Sweating the Small Stuff During Bar Prep is a Path to Failing

Studying for the bar exam requires learning and memorizing thousands of rules, elements, and more. At this point of bar prep, students too often get bogged down trying to master each and every discrete issue. This is a path to failure.

One of the key factors in passing the bar exam is understanding that you don't need to be an expert. You could do the best on the bar exam in your whole state and, in almost every jurisdiction, you'll never know. 

You just need to pass.

This is a much different dynamic than law school, where an A and a B are much different grades. On the bar exam, they're the same - they both mean you pass.

Every year, too many students lose sight of this reality. The natural anxiety of studying for the bar exam makes you want to make sure you have drilled down every single little issue. But that issue that you've spent 10 hours trying to master may never even come up on the bar exam.

Again, passing the bar exam does not require you to be an expert and know every issue inside and out. It requires you to show that you are competent in most areas.

It is crucial that you don't get caught up in the details. If you're stuck trying to figure out some small issue, move on. Make a note and maybe you can come back to it later. But it's more important that you keep your eyes on the bigger picture.

Remember, your time before the bar exam is finite. Every minute you spend lingering on a bar exam issue you're having trouble with (like NIED in Torts, for example) means you're spending less time on the bigger issues you still need to master.

The takeaway is: don't get stuck in the weeds. You do NOT need to become an expert in every issue that could be tested on the bar exam. It's not possible. Aim for competency - i.e., a solid understanding of what you could be tested on. If you've achieve that, move on to the next subject. Otherwise, you're wasting your time.


MBE and MEE Essay Flashcards that help you learn and memorize key bar exam concepts, effectively and affordably.

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