The more you read the bar review outlines, the
better the material becomes ingrained in your memory. Visual abilities are
intensified and recall becomes photographic. Upon every reading new matter is
gleaned and understanding is heightened.
The greater number of MBE questions, essays and
performance tests you take the more prepared you will be for the bar. There is
no substitute for taking practice exams under test-like circumstances. This
means committing yourself to three hours of uninterrupted time during which
you practice essays and performance exams under pseudo-exam-stress-producing
conditions. Thereafter, you should critically and introspectively assess your
Read the call
of the hypothetical
Before reading an exam hypothetical, begin by
reading the call of the question and any instructions. Points are easily lost
due to a failure to follow instructions. Do not go off on a tangent and waste
time answering questions not asked. The purpose of reading the call of the
question is to direct your
focus when you read the facts of the hypothetical. This fosters active reading. If
you read the hypothetical first you will waste time reading when you have no
idea which facts are determinative for the issues and which are red-herrings.
After reading the call of the question, actively read and re-read the
question. Before you begin to write always re-read the call of the question to
make sure that you are responding to the correct issue.
outline for your answer
Outlining your answer before you begin to write
compels you to organize. An outline may be as skeletal as the issues (broken
down into elements), law and facts you will discuss. To comprise your outline,
use IRAC. Think longer and spend less time writing. The process of reading and
re-reading the question, as well as outlining, should take about one-third to
one-half of the allotted time. Once a good outline is prepared you will not
need to spend so much time writing. Your focus will be clear. It is also
important to review your outline while you are writing and after you finish
writing. The purpose of an outline is defeated if you do not use it. Under the
stress of writing the answer you may forget to make important points that were
originally in your outline. Lastly, if you are unable to finish your answer,
the outline may serve as an answer for grading purposes.
Write a visually
Write legibly. Organize you answer in logical
sequence. Cover an issue thoroughly and then move on to the next issue. Use
headings and sub-headings. The headings provide direction to the reader and
demonstrate pre-writing thought and organization. Underline key words.
Use the facts
This point cannot be stressed enough. Most exam
answers that fail are a result of the lack of the use of given facts. However,
assume facts not given. Most facts provided are not red-herrings. They are in
the hypothetical for a reason and you need to ascertain why they are there.
Then you need to use the facts to buttress your analysis of the issues. Do not
Consider all sides
Every point has a flip side. When a writer
draws a conclusion without considering counter-analysis, he demonstrates to
the grader his lack of a complete thought process. In raising counter-points,
support them factually and then refute them factually.
Since there is no right or wrong answer there
is room for creative thinking. This involves using the law and facts to
support points and counter-points that may only be apparent from an in-depth
reading and understanding of the law and facts of the hypothetical. This
encompasses the concept of reading between the lines.
Each of you has the ability to succeed on the
bar exam. Do not get caught up in how or what your peers are studying. That
will only serve to distract you and bridle positive performance. You know what
you need to do to succeed. Do it and enjoy learning.
Preparing for the bar demands discipline in
your studies. The bar exam must be the primary focus of your attention for at
least two months. Avoid distractions. Do not procrastinate. While breaks are
important to maintain mental attention and clarity, they should be limited in
duration. Do not try to cram the night before the bar exam. Rather, it is best
take time off, away from studying, and relax since you will need stamina
during the exam. It is alright to briefly review some notes or flash cards at
breakfast the morning of the exam. It is possible that what you review will be
tested on the exam that morning and this will boost your confidence.
Do not panic
Part of exam preparation involves mental
control. The more prepared you feel through study and practice, the less
likely it is that you will panic. However, it is possible that something on
the exam will cause you to panic. For example, you may see an issue that you
think you are unprepared to address. In truth you are probably prepared to
address the issue, but may only be prepared to a certain extent. Resist panic
because it will inhibit your ability to recall what you know about that issue.
Panic stifles. You cannot afford to allow panic to overcome you and result in
failure to answer a question.