Monday, September 20, 2010

My experience studying for the bar: pre-bar prep

I've wanted to write some posts about studying for the bar but did not want to do it until I found out that I passed because I did not want to give bad advice. Plus, I did not want to waste time writing while I was SUPPOSED to be studying (don't worry, I found plenty of other things to distract me).

First of all, studying for any bar is horrible. You will hear people bragging about how they did not study, or talk about how it was "so easy" after they have been out for a few years, but they have forgotten how horrible it really is. You will experience a huge range of emotions, including craziness, crying, sadness, happiness, confidence, and extreme humbleness. Everybody goes through these emotions, so it is best to expect them, combat them when they occur, and deal with them.

Today I am going to write about pre-bar preparation. Bar prep before you take the bar is important, in my opinion.

When I first began law school a dean told me to take a bunch of bar classes. While I was in law school I took some bar classes but not all of them. I did not take Admin law (which I still do not feel that I needed to pass the bar), Commercial Paper (um, the only good thing about this was that nobody took this during law school so nobody had a clue on those study days), and Remedies (I was fine). There may have been a few others that I am forgetting, but oh well. My point is that you definitely want to take a UCC class, and try to take a few other bar classes. Do you need them to pass? Probably not. You can teach yourself the concepts just fine. But the problem is that during the two months you have to study (I cannot stress how short of a time this will feel to you), you do not want to spend your time teaching yourself entire classes-worth of materials because you will make the entire experience about 95% more stressful on yourself than it needs to be. That said, of course you do not need to take every single bar class. My advice simply is to take enough that you feel confident walking into most bar review days.

Secondly, take Barbri. Barbri is completely worth your thousands of dollars. (As many of you remember, Barbri is the bar review course offered by a private company for bar studiers.) Barbri keeps you on track and is an easy way to review. The people at Barbri are trained to anticipate what is on the bar exam, so even if you buy the books from someone else and try to study on your own, about 85% of those walking into your test will have studied what they feel is on the test more. They will have an advantage. On a curved test, this is important.


Danielle said...

I think this is all great advice! Although I definitely can't wait to ship all of those BarBri books back and never ever think about them ever again!

Kate said...

I just emailed this to Jeff for his future knowledge :-D