The Final Weeks of Bar Prep - How to Get Yourself Ready to Pass

It's time to make the final tweaks to make sure you'll pass the bar exam. Here's how.

During the final two to three weeks of studying for the bar exam, you need to make some adjustments to your bar prep. Here’s how to change things up to make sure you’re ready on Day One of the bar exam.

1) Bring your focus back to MBE subjects

It's no secret that the MBE is the most important part of the bar exam, and also the hardest. It's the most important because the entire bar exam - MBE and essays - are weighted heavily towards the seven MBE subjects. It's the hardest because, unlike essays, you can't "game" your way to an OK answer that earns you some points on a multiple choice question.

So, during the final weeks of bar prep, your focus should be almost exclusively on MBE subjects. Even if you feel uneasy on some of the non-MBE subjects, you can get away with knowing the basics of essay-only subjects on the bar exam. You can't get away with that on the MBE.

In short — you pass or fail the bar exam based on how well you know the MBE subjects. So make those the priority during your final stretch of bar prep.

2) Expand your practice testing

You should have taken at least two full, simulated MBEs by your final week of bar prep. In addition, you should have taken at least one full simulated run through the essay portion of the bar exam.

If you haven't done any simulated practice tests yet, it's time to get going. If you have, it's OK to keep up the work in smaller chunks.

For example, do sets of 25 MBE questions at a time in a simulated environment. For essays, practice reading essay questions and outlining answers - you don’t need to write out the full answer. What’s most important is that you’re practicing issue spotting and crafting the outline for how you’ll answer effectively.

3) Effectively review your practice exams

Practice exams are only effective if you’re reviewing how you did. Understanding what you missed and why is crucial to improving your performance on the MBE and essay portion of the bar exam.

We’ve written before about how to handle and review practice exams, but the gist is that you should closely examine MBE scores and essay answer outlines, paying attention to how well you’re doing within different subjects and topic areas within those subjects.  

If you're not reviewing practice tests with purpose, you're doing yourself a disservice.

4) Routines are boring but effective

In the final weeks of bar prep, you need to hone in on the routine you'll need during the bar exam.

Adjusting your schedule. That starts with mimicking the schedule you’ll have to follow on Day One of the bar exam. If your exam starts at 9am, you need to start waking up earlier so your body is used to being mentally ready at that time. Go to sleep earlier as well.

Visualization exercises are powerful: You also want to make sure you’re developing a healthy mindset for bar exam success.

What does this mean? You need to start visualizing the bar exam experience - what it will feel like to take the exam, but more importantly how you want to feel when you start the bar exam. This may sound weird, but it’s a proven strategy used by top athletes and academics. 

In sum, practicing visualizing in the final weeks of bar prep will help you start the bar exam with a sense or purposeful calm and confidence. Do not underestimate this tool.

5) Memorize

You’ve put a lot of time into reviewing and practicing. Now it’s time to make sure you have everything you need to know committed to memory.

We’ve written before about memorization, but know that you can do all your memorizing within the final two-three weeks. Make sure you’re memorizing effectively by thinking about how the rules and elements you’ve memorized apply to different situations.

Try thinking of hypothetical MBE questions or essay issues that turn on the rule or element you’re committing to memory. That’s the best way to make sure you’re memorizing effectively.

Conclusion

If you can focus on these items - practice tests, healthy routines, and memorizing - during your final weeks of bar prep, you'll give yourself a much better chance of passing the bar exam.

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