Practical Bar Exam Study Tips That Actually Work

Bar Exam Study Tricks That Actually Work

Bar exam candidates have to master a lot of information in order to pass the bar. From our years of helping students prepare properly, we have found some basic bar exam study tips that actually work to help students pass the exam. Follow these study tips and you'll put your time to its best use.

  1. Make a study schedule (and stick to it). It will help you plan, keep track of your studying, and ensure that you will finish studying the material before you take the bar exam.
  2. Study using repetition. Whether that means re-reading your notes for the tenth time, listening to portions of lectures again, making flashcards, or repeating key information aloud, repetition will drill the information into your memory so that you can deliver it when you need it.
  3. Use mnemonic devices. They will help you retain related information during the exam.
  4. Use bullet points and diagrams. Keeping your notes organized will help to make the content more digestible.
  5. Divide your notes based on topics. It keeps your information organized, and allows you to tackle one subject at a time.
  6. Exchange notes with friends. Your friends may have something in their notes that you missed.
  7. Study with a friend to help motivate you. Having someone whom you can check in with weekly is a great way to stay on track.
  8. Create your own shorthand for writing notes. Rather than typing terms like “adverse possession” 35 times in your notes, just abbreviate “AP” to make note-taking less painful (especially for your fingers).  If you don’t like re-reading your abbreviations, you can always go back and do a global replace.
  9. Learn process of elimination tips. Honing these tips for the multiple choice section can help you answer more questions correctly.
  10. Do multiple choice questions from previous bar exams. The best way to learn is by doing, so take as many multiple choice questions from previous bar exams as you can. Try to find multiple choice questions that offer explanations about why each answer option is right or wrong, so you can become more familiar with the language used on the exam.
  11. Learn how to outline your essays. With only three hours to write six essays on the exam, learning how to outline your essays will help you manage your time and answer each essay question thoroughly.
  12. Write essays from past bar exams. Just as you need to do practice multiple choice questions, write as many essays as you can from previous bar exams. Practice makes perfect!
  13. Get your practice essays graded. Having your essays graded by someone who has had experience with bar exam essays will provide you with valuable insight so you can improve your writing and get a higher score.
  14. Take a bar review course. Taking a bar review course is imperative to your bar exam study preparation. You will not only learn the information that will be on the exam, but you will have access to bar exam professionals who can help you pass the exam.
  15. Practice under timed conditions. The best way to get used to the stress you'll experience during the bar exam is to practice in a test-like environment. So practice your essays and MPTs in multiples, and take a full practice bar exam as the exam approaches so you know what it will be like on test day.
  16. Take breaks! Although you should be spending most of your time studying for the bar exam, be sure to reward yourself with some breaks. You don't want to burn out before you take the bar.
  17. Don't over-study. In extreme cases, over-studying could be just as bad as understudying, so recognize when you’ve hit a wall and need to put your books down.
  18. Do not cram for the exam. Do not spend your last few days before the exam cramming; it can lower your confidence and stress you out! In those final days before the exam, you’ll know what you need to know, and it’s more important that you gear up mentally so you’re in the best position to perform when it counts.
  19. Stay positive. Yes, studying for the bar exam will be stressful, but stay positive. Remember, you're not alone. All the hard work and time you dedicate to studying eventually will pay off.

About the author

Pieper Bar Review

For over forty years, Pieper Bar Review has taught students the legal concepts and skills necessary for success on the bar exam, and reinforced students’ knowledge through thought provoking examples and bar exam questions. The proof that the Pieper teaching method works is found in the success of our former students – now present-day attorneys. Learn more

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