Originally published April 20, 2017. Updated January 2, 2020.
There’s no getting around it. On exam day, it’s you versus the bar. But wouldn’t you love a coach along the way?
Whether you’re sitting for the bar for the first time or returning after a failed attempt, a bar exam tutor can offer crucial guidance. Here’s how.
Tutors Can Help First-Time Exam Takers and Repeaters
One of the first steps a law student can take in preparing for the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) is to understand that it is different than studying in law school.
The pass-fail nature of the bar adds greater emphasis on the approach. In other words, knowing how to answer a question is just as important as knowing the legal concept being tested. This is true in the multiple-choice Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) section, where avoiding second-guessing is crucial. It’s also evident in the essay sections of the bar, where students cost themselves with sloppy techniques. They may know the correct answer. They just may not remember to explain concepts completely or know how to articulate them clearly.
How does a tutor help with this?
Tutors have first-hand experience approaching every section of the bar exam. They share that wisdom while emphasizing techniques to help you dive into the test with confidence.
Here are four benefits of working with a bar tutor when transitioning from law school study to bar exam prep:
1. You gain a teammate: Having someone who’s on your side from the start can help establish a positive vibe to your studying routine.
2. Direction: You’ll learn exactly what you need to be focusing on, and what kind of study sessions work best for you. In this way, tutors provide a quality-over-quantity aspect.
3. Close technique work: You’ll hone in on how to approach questions in addition to studying specific subjects.
4. Myth-busting: Have a question about the bar? Heard something crazy that you want to disprove? Tutors are here for you.
Tutors Boost Your Bar Study Schedule
Pieper recommends students spend around 500 hours preparing for the bar exam. That translates to roughly 40+ hours a week for 10 weeks. It’s a lot, and no one needs to remind you of the enormity of the exam itself.
So, then, where should you begin? The best course of action, here or anywhere, is to start small. Map out a study schedule leading into the exam with clear dates marked: Holidays, test days, and a countdown (i.e. three weeks to bar exam, five days to bar exam). Then fill in details such as what you plan to study, how long you plan to study, and where you’ll study.
This is where a tutor helps, not just in providing expertise but also in framing your schedule.
Add the sessions to your calendar and leave blanks around the dates. You can write in topics you discussed, or plan on discussing, to give direction to your preparation.
Better yet, tutors keep you disciplined and help ensure you maximize your time. You’re never on your own, and they’ve been through every one of those 500-plus hours before.
Tutors Help You Write Better Essays for the Bar Exam
Two writing sections comprise 50% of your bar exam score: the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), 30%; and Multistate Performance Test (MPT), 20%. That’s important to understand as you begin studying.
You will need to be able to write well to pass.
So, one of the first questions you should ask yourself once you put the bar exam on your calendar is, “How well do I write?” If the answer is “Not bad,” “Not well,” or even “I’m not sure,” consider working with a tutor. Here’s why:
These are experienced writers.
Damian and Troy Pieper, both of whom tutor, have taken and passed the bar exam multiple times across jurisdictions. Simply put, they’re experts and willing to share that expertise with you.
You’ll study more efficiently.
Especially in the weeks leading up to the exam, you're study time will be insanely valuable. If you're struggling with a concept, they'll break it down for you with clear examples so that you understand it and can identify how it's tested. And you won't waste an entire afternoon trying to teach yourself something you've never understood.
You’ll have someone to keep you disciplined.
If you've fallen behind in your assignments, a tutor will get you back on track, help you prioritize your workload, and keep you accountable going forward. Whether it's practicing multiple-choice questions or writing essays and MPTs, you’ll have a teacher and coach the whole way to support your preparation. Most importantly, they’ll keep you on task.
Get feedback in a one-on-one setting.
Go back to that original question: How well do you write? That’s the starting point. From there, you’ll learn at your own pace, with the help of a tutor, as you move session to session. You’ll be surprised at how quickly close editing improves your writing.
Why You Should Get a Tutor if You Failed the Bar Exam
After all the effort you put into passing the bar exam, receiving a failing score can understandably devastate you.
But it’s important to bounce back. After all, thousands of students fail the bar each time it’s offered—you’re far from alone.
And you won’t be alone in your pursuit of a passing grade if you hire a bar exam tutor. In fact, their expertise and input could make the difference the next time around.
They isolate the area you struggled with most.
Take a look at your results. Recognizing the specific subjects and sections of the bar exam that tripped you up is the first step in conquering them. Tutors isolate problem areas, then help you turn them into strengths. You’ll focus on what you don’t know and then develop techniques to help you score more points on the material that you do.
They build a study pattern that works for you.
Maybe your failing grade can be traced to a poor study schedule. That’s not to say you intentionally put off studying or ignored it. But quality matters as much as quantity here. Tutors help you map out a plan so you’re well prepared the next time you sit for the bar.
Working with a tutor is less expensive than having to take the exam again in six months
Sure, one-on-one tutoring is expensive whether you're preparing for a high-school physics test, the SATs, or something as complex as the bar exam. But if you are taking the bar exam, you've already graduated from law school and the only thing standing between you and the chance to earn a paycheck as an attorney is the test itself. While finding money to invest in yourself can be a challenge, in the big picture, it's not nearly as expensive as postponing your professional opportunities.
They’re with you every step of the way.
Do you need encouragement? Motivation? Guidance? Tutors are with you from the start. They want you to pass and know what buttons to push to get you there.
What Pieper Tutors Offer
Over the years, Pieper’s tutors have helped students improve their scores in every section of the UBE: the MEE, MPT, and Multistate Bar Exam (MBE). The ultimate goal of tutors is to identify students’ weaknesses and convert them into strengths. In doing so, the examinees build confidence before they even sit down for the bar.
This one-on-one approach continues beyond each session, with Pieper tutors checking in on students throughout the bar exam process.
But don’t just take our word for it. Here are several testimonials from Pieper students:
“I’m sure you run into your fair share of students who failed the exam the first time, who never did well on practice tests, and who were convinced they would fail on the second try. I was one of these students. I think it’s important to highlight that, for students like me, the confidence factor is so important. This doesn’t just happen–it required you to really change the way I thought about myself during the most stressful time in my life. That’s no easy feat. It goes beyond pedagogy. You were able to truly empathize with me, and I think that’s what makes you unique.”
LL.M. University of Paris I: Panthéon-Sorbonne
J.D. Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
“It is such an amazing feeling to know I passed the bar exam!!! Thank you for motivating us with each class and tutoring session. It was a lot of work, daunting at times, but so worth this feeling. Pieper is so practical, comprehensive, and the tutoring sessions were incredibly helpful. Also, I know how hard it can be to find out you did not pass on the first try. But its really just a temporary set back, I understand that now. I will most definitely tell all I can about Pieper because Pieper People Pass!
J.D. Maurice A. Dean School of Law at Hofstra University
“I’ve never worked harder than I did in Pieper’s class. By the end of the summer I felt confident in my preparation, but I wanted to hone my essays a little bit more. I lived in Manhattan at the time so the sessions were conveniently held by Skype. Working with Damian gave me the insights I needed to make my essays even stronger. By the day of the test, the law seemed second nature and paragraphs were flowing easier and faster.
I passed the bar thanks to the Piepers. I highly recommend the program, and the one on one coaching.”
J.D. New York Law School
Pieper Tutor Options
Pieper gives students three options when it comes to booking a tutor. You can set up a plan that works for you.
- Full-Service Advanced Tutoring ($5,400 for nine, two-hour sessions)
- A La Carte Advanced Tutoring ($325 per hour; $650 per two-hour session)
- Supplemental Essay Tutoring ($325 - four MEE essays, two MPTs)