Should I Focus on Outlining or Taking Bar Practice Essays

by Dustin on

In this video, I discuss whether to focus more on taking bar exam practice essays or reading outlines.

Hey everyone! Dustin here from and author of the #1 Amazon bestseller, The 7 Steps to Bar Exam Success. And I get this question all the time from students, is “should I focus more on outlining or focus more on practice essay writing?”

My answer is going to be a little bit bias because I was not much of an outliner in law school, and I certainly didn’t outline on the bar exam. And when I talk about outlining, I mean getting a list of all the rules and beginning to condense it down. I don’t mean the outlining where you do the 15 minutes you do before an essay. That’s not what I’m talking about here. So it’s the other outlining.

So should I outline more or should I focus on writing more essays? And my answer is going to be 90% of the time focus more on writing essays because plain and simply that’s what you’re going to be asked to do on your bar exam, and the more you can practice actually doing what you’ll be tested on, the better off you’re going to be.

One of the biggest causes of bar exam failure, in fact the #1 cause of bar exam failure is that people don’t do enough practice essays. They spend a lot of time on the outlining and condensing it down to making it look nice and pretty, to the extent where they could probably sell those outlines online. But in reality, when you take that bar exam and you’re just going based off the outline, you’re not going to remember exactly how to go about it.

The actual essay that you’re taking is going to require you to do writing skills, issue spotting, rule memorizing, all the kinds of things. The outlining maybe gives you the rules and kind of how it works a little bit but it doesn’t give you all the other tools, and it certainly doesn’t put you in the trenches as if you’re actually taking the bar exam.

If you’re one of those outline people, that’s fine to do that. I’d recommend do less of it and do more actual practice essay taking. And if you’re a repeater watching this, look at that. Maybe you spent too much time outlining and not enough time taking actual essays. That’s my tip. That’s my advice.

I know there’s a question that comes up based on that slick. “How do I write an essay if I don’t have my outline yet? If I don’t know the rules, how do I write the essay?” I’ll talk about that in a separate video but the short answer is you just dive in, you do the essay and you’ll learn through the context of writing the essay.

That’s my tip. I will definitely take essays way over outlining because it’s just going to help you pass the bar exam. It’s going to be more beneficial for you when you take your bar exam. That’s my tip for today.   

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Also, as a favor, I would really appreciate if you’d like and would share this video to your friends or family, if you want your family to see this, to see me talking on here. I’d appreciate that as well. Until next time. I’ll see you on the next video. And always remember, that your name appears on the pass list.

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