Graduating from law school can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. You studied hard and went the distance, and now all your hard work has finally paid off. But one potential hurdle that all fresh law school graduates face when they finish school is the requirement to pass the state bar exam.
In most states, this is the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), which has humbled many law students who initially thought it would be a piece of cake. With that said, here are six simple tips that should help you with passing your bar exam.
1. Study Bar Exams from Previous Years
The agencies that conduct bar exams in most states normally maintain their own online directory of resources. These directories often include questions and answers from previous years’ exams, so you can get a feel for what types of questions will be asked. If you’re unable to find these types of resources, you should reach out to your state’s designated bar exam agency and ask if this can be provided to you.
2. Take a Bar Review Course
Utilizing bar review courses from accredited providers can be very effective in preparing for the exam. These review courses are often designed using attorney input to cover what’s likely to be on the exam. While these programs are normally very pricey, large law firms sometimes cover these costs for new hires when they see potential in someone who hasn’t yet completed the bar exam.
3. Concentrate on the Main Topics
The 200-multiple choice questions found in the bar exam normally focus on six different areas of law: Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts. You should concentrate your studies before the exam on these six focus areas. If you’re strapped for time, it’s better to focus a little time on each of these areas than to spend more time diving deeper into one or two of them.
4. Consult with Lawyers Who Passed
Sometimes, having a mentor who has already passed the bar exam can be better than any other type of resource. If you don’t know of any current attorneys who might help you with this, you should contact the law firm that you’re thinking of eventually working for. You can reach out to them and explain your situation, and they may be willing to assign one of their attorneys to help you get prepared.
5. Don’t Underestimate It
Many new graduates tend to think that they will ace the bar exam because they attended a good school or performed well in their courses. They often underestimate it. While school courses can teach you the skills you’ll need to be an attorney, they don’t always cover everything that’s on the bar exam. Nationally, only around 58% of those who take the bar exam pass it, and in many states 60% or more fail each year.
6. Create a Focused Study Schedule
Many of those who fail the bar exam on their first attempt did so because they didn’t have a distraction-free study schedule. You should put friends and family on hold, turn off your phone or other electronics, and get into a routine where you can study without being disturbed. It’s also important that you do this during times when you have peak energy levels so you’re able to retain most of what you’re studying.
Although the bar exam is known for being quite difficult, you should try not to become too stressed when taking it. Worrying too much can lead to mental fatigue which can impact your overall performance.
While it’s important that you adequately prepare yourself, you should also keep in mind that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t ace it the first time.