Practice, Practice, Practice!

You want to do three things each day – watch your lecture, make/tweak your study materials, and do some form of practice. This means doing MBEs and essays every day (or at least every other day), and at least one MPT per week.

The only way to do well on the bar exam, is to get ready for the bar exam. That means practicing what you will be doing on exam day, every single day. It is not enough to memorize the law. If you don’t know how youindex apply it, and how the bar examiners will test you on it, you will not be successful.

My colleague Sarah Lamdan made this handy Bar Practice Checklist.

You can use the checklist each week to make sure that you are doing the minimum practice each week that you will need to succeed. The more practice you can do, the better, but you want to make sure that you are doing it thoughtfully. Don’t just race through 50 MBE questions, for example, tally your score, and move on. You need to go through each question (yes, even the ones you got right), and make sure you understand why you answered it correctly, or incorrectly. If you learn a new rule, add it to your study materials.

Reflect on why you are answering questions incorrectly. Are you reading too quickly and missing important details? Are you adding facts that aren’t there, or over-analyzing? Once you begin to notice patterns, you can come up with solutions to correct your common mistakes.

Practicing essays, MBEs, and MPTs, also helps you get into the head of the bar examiners. What do they think a reasonable person would do? What are they trying to trigger when they include certain facts? As you begin to practice, you will begin to recognize patterns in the questions, and in what doctrine is heavily tested. On exam day, you will see some questions that are very similar to what you have studied. That is the goal – to see some questions that you feel like you’ve seen before.

In this way, the bar is similar to any other performance you are getting ready for, or any other big day. You wouldn’t get ready for a sporting event, concert, speech, or play without practicing or rehearsing. Don’t minimize the importance of rehearsing for the bar exam either.