Law School Discussion

Venting about Bar Exam

Venting about Bar Exam
« on: June 26, 2011, 09:30:22 AM »

I just graduated from a fairly good law school (one of those tied for 35th in USNews) and am now, like many of you, studying for the bar exam.  I'm doing the barbri online course, and am very overwhelmed.  Prior to law school, I thought the largest hurdle to overcome to becoming a lawyer would actually be completing law school, but I'm finding bar review to be much more difficult than anything I ever faced in law school.  I'm amazed that the pass rate is so high (I'm taking the bar in Michigan, where there's a first time pass rate around 85%), and have no idea how I will be able to cram enough of the information into my brain in time for the exam. 

A friend of mine from my law school suggested that law graduates from lower ranked schools tend to have an easier time with the bar exam because their schools teach to the bar, which ours does not.  My school focuses a lot on theory, and therefore a ton of the black letter law on the exam is new.  I'm studying everyday, basically going as hard as I can, but worry that I'm moving at too slow a pace to be ready.  Does anyone else feel this way about studying?  Anyone have any tips on how to feel more optimistic?  Right now I feel like there's a 50-50 chance I will pass. 

I greatly appreciate any advice anyone can give me.  Thank you.     

Re: Venting about Bar Exam
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2011, 02:27:10 PM »
I greatly appreciate any advice anyone can give me.  Thank you.   

Ag -

As to lesser-ranked students being taught to the bar, not quite.   In any event, a few thoughts:

Don't try to "cram."  That is the method that has somehow seeped into our collective academic consciousness.  It's a terrible idea, and it doesn't work very well.

Instead, this is the time to synthesize what was learned--often fleetingly--for the first year especially.  Dig out your outlines.  What you'll do is twofold.  First, perfect your outline for each subject.  Does each part make sense?  When you look at each element, it starts to become elementary.  As you go through the bar review lectures, fit each piece back into that puzzle.  The acid test:  it should be "ah ha!," not "huh?!" 

Second, condense each outline from 30-50 pages to 1-2 pages.  Seriously.  This is what you need to have walking into the bar exam.  But not as sheets of paper.  Rather, it's etched into your mind.  But not because you're "cramming."  Rather, it's because you've gone over it so many times it's just so basic. 

Third, this should be fun.  Really.  Listening to the tapes and even being in the exam should be stressful, yes, but it should also be exhilarating . . . and calming.  The reaction should be "So that's what we were talking about in first year." 

You can do this.  You will do this.  You were smart enough to get into a good law school . . . you're going to be fine. 

Will type more, but gotta' run. 

Best of luck, sincerely,