Thinking About The Bar Exam Before Graduation

Around the country, most 3Ls are in the midst of the last final exam period of their law school career, with an eye towards graduation.

So maybe the bar exam is the last thing you want to think about. But if you have just a few minutes before graduation, there’s some easy work you can do now to give yourself a head start for when bar prep begins in earnest.


Review old notes.

Look over your old 1L and 2L class outlines. Just review them. That’s it. Why? Those old outlines contain the bulk of the material you’re going to need for the bar exam. Remember, the MBE only tests Contracts, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law & Procedure, Constitutional Law, Evidence, Torts, and Property - the bulk of your first year curriculum.

But these topics also show up on essays - usually at least 2-3 per exam, often more. That means these subjects are your moneymakers. They could account for 50% or more of your total bar exam score, depending on the state. If you know them inside and out, it will be hard for you to fail the bar exam.

Think about your bar exam mindset.

Studying for the bar exam is a long, arduous process. You want to hit the ground running, but also make sure you're not grinding yourself towards a burnout. Start getting yourself mentally prepared for this process now. Think about how you want to schedule your time, what routines you can develop to keep you going, and how you are going to take care of your mind and body during the bar study process.

Get into a routine.

Studying for finals is a good time to experiment with perhaps the most undervalued component of the bar exam study grind: your routine. Developing consistent, repeatable habits and a manageable schedule is huge. Start getting used to this now. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time consistently, schedule regular meal times, figure out some standard times for extracurriculars. Overall, figure out what works for you. This doesn't have to be like military boot camp, but eliminating little things like figuring out your plan each day can pay dividends in a couple months when you're sitting for the bar exam.

So, get through finals and enjoy graduation.

But think about what you have ahead of you, and just take a little time to look over those old 1L and 2L outlines you made so long ago. It could pay off big in late July.

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