Three Tips to Help Reduce Exam Panic

Three Tips to Help Reduce Exam PanicThis week we welcome guest writer Alexandra Muskat, a recent law school graduate, to discuss some important ideas for reducing that inevitable worry around exam time.

It’s that time of year again where law students around the country begin to fill the library, crammed together at desks, crouched over books, flashcards, and computers trying to absorb the last three months of nuances, technicalities, and teacher preferences. And with this time comes plenty of panic.

If you’re like me, you may be in the corner, panicking, possibly crying, about having to study/sit for the exam. Either scenario is okay. Law school exams and the bar exam are scary. But the panic does not have to control your life. Here are some tips to keep exam panic under control I wish I had learned prior to my second run at the bar exam. I promise, if you implement just some of these tips, you will not only feel better during the exam, you will get more out of the time you spend studying. [Read more…]

I’m a 1L/2L, Why Should I Care About the Bar Exam?

I'm a 1L/2L, Why should I care about the Bar?Please welcome back Shirlene Armstrong, guest writer and future bar exam taker, to discuss why it’s never too early to think about your bar exam preparation!

The bar exam is usually considered the most dreaded exam a law student must eventually face, but you also must pass in order to become a licensed attorney. This exam is usually taken after your 3L year following graduation. So, if I’m a 1L or 2L, why should I care about the bar exam until my 3L year? I have PLENTY to worry about law school-wise, worrying about the bar exam is just not on the top of my priority list. I have PLENTY of time to prepare, so it shouldn’t matter if I wait. Well, actually you don’t. Despite popular belief, law school does not last forever. Eventually you will finish and have to take the bar exam. Law school goes much faster than people think, which is increased by the craziness of all the projects and activities in between. Thus, the sooner you can accept the inevitable (i.e. the bar exam), the better. [Read more…]

I am a Rising 3L and STILL Haven’t Taken the MPRE

Help: I am a rising 3L and I haven't taken the MPRE yet!This week we welcome back guest writer, and rising 3L, Shirlene Armstrong, to talk about the MPRE and why she’s taking it her 3L year.

If you were about to listen in on many 2L’s minds, you would hear a variety of topics. “I need to practice for my upcoming mock trial…” or “After evidence, I need to run to the office to complete some interrogatories and meet with a client…” or “The MPRE is only a week away and I’m freaking out…” are just some of the daily conversations 2Ls have with themselves. As I close out my 2L year, I think back to all that I have accomplished, the stress of the year, and countless hours that I studied or worked. There is one quintessential 2L experience that I have yet to accomplish: taking the MPRE. [Read more…]

Where to Study for the Bar Exam: Environment Matters

Where to study for the bar exam: environment matters (talk about using a co-working space to study, interview friends about where they studied and what the pros/cons were)This week we welcome guest writer Allison Pincus, tutor for the Law School Toolbox and Bar Exam Toolbox. Allison discusses why it’s important to pick the right location for your bar study, and what her personal experience was finding a place to study.

“Where have you been for the past few days? We were so worried!” This was the response I received from the greeters when I signed in at my co-working space the day after I took the bar exam.

Of course my family and friends all knew I was sitting for the bar at the end of July. And the employees at my co-working space knew I had been studying, and studying hard – but they hadn’t known exactly when the exam was taking place. I hadn’t shown up to study as I had been doing every day, and they were afraid that I had given up.

There is lots of advice out there about how to study for the bar exam, including useful tips like knowing if it’s too early to begin, and creative strategies for how to study. The prevailing wisdom is to limit distractions and other obligations while studying for the bar, but how does this apply to your study environment? What about where to study for the bar?

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Handling Stress Before the Bar Exam: One Person’s Journey

Handling stress before the barThis week we welcome Bar Exam Toolbox bar tutor, Sara O’Connor, to discuss some tips for managing stress before the bar exam.

If this article tempted your fancy, you’re feeling stressed about your upcoming bar exam. And, to be clear, “stressed” might be too soft of a word. You might be feeling things you’ve never felt before, like experiencing physical manifestations of your stress (such as a twitching eye, a cramping stomach, or a fun, new nervous tick). Whether you are feeling a mild-but-nagging concern or near-overwhelming anxiety, you’re in great company! Law students across the nation and the world (hello to you foreign lawyers joining our legal system) feel your pain to some degree during bar prep. In fact, even lawyers who have practiced for years in their home jurisdiction experience some level of stress if their future career prospects depend on them passing the bar in a new jurisdiction.

This article pulls back the curtain into my own experience with my two main causes of stress and the steps I took to combat them when I prepared for the bar. The purpose is twofold: (1) to show you through specific examples that your feelings are normal and (2) there are ways for you to deal with your stress in healthy, positive ways.

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Three Things I Would Have Done Differently for Bar Prep

Three things I would have done differently during bar prepPlease welcome back guest writer Christen Morgan, an attorney, to discuss her bar preparation and some changes she might make reflecting back on the experience.

I can’t believe it has almost been two years since I sat for the bar exam. It’s unbelievable that an experience that was so intensive in my life is beginning to become a little vague. However, as the exam date pulls closer for February exam-takers, I can’t help but reflect on my bar prep experience. Although I’m grateful for my success on the exam, there are still so many things that I wish I had done differently. These “what ifs” run the gamut from stressing less, exercising more and discovering Emmanuel’s MBE questions a lot earlier in the process. Now I know you would be reading all day if I ran through every single thing that I would change about my bar prep process. However, I did want to run through at least three of these things to hopefully lend a helping hand to any preppers currently in bar prep land. [Read more…]

Confronting Injustice On The Bar Exam

Reconciling Social Justice With Bar Exam SuccessPlease welcome guest writer, Mihal Ansik, tutor for the Bar Exam Toolbox, to talk about how to balance personal feelings about justice with bar exam questions.

I can’t count how many times I died a little inside answering bar exam questions upholding doctrine that was legal, but, in my opinion, unjust. With fact patterns that require us to justify long term solitary confinement and concede to the flimsy 4th Amendment protections at border crossings, the bar exam demands complicity—fleeting as it may be—from those of us who feel responsible for challenging these very laws. So, when faced with an MBE question requiring me to affirm the constitutionality of deplorable prison conditions, did I engage in an act of resistance and fill in the answer aligned with what I knew to be true in practice, even if it was the wrong bubble? The honest answer is, I didn’t. [Read more…]

6 Tips for Applying for Bar Admission on a Budget

Barrister on a Budget - Jenny MaxeyLaw school can sometimes seem like one expense after another. And it doesn’t end when classes conclude — You still have to pass the bar exam and get admitted!

Today, we’re pleased to welcome Jenny Maxey, author of Barrister on a Budget: Investing in Law School…Without Breaking the Bank, who has some tips on getting admitted without going broke. Enjoy!

Whether you’re a 1L or a few months away from graduation, that desire to become an attorney cannot actually be fulfilled until you are licensed. And even though we all know this is the case, after being hunkered down in the law library for hours or preparing for those always-looming finals sometimes the application process for bar admission can still turn up as a surprise — and a several thousand dollar surprise at that!

However, you can keep the cost of applying for admission down through budgeting and taking steps in advance.
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Flipping Out About the Bar Exam? An MBE Expert is Here to Help

MBEI remember well the unpleasantness of preparing for the Multistate Bar Examination. Even after weeks of preparation, I was still completely convinced I’d failed afterwards! Not a fun test.

That’s why I’m very excited to have Sean Silverman here to talk about how to prepare for the MBE. Sean is an attorney and bar exam instructor, and he’s got great advice — whether you’re preparing for the bar exam now, or still have some time before you have to worry about it. Take it away!

I’m studying for the bar exam now, and it’s not going well. I’m particularly struggling with the MBE, because it seems so tricky! Do you have any tips for improving my MBE confidence (and scores) in the next month?

First, I’ll say that it’s really important to keep in mind that it’s a very common reaction to think that bar exam studying is not going well.

Provided you are putting in the required work each day, you should remain confident, as this will greatly benefit you.

There are two components to preparing for the MBE, neither of which is more important than the other:

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A Review of the Smarter Review Bar Exam Course

Studying for the bar examOne of the great things about running a website is that occasionally you can do favors for your friends!

In this case, a nice person from Smarter Review contacted me to see if I wanted to check out their bar review course. Frankly, the last thing I wanted to do was ever think about the bar exam again, but — conveniently — my law school roommate (who you might remember from this awesome post on getting a public interest job) had just decided to take the NY bar in February.

Win, win. Smarter Review gave her a free course, and she agreed to write about the experience for you.

So, here you go!

(If you want to try the course yourself, there’s a 15% discount code at the bottom.)

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