Congratulations! In your first semester you made a deposit on a bar review course! Now all you have to do is show up to class and pass the exam. Well, not exactly.
If you want to get the most out of your bar review course, consider following these tips.
Take the best bar review course
Don’t just sign up for any prep course. Do your research and find out what course would have the right resources to best equip you for the bar exam. You want to make sure that your course will keep you focused and have you equipped for anything they throw at you on the exam. The keys are exposure to the substantive law and practice. Think about how you learned in law school. In the classes in which you succeeded, did you rely on a friend’s notes, or did you write your own notes? Did you do better in classes where you had three browser windows open or the classes where you needed to focus on what was being discussed? You want to make sure that you’re part of a system that will keep you engaged in the material so that your class time is time spent learning the material and not a time where your mind is free to drift. Your time before the exam is too valuable. And considering how much law you’ll be responsible for on the UBE, your mind is going to want to focus on anything other than the material for which you’ll be responsible. You what to make sure that the course you select helps you learn and reinforce the material that you’ll need to know to succeed on the exam.
With respect to practice, you’ll want to make sure you receive the instruction you need early on. Some students preparing for the bar exam focus too much on studying the substantive law and only practice essay writing, the MPT, and MBE questions in the days before the exam. This can be a tragic mistake. Your bar course should provide you with the substantive law you need to pass while developing your skills and guiding you through your problems as you prepare.
In Pieper Bar Review’s Full Bar Course, students take their own notes to lay the foundation they need in the law. The professors teach highlight and repeat each of the major concepts, so that even students who may not consider themselves “note takers” can keep up (and more importantly, remain focused on the material for the duration of each class).
Furthermore, through Pieper Bar Review, you’ll learn early on how to develop your responses on the MEE and MPT so that you maximize your points on each section. You’ll also learn how to read and interpret MBE fact patterns, and then eliminate incorrect answer choices to ensure you pick up all the points in the areas in which you are proficient. At Pieper Bar Review, their goal is to teach you the law, explain to you how it is tested, and ensure that you are prepared to pick up every point in the areas in which you are proficient. John Pieper—founder of Pieper Bar Review—has taken and passed the Multistate Bar Exam in more than 30 jurisdictions so he knows what the exam is like and how to prepare you for it. He, along with his sons Troy and Damian, who passed the New York Bar Exam upon graduation from law school and who both passed the Maine Bar exam in February 2016 and the UBE in Alaska in July 2016, are exceptional instructors who share their wealth of expertise with their students to help them succeed.
By taking a bar review course with a team with this kind of proficiency in the law, passing the exam will be a more achievable goal.
Sit in the front
One way to stay engaged for the entirety of each lecture is to make sure you get a seat in front of the room. Your instructor will get to know you much quicker and you’ll be able to stay focused longer. By keeping distractions to a minimum, you can absorb information at a deeper level and be able to retain it longer.
Write out your notes
Over the course of your academic career, you’ve thrived when you’ve prepared your own notes or outlines, and, the odds are you’ve never taken a course that attempted to keep you from zoning out by giving you someone else’s notes with the occasional missing in an attempt to keep you engaged. If you need to pass on the first try, push yourself. Make sure you’ve done everything you can to get the information into your head. Passing the exam is not determined by the number of essays you’ve read or the number of practice multiple choice questions you’ve gotten correctly. It’s determined by the bar examiners’ assessment of your knowledge of the law. So make sure you do whatever you can to ensure that you are learning the law and are prepared to deliver it concisely on the exam. The process of hearing, processing, writing, reviewing, practicing, re-reviewing, and practicing again, will prepare you so that without exception, you can look to your left and your right and know that the individuals on either side are not as equipped to pass as you.
Take Advantage of the Experts
In order to make the most of your time in the classroom, it’s necessary to do more than just read the material and complete the assignments. Pay attention, write notes, and ask a lot of questions. What’s the point of taking a prep course if you don’t utilize the valuable resources provided to you?
When you’re in a course like Pieper Bar Review, you’ll have the opportunity to develop personal relationships with their team of bar exam experts who will likely end up knowing you by name as they help shape your understanding of the law. In fact, the odds are that you’ll receive occasional answers directly from one of the Pieper’s themselves. Smaller = more personal = a more reliable tool when you run into a jam.
Figure out your most productive study time
Determine when your optimal study time is so you can be as productive as possible when working on your bar review course assignments outside of class. The best time to study is different for everyone. Some people figure this out early on in school while others have a more difficult time doing so. Think about when you are the most alert. Do you tend to be more awake early in the morning right after you get out of bed or later in the day? The answer will indicate when you should try to set aside time to get your work done. Plus, you may not be as prone to procrastinating. The only caveat here is to make sure you wean yourself off late nights in the week before the exam so that you are well rested for the first day of the test.
Read over your notes
Looking over your notes after class is a great way to reinforce what you just learned. By doing so on a daily basis, you’ll be able to retain the information quicker. It’s also a good idea to read your notes out loud. How many times have you tried to read course material, but your mind wandered off before you finished the first page? Saying the words out loud forces you to focus.
Watch lectures online
If your bar exam review course records the lectures and posts them online, take some time to revisit them. Pieper, for example, has an on-demand, streaming video system called iPass. This is a great resource to utilize when you are working on an assignment or practice exam. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about missing lectures because you can view them right from your laptop if you aren’t able to physically get to class.