Stupid Simple IRAC

Everyone says “just IRAC” when it comes to writing essays on the bar exam.

That drives me crazy too. I’ve heard that since I was a 1L. And it kinda makes sense until you ACTUALLY TRY TO DO IT.

It’s supposed to be one of the most basic skills in law school (and on the bar exam), but it’s frustrating when you have no idea what you’re writing.

Coming up with things to write is hard! Know the pain of creation. But you don’t have to suffer.

Let’s break down “IRAC” so it finally becomes simple and the least of your concerns. We’re going for the win!

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The Value of Redoing Questions (You’ll See Them Again on the Bar Exam)

“How do I do MBE questions faster?”

“The way to approach these questions is not staying with me.”

“If I study a subject really well and circle back around to it after studying the others, I’ve forgotten half of the first subject.”

Have you ever felt that?

There is a SIMPLE and UNDERRATED way to fix this: Redoing questions.

“But wait,” you say, “I have seen and remembered those questions and answers before. Should I be worried because I am not practicing new questions?”

There’s only a limited number of ways they can test you, so it’s actually GOOD if you recognize fact patterns. If that’s not the point of preparation, what is?

We can’t expect to “get” something after reading or doing something once. So when it comes to preparing for the bar exam, should you really limit yourself to just doing things once and dusting off your hands?

That’s what causes you to forget. The more you cycle through the subjects, the more you’ll retain next time.

If you had to choose between anxious uncertainty about retaining the material vs. routine boredom, which would you pick?

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Dominating the Essays: Organize Issues and Prioritize Rules to Know on the Bar Exam

Ever wonder how you’re supposed to juggle everything in your head? How do you prioritize the rules to know for the bar exam?

How are you supposed to learn all this when time is tight? How do you tackle the massive body of rules to know?

How do you know you’ve completed the essay in full? Did you even talk about the correct issues? Are the graders going to give you the points? Are they even going to read your prose?!

You’d love to start practicing essays but feel like you just haven’t learned enough law yet. It’s overwhelming to even begin from scratch.

If you’re a bar taker struggling with coming up with what to write, essays are the bane of your existence. Your rambling paragraphs start to blur. There’s just so much to know (or so you think) and say.

Let’s breathe. We can simplify the essays and make them less scary…

Key takeaways:

  • Learn not just the rules but also how to present and organize the issues (with examples below)
  • Highest-priority issues and rules are those that have appeared in the past (there are two other priorities)
  • There are efficient and effective ways to hit both of the above at once
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How to Systematically Identify All the Relevant Issues in a Bar Exam Essay Using “Issue Checking” (Stop “Issue Spotting”)

Be honest now. Imagine you’re mentoring a starry-eyed 1L starting law school. How would you explain how to “spot issues” in an essay? How exact and specific can you get?

Is it just a mystical process where the crystal ball in your head somehow divines issues from the heavens?

On its surface, a bar exam essay is simply a string of IRACs (easier said than done of course). Prep companies and law schools tend to focus on the “R” and “A” and assume that you already know how to find the “I” naturally.

That’s funny (not really) because an issue that’s never raised, or an irrelevant issue, is completely worthless.

Unlike multiple choice with an objectively correct answer, essays are subject to the whims of the grader. Getting (“spotting”) the correct issues is the easiest way to quickly signal to the grader that you’re at least discussing the right things.

But has anyone actually taught you how to identify those issues? They give you the IRAC framework and leave you to figure it out.

That’s why I’m going to explain it to you in more detail than this:

issue spotting

To spot issues, try your best.

Let’s try something more reliable, shall we?

https://www.reddit.com/r/Bar_Prep/comments/ou489a/review_of_the_bar_prep_materials_i_used/
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Bar Exam Success Commandment 3: How to Exploit Scarcity (and Improve Your Bar Essays)

We like to tell people we “don’t have time” or that “time is the most valuable resource” or that “life is short” (even though we love to procrastinate). But I think we do have a lot of time at our disposal. We just choose to squander a lot of it, too.

Then what’s the true scarcity of this world? What is the one thing that’s radically limited and expires very quickly?

Money? Time? Milk?

I think there’s something even more scarce: human attention.

Read on to see how you can use this scarcity principle to give yourself an edge on the written portions of the bar exam.

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