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How to Pass the Bar the First Time!!!!

How to Pass the Bar the First Time!!!! Image

I graduated from the Nashville School of Law December 2011 and took the bar in February 2012. I was practicing law by May 2012.

I attended law school at night for four years.  Recently I read that the Nashville School of Law had a mere 28% pass rate for the most recent bar exam.

I compiled the proceeding notes following my exam and shared them with a class.  I hope bar applicants surfing the Internet find this helpful.  You CAN pass the bar the first time!!!!

Take at least 6 weeks off of work (especially if you have a demanding job that does not allow studying at work).  Some students do fine with 2 – 3 weeks, but I did not want to risk not having adequate time to review 4 years of material.

Study 8 AM to 4:30 PM like the bar testing is conducted. We were so accustomed to being up late due to our school schedule that many of us were “groggy” mid morning and early afternoon. You need to have your game on – during the entire 8 hour day.

Review the Barbri website to understand how to navigate the site and use the tools. I personally did not use AMP (black letter law) as I could have…. although it is excellent.  I did not have enough time to work all of it in plus I didn’t know it was available prior to the formal review.

Barbri’s Convisor was my Bible. I went through with different colored highlighters to ensure I went through the material several times. I especially studied the tips ….Tips are truly key areas where questions come from.

I used the StudySmart software which I found KEY.  The software grades your progress and compares you to your peers. I used it on my laptop between my formal study and on my iPhone. Thus, if you score a 60%, it may be an 80% when compared to everyone else that day.

Warn your friends and families that you will not accept dinner invites, parties, functions, gatherings, etc. during your 6 weeks of study.  You can do all that after the bar….much happier.

Understand there are two correct answers and you must choose the correct statement of law, rather than a correct statement of fact even if it sounds weird.

When the Barbri outline said to do two essays on a topic, I reviewed all of them to understand what graders are looking for. Length is not the gem – quality statements are. Using the computer was helpful because I could move my sentences around as I was thinking through the answers.

Your Barbri books should be well-used….new looking books make non-use apparent.  Don’t worry about selling your books. Focus on passing!

Stay on the Barbri schedule.  However, if you dislike a presenter for that day so badly you cannot concentrate, then resort to reading the written material provided.  There were probably only 1 or 2 that I found difficult to follow.  Most of them are absolutely amazing.

Do all the paper Barbri tests (and Kaplan) because the bar multi state is paper and you don’t want to be too accustomed to the electronic method.

Don’t assume that just because you made A’s and B’s that you’ll pass. You have to pay your dues studying.  Using the StudySmart software, you can isolate the topic you are weak in and spend more time mastering the questions.  Read the black letter law – or go through the AMP on that topic. You have to nail it.

Set your watch to 12 so that it’s easier to gauge your time because the test starts on the half hour –great tip from a presenter.

I also wrote down a little grid of question numbers I wasn’t sure of – I colored the bubble and moved on, but had adequate time to review the questions I was concerned about. Some students discourage this because they feel their first guess is correct, but this was a tip shared by a presenter and may have worked for me.

When you don’t know the answer, don’t stress. Wastes valuable brain energy. Put your pencil down a few seconds. Focus. Pray –whatever you have to do to re-group and relax.

Avoid the negative people the night before the bar exam. You don’t need to hear people saying they are not ready, they can’t do it, they need more time, etc. I watched a comedy the night before the multi state. If you don’t know the material the night before, you’re in trouble.

We stayed at the hotel where the test was administered. Don’t try to save $20 bucks and have to worry about driving, parking and where you’re going to eat lunch.

My husband had my lunch ready in my hotel room the first day. Eat protein and a little starch and caffeine….or at least, that’s what I did. Don’t drink too much liquid, or food that you are not used to eating…..

The second day, my husband had my lunch ready even though we had to check out. I ate in the car parked away from the test site so I could rest mentally.

Everybody’s “clicking” of the notebook computers will be distracting…bring ear plugs.

Prayer, meditation, exercise….good luck charms….whatever works for you to get in your happy place and find a sense of peace.

The night before:  Remember –I watched a comedy. If you don’t know the material the night before, you are not ready to take the bar. Relax. Laugh.

Remember:  Preparation is the key to confidence.

All my best!!! Olivia Wann   Olivia@oliviawann  (931) 232-4529


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