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5 Ways to Prepare for the Bar Exam

— December 21, 2021

The key to passing bar exams is choosing your study aids wisely and sticking to a well-developed study schedule. 

Getting through law school and earning your degree is a significant milestone. However, it is not over yet; you must pass the bar exam to become a fully-fledged lawyer. The bar exam is one of the most dreaded tests in the professional world. The passing rate threshold for the bar exam has been rising over the last few decades, making it harder for aspiring lawyers to earn their practicing badges. Preparing for this test can be an overwhelming task. Below are five tips on successfully navigating the bar exam hurdle.

  1. Create a Study Schedule and Stick to It

Bar exams can be a hard nut to crack, especially if you are taking the test for the first time. The best way to prepare for this exam is to develop a study schedule that runs two or three months before the exam day. Though different states can administer varying subjects, the core subjects remain the same. They include constitutional law, criminal law, the law of tort, contract law, property law, and civil procedures.

A basic study schedule can cover three subjects each week, including their practice questions for the first two months. Such a study schedule will afford you two to three weeks to polish up on the complex and troublesome areas in law. During the 8 to 10 weeks of study, set aside at least 8 hours of study a day, six days a week. Consider taking leave from work if you are employed or hire a babysitter if you have young children during this study period.

  1. Take Practice Bar Exams

While it’s good to focus on the study material, your exam preparation should be entirely on browsing school notes. It helps to take practice bar exams to familiarise yourself with the actual test structure. Knowing what to expect in advance is half the battle to conquering the bar exam. Passing the test is not the most challenging aspect of bar exams; getting through the exam is because it’s a long and arduous test.

The bar exam format includes multiple-choice questions and essay-based tests. Incorporate practice exams in your study schedule, preferably from the first few weeks of your exam preparations.

  1. Take a Law Course

You should consider signing up for bar review courses if you have flexible working hours. While the admission fee can be costly, depending on where you enroll, taking a course raises your chances of passing the exam compared to if you were to go it alone. Furthermore, even experienced attorneys and those newly admitted to the bar must take yearly courses to satisfy the mandatory NY CLE Requirements. Taking review courses early will be a good preparation tool for when that time comes.

Most institutions that offer bar review courses conduct evening classes that run for a few hours to cover all the necessary materials. Structured classroom interactions with tutors and other students will improve your understanding of hard-to-grasp law concepts.

  1. Stay Calm and Think Positively

    Woman in seated meditation in the water at a lakeshore; image by Audrey Hope, via
    Woman in seated meditation in the water at a lakeshore; image by Audrey Hope, via

While bar exams can be demanding, staying calm and maintaining a positive mindset is crucial in overcoming this final hurdle. If you graduated from law school with good grades, chances are you will pass the test. The test only assesses your competence as a lawyer and does not determine how much success you will enjoy as a lawyer.

Whenever you feel nervous, remember that you don’t need to get all the questions right to pass the test. Passing grades for most states range between 50 to 60 percent, meaning there is a good chance you will pass if you prepare adequately. Furthermore, potential employers and clients rarely check your passing grade when hiring aspiring lawyers.

  1. Seek Guidance from Lawyers Who Passed the Test

The last tip on passing the bar exam lies in consulting with lawyers who have experience and conquered the bar exams. Consult as many lawyers as possible, preferably those from the state administering your exams. They can equip you with handy tips and tricks that might prove the deal-breaker in your test day. If you have trouble finding lawyers to consult, find law groups in your locality and even cold email a few of them.

The key to passing bar exams is choosing your study aids wisely and sticking to a well-developed study schedule. 

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