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There are 3 Laws to Always remember when preparing for your bar exam:
It astonishes me when talking with bar exam students to hear how much time they are spending on condensing outlines and reviewing rules, as opposed to getting into the grind and TAKING ACTUAL BAR EXAM PRACTICE TESTS, UNDER TIMED CONDITIONS.
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If there is one thing more important to focus on than anything else, it’s practice tests.
When you walk into that exam room on bar exam week, what do you think the bar exam graders are going to make you do? They are not going to ask you to spit out an outline. They are going to make you WRITE OUT… FULL ESSAYS… UNDER TIMED CONDITIONS.
So, what’s the BEST way to prepare for this?
1) WRITE OUT ESSAYS
2) DO THE ENTIRE ESSAY
3) TIME YOURSELF
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If you haven’t done at least 4 timed essays per topic, you are running a serious risk of joining the bar exam repeater group. And if you’re putting in all this time and effort, make sure you’re spending it doing the RIGHT THINGS.
I get it that you want to make your outline perfect, all nice and condensed. I get it you want to spend loads of time reviewing the rules.
Do both of those!
But, ALSO do practice tests! Lots of them!
I found doing practice tests, and reviewing my answers, then retaking the same test again until I got all the issues and facts in there, to be significantly more useful than any outline I ever made, but that could just be me.
Even if you are an outline-person, take time to do at least 4 timed practice tests per topic.
If you can’t do those tests completely, that means your outline is not getting you to where you should be, and you should do an extra 4 more tests!
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The bottom line is this. When you walk into that room on exam day, you’ll need to be able to complete the essays in one hour increments. If you’re outline is helping you do that, then outline away. If it’s not, then practice, practice, practice until you are.
Think about it.
I know practicing the essays under timed conditions sucks and it’s hard, especially because you probably don’t know all the rules that apply.
This is even more-so a reason to do it anyway.
One of the most overlooked bar exam skills, is MAKING UP RULES ON THE GO.
Yes, I said it.
You’re not going to know all the rules, especially in California. The bar exam is made that way ON PURPOSE.
The graders want to know who gets riled up easily and who keeps their composure enough to handle the problem put in front of them.
I made up rules many times on the bar exam. In fact, I had an entire Con Law essay on Takings, in which I had studied only very briefly in passing.
The only reason I passed was because I took lots of practice essays when I didn’t know what I was doing and practice the skill of finishing the essay by making up rules, using facts in the fact pattern, and just throwing them together.
This is a skill you may not realize you have to learn. But you do. It will help you a lot!
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Get out there and practice.
“This name appears on the pass list.”