A Main Goal In Writing Multiple-Choice Test Questions Is To Preparing for Each Bar Exam Topic

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Preparing for Each Bar Exam Topic

After sitting through your bar review lecture, you look at your outline, essay book, MBE questions, and ask yourself, “What should I study first?” However, it’s great to experiment to find what works best for you, here’s a look at what method I use that works for me. I ended up progressing from one method to another. I’ll tell you what that is and why I changed, after learning the hard way.

First, let’s look at all the possible options you can study in each subject:

What do you study?

Let’s say you are in the process of learning about torts. You can do any of the following:

1) Go to the class lecture

2) Review the class lecture notes

3) Review the conviser outline (or any outline you have)

4) Do the MBE questions

– Timed or out of time

– Review MBE answers, just wrong or all answers

5) Practice essays

– Only outline or full essay

– Timed or out of time

– Review the model outline or model essay

– Revise the essay

Bar Exam Preparation Method #1 – Not Very Effective

At the beginning of my bar exam prep, what I usually try to do is the following, in this order:

1) Review the outline

2) Go to the class lecture

3) Review the class notes

4) *Do MBE questions without time/period

6) *Do an untimed/periodic essay and outline

7) Repeat steps 1, 3 – 5, in any order and to what extent I feel necessary.

*I will review the sample answers after I do each set of questions

This system is not bad, but this is why it is not the most effective method for me:

Doing steps 1 and 3, by themselves, is a HUGE waste of time. It always takes a long time to do, I don’t get much value out of it, and I’m exhausted by the time I get to the MBE and essays.

Not only did the outline and class lecture notes take hours upon hours to complete, I rarely felt like I could do the essay or MBE questions better as a result of all the time spent.

REMEMBER, EVERYTHING YOU STUDY SHOULD HELP YOU DO BETTER ON ESSAYS, MBE’s, AND PERFORMANCE TESTS (if applicable). After all, that’s what you’re testing, not how well you memorize the rules. If what you’re doing isn’t getting you better as a result, change tactics.

Here’s an example of what I did that really put me behind:

During the last couple of weeks of bar exam prep, we spent three solid days in class reviewing contracts, going through at least 100 hypothetical questions. After that, I decided to stop everything and continue the contracts. I went over each and every hypothetical, until it was clear in my mind what the answer was. I threw out all my subjects, essays, and MBEs, and spent the whole three days, yes three days straight reviewing hypos until I felt like I had cold contracts!

Excitedly, I opened my MBE book to start getting a bunch of contract selection questions. After the first five questions, I almost cried. I only got one correct answer! I don’t know anything! I completed the set of multiple choice questions and failed harder than the Detroit Lions 0-16 season. As you can imagine, a kind of panic arose in my mind. I spent three days reviewing contracts ONLY lecture notes in class, failed everything, and I didn’t even pass the MBE.

Maybe I have better luck with essays? I opened the book, and my heart sank when I realized that I had not answered at all. This is a big change in my bar exam prep. I was just a little behind in my studies up to this point. Afterwards, I fell, and I couldn’t catch up (good news I still passed!).

The point of the story is the following: Just reviewing notes, attack sheets, and outlines will get you nowhere. You MUST do actual practice essays and actual multiple-choice questions under timed conditions to prepare you to pass the exam. Use the lecture notes and the outline to review where you went wrong in your practice exams.

I’m not saying NEVER review your outline or lecture notes in class. Do it! But just do it in a way that will help you with essays and MBE.

This is what I mean:

After you practice an essay or multiple choice, REVIEW YOUR ANSWERS. When reviewing your answers, you will probably see many mistakes you made. Then, review your outline and lecture notes in class to see exactly what you did wrong and how you can fix it next time. Many times, if you just review the model answer, you will be told exactly the relevant rule and how it applies, so you don’t need to go back to your outline or lecture notes. However, check it out if you feel that the sample answer does not give you all the information you need. The information you need is the amount from which you can knock out a perfect answer when you see the same question again.

So, here is the method I adopted in the end of my bar prep that saved me a lot of time, energy, and cost of advil.

Bar Exam Preparation Method #2: More Effective

1) Go to the class lecture

2) *Do the MBE questions in no time/period

3) *Do an untimed/timed essay and outline

4) Repeat steps 2 and 3 in any order and to any extent necessary

* Review each answer after each set of questions, using the outline and lecture notes as needed

But, how can I practice for the exams if I haven’t looked at the rules?

I know this is what you are thinking. I thought about it too.

The first MBE and the first two essays, you probably don’t know. At least, that’s how it is for me, without fail. I looked at each essay for the first time and stared blankly. I hardly know how to spend ten minutes writing an essay, let alone an outline.

That’s okay!

This is how you learn. Go in-depth on preparing for MBE practice essays and questions in a later post. Dive in, do the practice, review the model answer, learn from your mistakes and dive in again. By the third essay, you’ll have a good hang of things and by the fourth you’ll have to knock the answers past!

However this technique worked for me, the most important thing to do is DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU. During law school, if you were the ‘write-an-outline,’ or ‘rule memorizer,’ and it worked for you, continue your practice of reading and memorizing the rules before taking an essay. That’s totally cool. This is your bar exam and your prep. Do what you feel is right for you.

As always, good luck passing your bar exam.

“This name appears on the pass list.”

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