There are a LOT of study supplements, resources, and outlines for bar prep. As time passes, more and more get added to your potential repertoire.
Sometimes, the sheer overwhelm causes bar takers to load up on all sorts of materials, attend every workshop, DM everyone offering something — spreading themselves so thin that they end up not using any of it!
The materials collect digital dust, and bar takers end up restarting at square one, exhausted. But “the great aim of education is not knowledge but action.” (Herbert Spencer)
I, too, offer study materials for the California Bar Exam and the Uniform Bar Exam. Here’s my answer to questions about them, including HOW to use them. This will be useful whether or not you use my material.
When preparing for the bar exam, set up clear goals you can follow.
Say someone asks you what you want. You say that you want to pass the bar. Great, a north star that you can reach toward!
But the end goal itself doesn’t tell you what to do at any given moment. It often makes you feel good about the future end result, but it doesn’t mean you will do the needed things in between now and the desired result.
For example, a new year’s resolution like “I want to lose weight” gives you a nice self-affirmation and a burst of motivation.
However, 80% of such resolutions fail by February. There are many actions required, such as watching your calories and macros, exercising, and doing so consistently. Simply jumping in with a new gym membership is a recipe for your goal getting ghosted.
Be honest now. Imagine you’re mentoring a starry-eyed 1L starting law school. How would you explain how to “spot the 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 be able to spot those issues? They give you the IRAC framework and leave you in the dust to figure it out. How did those law school exams turn out?
Issue spotting is essential. And it’s a learnable skill you can practice for your bar essay preparation, even if your law school grades didn’t reflect it (like mine).
That’s why I’m going to explain it to you in more detail than this “tip”:
To spot issues, try your best.
Let’s try something more reliable, shall we? There’s a subtle difference between “issue spotting” and the technique I’m about to share.
Ah yes, the MBE, everyone’s favorite multiple-guess section…
1.8 minutes per question for 6 hours
Paranoia from seeing 7 of the same letter in a row
50/50 choices that make you go, “Damn, what’s with this ultimate decision?”
Up to half of your score hangs on a series of letters. I don’t mean essays, which are also a series of letters.
Wow! That sounds important. So how do you practice and prepare to improve your MBE score?
That’s actually the good thing about the MBE. It’s relatively objective and quantitative. This means that, while the MBE is formidable, improving on the MBE is a very improvable and figure-out-able portion of the bar.
Keep these rules in mind to go from “multiple guess” to “multiple choice”: