8 Common Misconceptions About The Bar Exam

8 Common Misconceptions About The Bar Exam

How much do you really know about the bar exam? Sure, you’ve heard of the NCBE, know the information you need to study, and understand how passing will certify you to become a lawyer. But without even realizing it, perhaps you’ve altered your perception of the exam by assuming that at least one of these common bar exam myths is true! Read them now to avoid any and all confusion leading up to exam day.                

  1. You have to know everything about the law to pass.

Simply put, it’s impossible to know everything. Even the most distinguished lawyers don’t know everything about the law! To attain success on the bar exam, the key is to gain a basic understanding of fundamental law concepts and how to apply them, not to memorize every detail of every subtopic.

  1. The February bar is harder than the July bar.

Pay no attention to the statistics – the July bar is equally as difficult as the February bar! Many examinees hesitate to take the February exam, assuming that its consistently lower national pass rate reflects a higher level of difficulty. However, this dissimilarity is not a reflection of the exam itself, but is rather a result of other influential factors. For example, those who did not pass in July are more likely to take the exam again in February, and examinees are less likely to pass the second, third, or fourth time around.

  1. It’s nearly impossible to study for Civil Procedure on the MBE.

Just because Civil Procedure is still a relatively new addition to the MBE doesn’t mean the subject is impossible to study! Begin by reviewing information that appears on the Civil Procedure MBE subject matter outline. Then, watch AdaptiBar’s Online Civil Procedure Video Lectures and answer the 200 Civil Procedure questions contained in the AdaptiBar program to ensure that you are fully prepared on exam day. All Civil Procedure questions were written by two of the nation’s leading Civil Procedure professors, and are constantly being updated to accurately reflect the format of the bar exam.

  1. The exam tests how well you memorize the law.

Sure, you have to memorize more information than you can even comprehend. That doesn’t mean, however, that the bar exam tests your memorization skills! Rather, it is designed to measure your ability to apply law concepts to a simulated situation. That means in order to study effectively, it is critical that you spend considerable time answering practice MBE questions and writing essays instead of depending on your outlines and flashcards to fully prepare you.

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  1. The more MBE questions you answer, the more prepared you’ll be for the exam.

Quality is always favorable over quantity. Simply going through the motions by answering as many MBE questions as possible is easily accomplishable and does not mean that you are actually learning the law. To truly be prepared come exam day, focus first on evaluating which law concept each question is asking you to apply. Then, be sure that you fully understand why you got an answer correct or incorrect before moving forward.

  1. The bar exam is designed to trick you.

This statement is perhaps the most common misconception about the bar, as many exam-takers are convinced that the MBE and essay questions are worded to mislead them into picking incorrect answer choices. However, while many questions are undeniably confusing, they are ultimately intended to test your ability to see beyond the surface level of the law and apply more substantial concepts that require analyzation and thorough law comprehension. Since this is the proprietary job of a lawyer, so the bar exam tests your ability to think like one.

  1. Following your comprehensive course schedule is enough to pass.

A comprehensive course is designed to prepare you for the bar exam by providing you with a study plan, outlines, and various tools to assist you in learning the law. However, many examinees who simply follow their daily course schedules are surprised when they receive their results and discover that they did not pass. To avoid this, the key is going above and beyond in your studying without relying too heavily on one source of review. Whether it’s enrolling in supplemental programs such as AdaptiBar, taking notes during video lectures, or making flashcards, use study techniques that actively test your ability to apply law concepts and teach you how to approach each section of the exam.

  1. As long as you receive a high essay score, it doesn’t matter how you perform on the MBE.

Regardless of how they are weighted, the MBE and essay sections of the bar exam are equally important. In order to pass, you must demonstrate proficiency and achieve adequate scores in both. However, if you find that your performance is stronger in one section over the other, focus primarily on studying your bar exam weakness to boost your overall score.

Need advice on how to pass the bar exam? Check out our last blog where we asked July 2015 bar examinees for their advice on passing the bar.


Written by The AdaptiBar Team
AdaptiBar is the only Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) bar prep provider to combine 100 percent of the licensed questions from the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) with patented adaptive technology that tracks performance and targets weaknesses, yielding the most efficient and personalized study experience available. The program is designed for each individual to customize their learning and refine internal timing by simulating real-life conditions of the bar exam. Since 2003, AdaptiBar’s dedicated team of lawyers, technology experts, and customer service specialists have provided thousands of law students and lawyers in every jurisdiction in the United States, and more than 50 countries, with the tools and confidence they need to pass the MBE.

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