ll need to learn from your mistakes and really notice the patterns in the questions to be able to answer all 200 questions within the time limit. Then, the night before the MBE test, only review your notes created from the answers you missed during practice.
To pass the bar exam, you need to practice. I recommend writing practice essays under timed conditions. Also, having someone else review your answers and give objective feedback is extremely helpful. I have taken several bar exam review courses, and they all, but one, over inflated my practice essay scores, which led me to believe I was performing better in practice than I did on the bar exam. When I finally found Bar Graders on the web and took more than 40 practice essays, my exam score significantly improved. These are past bar exam graders and I would want no one else grading my practice essays. Hands down, they should be your only bar review course.
Lastly, a few words about the Performance Test. Try a strategy that has you working efficiently on the performance test. There are a lot of performance exam strategies that will have you prepare a grid outline of the issues that match the law and you work from that grid to type or write your answer. Forget those graphs, charts and rainbow highlighter approaches because they don’t work and waste your precious time. Of course, many of the bar review courses include materials on the performance test, so you may not need to purchase additional materials. However, if you’re wondering what else is out there and what has worked for other bar exam takers, then its worth a search for additional materials. I wish you the very best in your preparations for the exam and in your career.