Bar exam preparation can be overwhelming. Let’s take a look at how you can get started today.
If you suck at studying for the bar exam, don’t fret.
It’s a skill you can learn. Just like taking food pics, writing a resume, or driving a car… although a lot of people continue to suck at all of these.
Why? They don’t have the awareness to know they suck, look for resources, or implement the resources. If you’re reading this, it means you can do all three.
📖 What is bar prep about? What am I even supposed to do?
People call it different things: bar review, bar preparation, studying for the bar exam…
If you ask me, it’s right in the name—preparation.
In other words, we’re not here to simply “study” or “review” things. We’re here to prepare to pass the bar exam.
This, of course, includes studying and memorizing rules. But knowing the substantive information is just the cost of entry. It’s a given. The minimum requirement that everyone else is doing.
Preparation also includes things like…
- Time management
- Practicing mental and emotional fortitude
- Commitment and consistency
- Juggling or delegating other responsibilities like work or family
- Learning the law and how to USE the law
- Learning how to learn so you can learn more efficiently and effectively
The word “preparation” is loaded with these different micro-actions, and it can take many different forms depending on where you start and what you need. It’s more involved than simply going through the motions of a bar review program. Ultimately, you’re the one doing the learning.
It’s OK if it seems overwhelming. These things will come naturally over time.
You’re also not alone! Come join our active community of bar takers in the private Make This Your Last Time Facebook group. Having at least one other person who “gets” you will make bar prep more manageable.
🛠 Suggested study supplements
Below are links to the most popular and useful tools compiled into quick “supplement stacks.” Select the exam you’re taking (will open in a new tab):
You don’t need to break the bank or waste your time on a huge collection of materials diluting your attention:
📚 Insights to get you started
Most people hide behind the minutiae of which is the “best” tool.
But whatever tools you decide to use are ONLY useful to the extent you know HOW to use them and pull value from them.
Successful students are more concerned about being the best student rather than debating what the best materials are. They apply what they find to their own situation. Just pick something from my shortlists above so you can move on to learning.
Many bar takers are focused on “what to learn,” but often, the missing key is not knowing “how to learn.” So they end up repeating the bar exam until they learn how to learn.
💡 The three things you need for bar prep
First, below is a live discussion I held on the things you need to get started on bar preparation. What’s covered?
- First things to do
- 3 key components of bar prep
- How to focus on important things
Here are other strategies and resources to get you started on the fundamentals:
My 5 Rules for Passing the MBE: https://www.makethisyourlasttime.com/5-rules-for-passing-mbe/
How to Systematically Identify Issues in an Essay (Without “Issue Spotting”): https://www.makethisyourlasttime.com/issue-checking-not-issue-spotting/ (important)
✅ Sign up for my weekly coaching emails (and get a quick guide). Let me know where to send it to you.
✅ Watch me speak in the Bar Study Motivation Podcast: https://www.makethisyourlasttime.com/bar-study-motivation-podcast/
✅ Download past exam questions and selected answers for the California Bar Exam and the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE): https://www.makethisyourlasttime.com/past-bar-exam-essays-pts/
✅ Free Graded Essay Answer Bank (2013 and after, mostly for CA essays): https://www.makethisyourlasttime.com/essay-bank/
I need more of your old essays. Any jurisdiction welcome!
If you’re studying for the California Bar Exam, visit BarEssays for more real graded essays. Let me know where to send you a $25 discount code.
✅ Stories of Transformation of people who passed the bar exam: https://www.makethisyourlasttime.com/bar-exam-success-stories/
✅ Which bar prep course should I take?
Barbri if you have to choose one. Themis is an alternative.
It doesn’t really matter which of the two you pick. You’ll be complaining either way. Just know how to use it.
View bar review courses as a luxury option (like a first-class plane ticket) and not the default or basic necessity they make it out to be.
Only if you’ve made a conscious decision about it. You’ll forget 99% of what you watched. Bootcamp-style videos reviewing practice exams and such are OK.
✅ I failed. Where do I start?
Clarity is power. Here’s why you need a create your own study plan: https://www.makethisyourlasttime.com/plan-bar-exam-study-schedule/
✅ Why did I fail?
Could be one or many reasons. Sometimes there is no reason. Your score report is a good place to get an initial bearing.
See my score analyses if you’re a CA bar taker: https://www.makethisyourlasttime.com/california-score-analyses/
✅ Is it because I took the February exam? I heard it’s harder!
It’s less about when you took the exam. See why here: https://www.makethisyourlasttime.com/why-are-bar-exam-pass-rates-lower-in-february/
✅ What are some things that repeaters did differently to pass?
Here’s my list: https://www.makethisyourlasttime.com/5-things-i-did-differently-to-pass-bar-repeater/
And regrets of other bar takers:
✅ Which supplements should I get?
Check the Suggested Supplements link for a quick list of the most effective supplements: https://www.makethisyourlasttime.com/resources/
✅ I already got everything. What next?
Use them (again). They’re only as effective as their wielder.
✅ Do I have enough time?
Make the time. You can learn a lot even within two weeks. 10+ weeks is better. 3-4 months is ideal.
✅ Lean Sheets or Magicsheets?
Magicsheets, duh. Ask around if you’re not sure.
✅ What study tools do you offer?
👉🏻 Magicsheets: condensed attack outlines
👉🏻 Approsheets: essay approach checklists and flowcharts
👉🏻 Passer’s Playbook 2.0: tools and techniques for effective bar prep
👉🏻 Mental Engines: mini-course on mental and emotional organization for bar takers
See all my premium study resources and samples here: https://www.makethisyourlasttime.com/products/
These resources are tailored toward the California Bar Exam and Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), but you can still use them and supplement with other materials outside these jurisdictions.
✅ Should I get AdaptiBar for the MBE? It’s kind of expensive.
There’s no rush. You can always get it later. If you’re on the fence, take a look at my balanced review: https://www.makethisyourlasttime.com/adaptibar-review/
✅ Should I get BarEssays if I’m studying for the CA bar?
I recommend it. Standard subscription should be fine.
🤑 Do you have coupon/discount codes?
Yup! Here’s what I have:
On the fence? Here are my reviews:
▶ Next step
Join my popular weekly coaching newsletter, MBE Q&As, and case study breakdowns of passers: