THOROUGHLY REVIEW THE EXPLANATORY ANSWERS

By Everett Chambers,
BARBRI Vice President of Institutional Programs

THEY CAN BE ONE OF YOUR BEST TEACHERS OF THE LAW.

In the realm of bar review, explanatory answers exist for an important reason: to simply break down the rules and how they work, driving to a deeper understanding of the law.

As I wrote in an earlier bLAWgical Thinking post (“You’ll Play Like You Practice”), sometimes you can learn as much or more from spending time and really digging in to the explanatory answers as you would from a lecture as you move from passive learning to active learning and application.

Working practice questions and carefully reviewing the explanatory answers, regardless of whether you answered the question right or wrong, will help build and reinforce your foundation—both your knowledge and skills. Remember, the bar exam is not a test of your ability to simply (and only) recite rules. Ultimately, it is a test of your ability to apply the rules to new factual situations.

Most MBE explanatory answers provide a helpful template of how to construct a bar exam essay. Specifically, model answers will show you how to structure your essays. They provide clear and complete rule statements, and more importantly, they show you how to write strong fact-driven legal analysis.

Here’s how you can use them: Read through several model answers first before you tackle writing essay questions on your own. Next, annotate several answers. Label the components of the sample answer, using either the CRAC or IRAC paradigm – “C” for conclusion, “R” for rule, etc. Remember that sometimes the sample answer will contain rule explanations. Notice the shorthand way in which the sample answer handles minor issues. While it is not necessary (and sometimes not possible under time constraints) that your essay answer matches the sample answer perfectly, your answer should at least address the core issues, rules and analysis.

Remember your goal is to answer bar exam essay questions in a way that demonstrates your proficiency as a new lawyer. This means performing a concise legal analysis for each of the small problems presented in the fact pattern. This will show the examiners you possess minimum competency to practice law.

ABOUT BARBRI BAR REVIEW

BARBRI pioneered bar review and proudly celebrates 50 years of helping more than 1.3 million students pass the bar exam. BARBRI’s constant innovation, leadership and depth of experience based on what will be 100 bar exams going back to 1967 influences all aspects of bar review – where it’s been, where it is today and the vast possibilities of where BARBRI will lead it next. Every year, the overwhelming majority of law students across the nation choose BARBRI Bar Review to prepare for the bar exam – and pass it the first time. Learn more about the nation’s #1 bar review at BARBRI.com.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

Blog by Everett Chambers,
Vice President of Institutional Programs

INCORRECT ANSWERS ARE INVALUABLE OPPORTUNITIES.

In sports, those athletes who can recognize where and how they are falling short in execution, and then focus relentlessly to build upon the necessary skills, most often rise to an elite level of performance. Like the old saying says, “practice makes perfect.” Yet what happens when you practice the same way without adapting your approach to learn from your mistakes? Well, in the case of a U.S. bar exam, you could fall short of passing.

It’s human nature to study for an exam with the goal of correctly answering as many practice questions as possible. A high percentage correct affirms your grasp of the material. Step back from that mindset for a moment and reverse it – look to embrace the practice questions you got incorrect instead. These moments are not judgments on you. Rather, they are opportunities to dig deep into learning what you don’t know.

Unless you have a photographic memory, you aren’t likely to quickly recall all of the rules and elements tested on a U.S. state bar exam. And you probably haven’t previously studied all of the subjects tested on the bar exam. Working practice questions and learning from the explanatory answers, regardless of whether you got the questions right or wrong, will help build a solid foundation of knowledge.

If you are not confident in one area, don’t hesitate to begin answering practice questions from that area. Sometimes you can learn as much or more from the explanatory answers as you would from a lecture. Therefore, start answering practice questions as soon as possible, and be persistent in taking the time to focus on any problem areas. Study this way, repeat this approach and you’ll increase your scores on the bar exam.

About BARBRI International

If you are interested in expanding your career options globally, you may be eligible to sit for a U.S. Bar Exam and become a U.S. attorney. In today’s increasingly globalized world, demand continues to grow for those who understand the workings and complexities of the law of more than one jurisdiction.

BARBRI International will prepare you to pass the U.S. Bar Exam and provide flexible and supported learning, tailored to non-U.S. educated law graduates. BARBRI is a leader in legal education and the #1 bar exam preparation program for 50 years.

For additional information on Open Days, program locations and pricing, please visit barbri-international.com.

#The1Llife: The Year In Review

GUEST BLOG by Jackson Long,
1L at SMU Dedman School of Law

Wow… what a whirlwind of a year.

August to May, nine months of new experiences at every turn and the hardest I’ve worked in my entire life. It just hasn’t truly sunk in yet. So before we look forward to what’s next, let’s look back and reflect (and learn) from what was a year to remember for each of us.

Starting Off on the Right Foot

First day jitters are definitely a thing. Who is in your class? How does the law school learning style fit with my own? Is the professor going to Socratically crush me on day one? Completing the BARBRI Law Preview course before the start of school helped answer all of those questions. I met a group of friends to gravitate to on day one and even some who attend other law schools in the state (we still keep in touch). The biggest result: knowing what to expect each day in class and knowing what professors expect on exam day. While others jumped straight into the fire, I felt prepared from the first day. And there are few things more important during your 1L year than being “ahead of the curve.”

Setting Your Foundation

One of those things, however, is finding the right fit for yourself. 1L year will test relationships (good and bad), habits (also both good and bad), and many other things previously set in your life. It’s critical to get into a grove that you are comfortable in even with the chaos of law school swirling around you. I was fortunate to find a great group of friends to balance staying active and social with the rigors of studying. The relationships created in law school and through your experiences lead to many opportunities both professionally and socially.

Embracing the Grind

After laying the groundwork in your new place, then the real show begins. We don’t need to go over how demanding 1L year was. We both know it. The biggest thing is learning to roll with the punches, keep your balance, and move forward. I had two major computer issues hit me this year. My roommate ruptured his Achilles. I’m sure some students have had much MUCH worse. I’m thankful for only having the troubles I had. Because law school has no mercy – you can only push forward with all you have, and give it all you got for one year.

Finishing Strong

And here we are, finished. Many of you have probably already started your summer work. Look back on the last three weeks with pride after putting every last ounce of effort into your 1L grades. I often make fun of how I didn’t know a lick of Civil Procedure until the last week of April. Personal side note: thank you Professor Richard Freer of Emory Law, your BARBRI 1L Mastery videos single-handedly saved my Civ Pro backside. But that’s part of finishing strong. If there’s a will, then there’s a way. And when you have to fight through the last few weeks, you finish strong because you have to.

I’ve certainly enjoyed the opportunity to write along on our 1L journey together. We’ve had lots of ups and lots of downs (almost getting hit by a car). But through and through, I hope your 1L experience is one that you can look back upon with great pride and joy – even if you’re absolutely thrilled that it’s finally over like I am.  Now you can pass the torch. Congratulations and cheers to you, the new 2L!

#The3Llife: Big Brown Box

GUEST BLOG Lauren Rose,
Graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy

One day not very long ago, a large brown box was left on my doorstep.

I attempted to pick up this large brown box and was shocked by the weight of it.  As I walked into my house, I read the shipping label on the box. The box was sent from BARBRI. A feeling of heaviness ran over me, and no, it was not just from the sheer weight of the box, but rather the daunting feeling that bar prep would shortly begin. As I opened the box, it was like a clown car of books.  I kept pulling out book after book after.  I was so astounded by how many books I had received that I stacked them up and just looked at them.  My dog was pretty impressed by the number of books too.

I have heard many different things about the bar exam.  Most of what I have heard about it has been negative. The best advice that I have received about preparing for the bar exam has been to treat studying as if it were your full time job.  Luckily, I have been able to take off work to devote my entire summer to studying for the bar. I will be attending live Barbri lectures and studying at my law school afterwards.

Stay tuned for my adventures as I journey into this experience known as bar prep! Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at “barpreplife!”

GRAPPLE WITH THE MBE MATERIALS

By Stephanie Goetz,
BARBRI Learning and Innovation

MORE DOESN’T AUTOMATICALLY MEAN BETTER.

In preparing for the Multistate portion of the bar exam, many students think the best strategy is to tackle the largest quantity of multiple-choice practice questions as if it’s a race to reach some magic number. The truth is, there is no magic target number of practice questions you should complete. Running through “thousands” of MBE practice questions does not automatically mean you’ll score higher on the MBE. Instead of focusing on more, faster, you should focus on grappling with each individual question with which you interact.

Rather than take on a large volume of MBE practice questions at one time, work them in smaller groups. Consider working 18 questions in a 30-minute session. Why 18? To finish the MBE’s 200 questions on time, you must complete at least 17 per half hour – you have just under two minutes for each question. You want to practice a little faster than what will be needed on the exam. This will get you into the rhythm of answering a question quickly, ideally in about a minute-and-a-half.

THEN, MAKE THE MOST OF EACH QUESTION.

Another reason to work smaller groups of practice questions is so that you use each question as a real-time learning opportunity. If you answer a question incorrectly, understand why at that moment of study. If you answered one correctly, take a moment to ask yourself if you really know why that answer was correct.

If you missed one or don’t know why you got it correct, stop, take time to review the explanatory answer and delve deep into your BARBRI outlines to master points of law that are causing you trouble.

BARBRI provides 24/7 online access to hundreds of MBE practice questions so you have plenty of learning opportunities. Just remember to work a smaller group within a shorter timeframe and then take time to grapple with each one to truly learn.

ABOUT BARBRI BAR REVIEW

BARBRI pioneered bar review and proudly celebrates 50 years of helping more than 1.3 million students pass the bar exam. BARBRI’s constant innovation, leadership and depth of experience based on what will be 100 bar exams going back to 1967 influences all aspects of bar review – where it’s been, where it is today and the vast possibilities of where BARBRI will lead it next. Every year, the overwhelming majority of law students across the nation choose BARBRI Bar Review to prepare for the bar exam – and pass it the first time. Learn more about the nation’s #1 bar review at BARBRI.com.