#BarPrepLife is Over

GUEST BLOG Katie R. Day,
Quinnipiac University School of Law Graduate

WE’RE DONE WITH THE BAR EXAM!!!! Cue the confetti!

#BarPrepLife is over!! I am so proud of all of us. We worked so hard to get to this point and our hard work has paid off. I don’t know about y’all, but I am SO excited to have the next few days to celebrate, relax, and enjoy the summer before I start my new job. It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my chest and I’m going to take advantage of that awesome feeling!

While I’m beyond thrilled that my time as #BarPrepLife blogger and bar exam are over, there is that little voice in my head that’s wondering if I passed. Waiting for the results is going to be killer, but I encourage all of you to put the results out of your head. The exam is over. What’s done is done. There’s no point in stressing about it. I know that’s easier said than done, but I want us all to really try!

Take time to enjoy your summer! Go to the beach. See your family. Take a road trip. And whenever you start stressing about the results, have some faith in yourself. You made it through law school. You studied hard for the exam. And you did your best.

So put the bar exam out of your mind and have some fun. You deserve it! Also, thank you for following my #BarPrepLife journey.

The Final Countdown to the Bar Exam: #BarPrepLife

GUEST BLOG Katie R. Day,
Quinnipiac University School of Law Graduate

The bar exam is JUST A FEW DAYS AWAY! (Cue freakout!)

I can’t believe we’re finally at the end of this crazy bar prep journey. The last couple of months have been challenging to say the least and I’m beyond excited to put this exam behind me and start working as an attorney!

Since I know these next few days are going to be crazy, I made a to-do list for myself so I make sure I’m not forgetting anything important and I’m staying as stress-free as possible. I’m sharing it with the hopes that it helps you stay calm, cool, and collected leading into the exam.

Visit the site. If possible, check out the testing location. How do you get there and how long will it take? Where should you park? Is it warm or cold inside the building? You may not be able to get into the specific testing room, but having a general idea of where you’ll be taking the test is helpful. You don’t want to get lost the day of the exam or feel like you’re running late because you can’t find parking.

People lined up at New York City’s Javits Center July 25 for the first day of the New York Bar exam. (Photo credit: Suzanne Tullo)

Get your materials together. Make a list of everything you need to bring with you the day of the exam and set it all out. A couple of days before the exam, make sure you have pens and pencils, tissues, etc. and make a run to the store if you’re missing anything. Then, the night before the exam lay out your clothes, ID, car keys, water bottle, etc. You’ll be stressed enough the day of the exam, you don’t need to be hunting for your car keys or struggling to find pencils.

Do a final review. Run through everything one more time. Don’t quiz yourself, don’t beat yourself up if something is confusing, just absorb the information. I spoke with my professor today and he gave me some great advice, he said “If you don’t know it now, you won’t learn it in the next few days.” And he’s right, we’ve learned a lot and we’ve taken the time to commit a significant amount of information to memory. There’s no way you’ll know 100% of the information that will be on the exam, so don’t stress yourself out trying to cram it all in. Do one more cursory review to refresh your memory and then be confident in what you know.

Take care of yourself. It can be tempting to devote every last minute to studying and reviewing material. I’m not telling you to stop studying, but make sure you’re reserving time for self care. Get enough sleep. Eat healthy meals. Take time to go to the gym or take a bike ride. Don’t neglect yourself to get in a few more hours of bar prep videos or practice essays. Trust me, it won’t be worth it.

Have fun. You want to go into the exam confident and relaxed. Being stressed to the max will only hurt your performance on test day, so take some steps to de-stress and have some fun before the exam. The day before the exam go to dinner with your friends, spend the day with your family, or relax at the local beach. Just do something that will take your mind off the exam and help you get in a relaxed headspace. 

GOOD LUCK to all of you taking the bar exam! WE CAN DO THIS!

Law School Graduates ‘Fairly Certain’ They’ll Fail the Bar Exam

Mike Sims, BARBRI President

An Answer to the Recent “Above The Law” Article

A recent headline on Above the Law said, “Law School Graduates ‘Fairly Certain’ They’ll Fail the Bar Exam.” If you’re feeling that way, let me assure you that, based upon my 26 years of working with bar preppers, your feelings are normal. The first weeks of July are typically the hardest weeks of bar study. In early July you draw near to the end of the lecture phase of your bar review course. In early July the sheer volume of the law you have to learn becomes a stark reality. And in early July you get your first real sense where you are sitting on the curve when you sit for the Simulated MBE.

The first weeks of July are justifiably scary.

However, this year there is also good news in the first weeks of July.

Dr. Dave Clark, BARBRI’s Senior VP for Learning (and chief data wrangler), recently completed an analysis of more than 86,000 BARBRI students over the past four years. Here’s what he found:

At this point in July, the current class of BARBRI students has completed more of their bar review course assignments than in any of the three previous years prior (a measure highly correlated with pass rates and overall scores on the bar examination). Also, scores from the recently administered BARBRI Simulated MBE indicate that this current group of students is as prepared and equipped to be successful on the bar examination as any class prior, and significantly more prepared than those who sat for the bar three years ago.

According to the data, the BARBRI class of 2018 is on track for success this summer.

To be sure, the last weeks of July mean there’s more to do. You have practice questions to answer, essays to write and lots of rules to learn. But you have the tools and now hopefully a bit more confidence.

It’s important to remember that every July, in every state, more first-time takers pass the bar exam than not – even in California. I’m sure that will be true this year too.

As Stacy Zaretsky said in the Above the Law post I referenced above, “keep studying, think positive thoughts, and keep the faith. We believe in you — you just need to believe in yourselves. You can do it!”

Keep up the great work!

Practice Makes Perfect: #BarPrepLife

GUEST BLOG Katie R. Day,
Quinnipiac University School of Law Graduate

We’ve all heard that practice makes perfect, right?

As I write this, there are exactly 2 weeks left until the bar exam—yikes! I’m definitely nervous. There’s still so much information I need to learn. As I’ve been studying, I’ve found that the saying “practice makes perfect” really rings true during bar prep. With each set of MBE questions and each essay I write, I feel myself getting more comfortable with the material and the structure of the questions.

It’s such a great feeling to read a question and think “I know this!” and that happens more and more as I practice. I know at this point you never want to see another bar exam question again—trust me, I feel your pain—but these questions are one of the best ways to prepare for the exam!

I highly recommend that you treat these questions the same way you would on exam day: put away your notes, set a timer, and pretend it’s go time! When the exam rolls around you’ll feel confident in your ability to answer the questions correctly and within the time frame. Plus, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect and even how to handle a question that you don’t know the answer to.

So as you open another set of MBE questions or read another MEE essay or MPT, remind yourself that practice makes perfect. Or maybe more appropriately in our case, practice makes passing!

Handling Your Simulated MBE Results: #BarPrepLife

GUEST BLOG Katie R. Day,
Quinnipiac University School of Law Graduate

Simulated MBE? Okay, I want to be real with y’all.

This week was my simulated MBE. I’d love to sit here and write that I’m thrilled with how I did and that I feel amazing heading into the exam. But that’s not the truth. The Simulated MBE results were eye-opening and I have a lot to work on before exam day.

I’m sure many of you are feeling the same way, but instead of feeling frustrated I want us to use these practice scores as motivation! It’s great that we were able to take a practice test and gauge our progress before we sit for the actual exam. Now that we’re aware of our problem areas we can study in a way that is more focused and more efficient.

I know that’s easier said than done, so I’ve included a few of my favorite quotes to help you get in the right frame of mind and #OwnTheBar!

“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.”

“The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.”

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”

Bar Prep Self-Care: #BarPrepLife

GUEST BLOG Katie R. Day,
Quinnipiac University School of Law Graduate

Is bar prep self-care a priority?

Studying for the bar exam can be mentally exhausting and super stressful. As the exam draws closer I’m really starting to feel the pressure and I know most of you are too. It’s hard to find a balance between studying/preparing and not burning out. This week, I’ve really been thinking about some ways that I can take care of myself and still stay on track with my studying.

While studying is obviously super important, so is bar prep self-care. If we’re not taking care of ourselves, we won’t be able to perform our best on test day—which we all know is our main goal.

With that in mind, I wanted to share with y’all some of the ways I’m going to be focusing on bar prep self-care in the next few weeks. I hope these will help you reduce stress and stay mentally prepared as we head into the bar exam.

  1. Take quiet time. Sometimes just pausing to take a few deep breaths can go a long way in relieving stress. Take a few minutes at the beginning of your day to take slow, deep breaths and think positively about what you’re going to accomplish with your studies. If you start to feel overwhelmed or discouraged as you study, pause and take a few deep breaths to relax and refocus.
  2. Spread some positivity. Find a few quotes that motivate you, a GIF that makes you smile, or a photo you love and leave them somewhere you’ll see them. An encouraging quote taped to the mirror will get you started on a positive note each morning and that funny GIF on your phone will be a great pick me up when you need a study break.
  3. Stop studying. Yep, you read that right. There’s such a thing as overstudying. You need to make sure you’re getting enough sleep and eating healthy meals, which you can’t do if you’re studying like a maniac. Set yourself a schedule—and actually stop when your scheduled study time is up. You want to go into the exam well rested and healthy, not sick and overtired.
  4. Be antisocial. Don’t get me wrong, you want to have a little bit of fun as you study. It’s okay to have dinner with a friend, spend a couple of hours with your family, and take your dog for walks. At the same time, you have a busy study schedule and you likely won’t be able to fit in all of your studying if you say yes to everything you’re invited to. Don’t be afraid to say no. While your friends and family want to spend time with you, they’ll understand how important this exam is.

If you have any other self care tips, tweet them to me at @barpreplife!

Midpoint Bar Prep Check-In: #BarPrepLife

GUEST BLOG Katie R. Day,
Quinnipiac University School of Law Graduate

Hey y’all! Guess what?

We’re at the Midpoint Bar Prep Check-In! Should I be excited or nervous? I’m definitely a bit of both. The good news is that we still have a month until we take the bar exam, which gives us a decent amount of time study and memorize.

To make sure that I was on track, and that I was using the remaining month as effectively as possible, I did a little “midpoint bar prep check-in” with myself. It can be hard to look critically at the work you’re doing, but it’s also really helpful in holding yourself accountable.

When I looked critically at my study habits, I realized I’m not 100% focused while I’m reviewing my notes and making flashcards and I could be getting those things done quicker and learning more if I stopped turning Netflix on in the background.

Also, I realized that I was getting a little burnt out and wasn’t making sure I was taking care of myself. To combat that I decided to take an afternoon off to spend time at a family event, which helped me to recharge and decreased my stress level.

I really recommend that everyone take a few minutes to do a midpoint bar prep check-in. Evaluate the progress you’ve made and see where you can be more efficient. Make a note of the topics that are most challenging for you and spend some more time on those areas. Review your Barbri Personal Study Plan and make sure you’re staying on top of the assignments. If you’re not happy with your progress so far, you still have time to course correct and get yourself back on track.

And remember, while it’s super important to critically examine your study habits, also take some time to evaluate your health and make sure you’re taking care of yourself mentally and physically as you prep for the bar exam!

Handwrite Study Materials: #BarPrepLife

I encourage you to take time to handwrite study materials.

One of the things I love about BARBRI is the amount of awesome study materials provided. Between the lecture handouts, Conviser Mini Reviews, and preparatory PDFs there is never a shortage of materials to read and learn from. While I’ve found all of these to be really useful as I try to memorize this bar prep material, I’ve also found that taking the time to handwrite study materials I’m trying to memorize has been a big help as well.

For me (and probably for some of you too), the act of handwriting something helps it stick in my mind. I also find that when I handwrite something, I tend to condense it and put it in my own words, which makes it easier for me to understand and remember. Handwriting materials is something I made a point to do for every law school exam, and I’m making a point to do it for the bar exam as well.

I know what you’re thinking… I’m crazy for trying to make you add something else to an already packed study schedule, but hear me out! I’m not asking you to rewrite all 100-something pages of the lecture handout or copy the Conviser Mini Review word for word. In fact, I don’t recommend you do that at all.

I’m recommending that you take your study materials and condense them into your own words. Try making a short, handwritten outline covering hearsay, the exemptions, and exceptions. Make flashcards for the different intentional torts and their elements or the types of property interests. By taking the BARBRI materials and putting them in your own words and your own format, you’re making yourself think through what each concept means and how they all relate together.

Not only will that help further your understanding and memorization of the material, it will also help you to identify areas that are a bit confusing to you so you can re-watch the lecture or submit a question.

What study tactics have you found most helpful? Are you going to handwrite study materials? Tweet me @barpreplife and let me know!