Problems arise when the stress of the bar exam begins to overtake one’s daily diligence. Thankfully, there is a solution to even the most seemingly difficult problems that students face while studying for the bar exam. To combat any negative habits you may have formed while studying, read the following problematic situations carefully and apply their solutions as you prepare for the upcoming bar exam.
The Situation: You are completing practice MBE questions. As you read the first question, you identify the law concept that the question is referring to and attain a general understanding of the overall situation that the question is asking you about. Automatically, you think you know the answer, so you begin to look for it in your answer choices. However, as you read from A to D, you can’t help questioning your instincts. All of these answer choices sound like they could be right. How do I know which one to choose?
The Solution: Your initial instincts won’t always be right. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t be right most of the time. If you’ve spent weeks dedicating yourself to studying for the bar exam, chances are, you know more than you think you do in the moment. So stop doubting yourself and have the confidence in your studies and yourself to just “shut up and pick it”, as AdaptiBar’s MBE expert, Jonathan Grossman, would say!
The Situation: You enrolled in a comprehensive course to prepare for the bar exam, and it came with a schedule that you want to follow word-for-word in order to increase your chances of passing. Most likely, the course came with several hundred practice simulated MBE questions, and you are required to answer a set amount per day. So, that’s exactly what you do.
The Solution: This situation may not seem very problematic at first. However, when you prepare with simulated questions, you are not studying with content that reflects the same structure and difficulty of the questions that you will see on exam day. That’s why a more efficient approach is to stick to your study schedule, but substitute your comprehensive course’s simulated questions for licensed ones from the NCBE that have all appeared on past exams. Doing so will allow you to maintain consistency with your study schedule, all while more sufficiently preparing you for the MBE.
The Situation: The bar exam is steadily approaching, and you still have a large amount of material left to cover before you feel like you can walk into your testing center with your head held high. In a frenzy of panic and essay prompts, you rush through your schedule and do your best to focus on the information you planned on studying for the day. However, because you are so overwhelmed, you do not take as much time as you normally do to study each individual law concept. At the end of the day, you discover that you can barely recall the information that you “studied”, much less understand it.
The Solution: It is not uncommon to feel rushed before the bar exam, which most oftentimes leads students to try and cram as much information about the law into their brains as possible. As you can see by the previous example, however, cramming is one of the least productive study techniques you can employ. No matter how anxious you may be feeling in the moment, take a few deep breaths before beginning your studying. Then, take your time to fully understand each law concept or practice question answer before moving on to the next one. Even if you aren’t able to cover as much information as you would like, it is still guaranteed that you will remember more at the end of the day than if you were to cram, simply because the quality of your studying far outweighs the quantity.
The Situation: You can fly through your flashcards in a minute, and your confidence when it comes to recalling basic law definitions and concepts is through the roof. You feel as if you are ready to take the bar exam. But then, the completely unexpected happens! As you move forward and begin answering practice MBE questions and essays in each subject, you can’t seem to figure out the connection between the information you studied and the situation that the question is presenting you with. What are you doing wrong? You know the law, don’t you?
The Solution: Just because you’ve memorized the law doesn’t mean you know the law. That’s why the bar exam doesn’t test you on your ability to recall the basic law definitions and concepts that you study. Rather, you must be able to make meaning from that information and apply it to a simulated situation. To practice applying the law, find ways that you can relate the law concepts that you study to your real-life experiences. Just as well, answer practice MBE questions using a program that allows you to get instant feedback. Then, do not move on to the next question until you fully understand why each answer choice is correct or incorrect.
The Situation: You’ve been studying for days, maybe even weeks, for hours on end. You’re exhausted. You’re stressed. And you’re…not seeing results?! That’s right – no matter how many practice MBE questions you answer and no matter how many essays you write, you just can’t seem to improve your practice scores. All of this leads to intense frustration and panic, and you may even begin to doubt whether or not you are even capable of passing the upcoming bar exam.
The Solution: Breathe in, breathe out. Given the above situation, it’s understandable how you may be beginning to feel increasingly anxious about the exam at this time. That being said, it’s never too late to boost your scores. First, it’s important to realize that you won’t receive the results you want to achieve overnight. It takes an extensive amount of time to learn the law, which is why it’s important to take the time that you need on each subject and subtopic that you study to fully understand it. Patience and dedication is the key to seeing results. (Note: If you find that you are still struggling to see results after several weeks, read this blog post to improve your score and help you find alternate methods of studying that may be a better fit for your learning style.)