How to Pass the Bar Exam

Instructor: Leah Salyer
Preparing for the bar exam can be extremely overwhelming. Having a good plan for how to prepare for the test can go a long way toward helping you pass. Read on to get tips that may help you do well on this exam.

Participate in Practice Exams

When preparing for the bar exam, it will be extremely important for you to take part in practice tests including all areas of the exam. You will need to practice writing essays, taking multiple choice portions and be familiar with the specific laws of your state. The best way for you to practice is to take exams that will mimic the test itself. This means taking practice tests that are designed much like the bar exam, setting aside hours at a time to work and focus on the test and nothing else. The more you read test materials and take practice tests, the more ready you will be on test day.

Consider Taking Prep Courses

One of the most popular test preparation courses for the bar exam is BARBRI. While expensive, BARBRI offers a comprehensive approach to the exam that should leave you feeling as prepared as possible. BARBRI also has the benefit of a staff that is highly educated in various aspects of the law, which means you will get expert instruction. offers less expensive options to BARBRI to help you prepare for the bar exam. Using these courses in conjunction with what you've learned in law school can refresh your knowledge to help you pass the exam:

These courses offer a wide variety of instruction that should touch on many aspects of the bar exam itself. From business law to ethics to American government, you'll be taking a well-rounded approach to studying for the exam. In addition to the bite-sized and engaging lessons, each one comes with lesson quizzes, chapter exams and a final course exam that can help you with retention.

Understand the Instructions

Make sure you are properly interpreting each question. If you misinterpret instructions and questions, this will contribute to a lower score, so you'll need to make sure you are fully reading and understanding each question. This is a great area to practice on considering this exam is well-known for phrasing the questions in such a way that they are often hard to interpret. Interpreting correctly from the very beginning can go a long way to helping you achieve a better score.

Create Outlines for Essay Sections

For essay portions of the test, you will want to create an outline before you write. It is recommended to spend more time thinking and organizing your thoughts than writing. Your outline can be very simple but make sure to refer back to it as you are writing to ensure that you are staying on track. Going off on a tangent and not sticking to the topic will negatively affect your score. Continuing to refer back to a simple outline can help you greatly increase your chances of staying on target throughout the entire essay, thus improving your overall score.

Pay Attention to the Facts and Show Creativity

Use the facts that are provided to aid you in your answers. As a potential lawyer, you should be able to focus on the facts and use them to prove your side of things. Since there is no specific right or wrong answer in this case, it is a great opportunity to use your creativity to state your case. You should be able to use your knowledge of the law to back up any of your statements and to add more of a creative flair.

Focus on Perspective and Discipline

Don't go into the exam thinking about how your fellow examinees are doing. You should not compare yourself to others. Focus on what you need to do and block the rest of it out. Comparing yourself to others will only hurt your performance and cause you to lose your mind to wander.

Discipline will be key to a positive performance. You will need to concentrate on the exam as much as possible for at least 2 months before the exam itself. Take breaks in order to maintain balance but make sure they are minimal. Try to fit in as much study time as possible in those 2 months. Trying to take it all in the night before the test is not recommended. Rather, keep studying the night before the test to a minimum, if you study at all. Consider reviewing some notes or flash cards the day of the test but keep it simple so you won't feel overwhelmed.

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