2019 MPRE Changes Are Coming

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) has announced changes to the 2019 Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). Most notably, an increase in the registration fees and steps to phase in a new computer-based testing format (to be fully transitioned by the March 2020 exam).

If you are a 2L or 3L law student in line for the MPRE this year, it’s important to be mindful of the registration deadlines because you can save some money and also how the computer-based exam format could impact how you experience taking the exam.

NEW REGISTRATION FEES

The 2019 MPRE regular registration fee is now $125 and the late registration fee, $220. By marking your calendar to meet the regular registration deadline, you’ll save $95. And remember that the late registration deadline is only one week later. Here are the registration deadlines and fees for all three administrations of the 2019 MPRE:

COMPUTER-BASED TESTING, RANDOM PARTICIPANTS

For the March 2019 MPRE, students will continue to use the traditional scantron form. For the August 2019 and November 2019 MPRE, up to 5,000 examinees will be randomly selected to take the computer-based exam at a Pearson VUE Center.

You’ll know if you’re one during the online MPRE registration process. All other examinees will take the paper-based exam at an LSAC test center. For more information, visit the NBCE FAQs webpage.

FREE BARBRI MPRE REVIEW, INFOGRAPHIC & BAR EXAM DIGEST

The MPRE is meant to task you with thinking like a lawyer when ethical situations aren’t so clear cut. It’s also a different testing format compared to law school. You’ll need to complete 60 multiple-choice questions in two hours. Get ahead and sign up for the free online BARBRI MPRE Review.

It includes our new MPRE Maximizer, your last-minute quick-study cram packet of legal ethics rules, exceptions and broad topic areas. And you can go back as often as you like to the BARBRI MPRE Review online lectures and practice questions. Reinforce the rules of professional responsibility, the code of judicial conduct and the law of lawyering.

Taking a legal ethics or professional responsibility class in law school won’t guarantee a passing score. That’s why most 2L and 3L students take the free BARBRI MPRE Review. It covers everything about ethics, is highly organized and always current on legal ethics information.

Check out our MPRE passing scores infographic that compares all states/jurisdictions. Download our free, comprehensive BARBRI Bar Exam Digest for all the state-by-state MPRE scoring information you need, all in one convenient place.

Extended Bar Prep or 8-Week Bar Review? As a Foreign Attorney, Which Course Should I Take?

Guest Blog by Natalia Urrea
BARBRI International Director

As a foreign-trained attorney or international law graduate considering sitting for a bar exam in the United States —whether or not you have or are completing an LL.M. program in the U.S. ―it will serve you well to strategize your exam preparation.

Successfully passing a U.S. bar exam will signify your understanding of U.S. law, which will be impressive in and of itself. As a U.S. licensed attorney, you will set yourself up well to work in an international firm with international clients and/or will set yourself apart in a competitive job market.

Charting an international course for your career is incredibly smart, and you’re almost there. You just need to find the best bar preparation experience for you.

Factors to Consider

Here are some factors to consider when choosing between the BARBRI Extended U.S. Bar Preparation and the BARBRI Bar Review 8-Week course:

  • How much time do you have to devote to your studies each week? How much flexibility do you need during your course?
  • Have you ever studied the subjects tested on a U.S. bar exam?
  • Do you feel that taking an intensive, timed multiple-choice and essay exam all in English might be especially challenging for you?
  • How much 1:1 support would you like or require during your course?
  • Do you need advice on foreign applications or eligibility?
  • Are you studying for California, Texas, or a U.S. state that utilizes the Uniform Bar Exam (including New York)?

After considering these questions, if you find yourself thinking you might require more time, flexibility and support, then the BARBRI Extended U.S. Bar Preparation might be right for you. Time, flexibility and ongoing support are exactly what the BARBRI Extended U.S. Bar Preparation offers.

Read more in the blog “BARBRI Extended Bar Prep and 8-Week BARBRI Bar Review Courses: What’s the Difference?” or visit www.barbri.com/llm/.

BARBRI Extended Bar Prep and 8-Week BARBRI Bar Review: What’s the Difference?

Guest Blog by Natalia Urrea
BARBRI International Director

As a foreign-trained attorney or international law graduate considering sitting a state bar exam in the United States —whether or not you have or are completing an LL.M. program in the U.S. ―you know you have study options with BARBRI, the world’s largest legal qualification exam prep company. But what is the best option for you?

Let’s find the right one to fit your individual study style and schedule.

What is Included?

First, let’s look at the similarities between the BARBRI Extended U.S. Bar Preparation (over 6- or 10-months) and the BARBRI Bar Review course (over 8-weeks). They both have some powerful, common features and experiences, including:

  • Course work assigned through the online BARBRI Personal Study Plan (PSP) that is focused on what is most likely to be tested on the actual examination.
  • Lectures in substantive law taught by top U.S. law professors that are examination-driven so you get what you need to know in each subject.
  • Full Multistate (MBE) simulation that allows you to do a complete timed exam and submit it to BARBRI for grading. The simulation shows you where you are on the bar exam curve with enough time to modify your study before the actual exam.
  • BARBRI’s MBE Success Learning Path that includes thousands of multiple-choice practice questions.
  • Directed Essay Grading starting with Essay Architect, our exclusive online instruction platform that takes you through a series of steps to learn to critically read bar exam questions, enhance the speed of your essay writing and construct strong, winning answers. Essay Architect provides immediate feedback to build your essay writing skills quickly.
  • Then, we assign a carefully selected series of past bar exam essays and performance tests for grading and feedback from trained bar exam writing experts.

What’s Different?

The major differences between the two BARBRI options involve the amount of time you need to study, the flexibility you need in your preparation, and the 1:1 support you require. For a list of factors to consider, check out the blog “Extended Bar Prep or 8-Week Bar Review? As a Foreign Attorney, Which Course Should I Take?

The Extended Bar Prep is a part-time, home study program designed to accommodate busy professionals and LL.M. graduates with other commitments who are studying for the California or Texas Bar Exam or for a U.S. state that utilizes the Uniform Bar Exam (including New York).

BARBRI Extended U.S. Bar Prep for non-U.S. nationals focuses on exam techniques that international students find difficult to master and on the topics that are most frequently examined. Here’s a closer look:

  • Full bar preparation administered all online over 6 or 10 months; study 20-30 hours per week over a 6-month duration or no more than 15 hours per week over a 10-month duration for maximum weekly flexibility.
  • Focus first on foundational elements of U.S. law tested on the exam to catch up on information that most U.S. law students learn during their J.D. program.
  • Receive a personal 1:1 mentor who is a qualified U.S. attorney to help guide you. Your personal mentor assists with eligibility, your application, course navigation, study strategies, and schedule modifications if needed. They have access to your progress report to help them know where you excel and where you most need additional study.
  • More flexible, weekly PSP. Your PSP is used by your mentor to see your activities and milestones, tailor studies and what lectures you should watch based on your progress, and provide encouraging messages to keep you on track.

Structure, accountability, support and success are what the extended bar prep programs are about. Overall, you will get a deep-dive into heavily tested exam topics in U.S. law and areas of most difficulty for foreign student.

What If I Want to Do the 8-Week Bar Review Course?

We have seen many foreign candidates be successful with the 8-week BARBRI Bar Review Course. The shorter timeline makes it attractive to many who want to take the course directly after their LL.M. program and who want to take the exam as quickly as possible.

The best advice I can give you is to be prepared to start as early as you can with BARBRI Early Start and plan to treat your bar review course like a very intensive, full-time job. Go to a classroom location for lectures if you are able (included at no additional cost in BARBRI Bar Review).

How best to pursue U.S. licensure is really a personal choice. BARBRI understands the unique challenges international students can face in learning American concepts of law. That’s why we provide options, with courses taught by professors who have extensive experience in LL.M. training and qualification exam prep. We are here to help you Own The Bar.

Visit www.barbri.com/llm/ for more information.

BarPrepLife: The Results Are In — I passed!

passed

GUEST BLOG by Katie R. Day
Quinnipiac University School of Law, J.D. Candidate 2018

This is a blog post that I have been waiting over three years to write.

Since I started law school, I’ve been thinking about the day I would finally become a practicing attorney. As I struggled through 1L classes, tough internships, and an intense bar prep study program, I kept my eyes on this light at the end of the tunnel.

And now it’s here.

I can finally say I PASSED THE BAR EXAM!!!!

passed

A huge congratulations to all of my fellow new attorneys! I’m so proud of the hard work we put in and the great attorneys we’re going to become.

The bar exam was a hard process. I’ve never studied harder, stressed more, or had as much self-doubt as I did in the months leading up to this exam. But I can say with confidence that it was the best decision I made.

For the law students taking the bar in the coming year, and for my friends who will be taking the exam again, I promise you all the hard work, the late nights, and the occasional tears are worth it. Keep the faith. Keep pushing through. And next bar exam season, your name will be on the pass list!

Christmas Wishlist

wishlist

Guest Blog by Courtney Boykin, 3L at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

The semester is “over.”

No more exams… No more studying… No more intense studying… at least for a while. I’m super excited to finally have a break. This semester has been challenging in more ways than one, but I’m super excited to spend a few weeks at home, uninterrupted, with my family.

For law students, Christmas can be a very interesting holiday. You always get those really weird legal questions, but that just comes with the territory. At any rate, I thought it’d be fun to create a wishlist of the best Christmas gifts a law student could receive (and actually use).

Here are a few Wishlist ideas:

  • Pencils, pens, and highlighters
  • Gift Cards (BARBRI (yes, please!), restaurants, grocery stores, gas, boutiques, iTunes…all of it!)
  • Blankets
  • Mugs
  • A Picture book (Hey, it gives your brain rest.)
  • Money (because…money)
  • Headphones

Some of these may be unconventional and not very “Christmas-y,” but they’re usable nonetheless. Ha!

Merry Christmas and I’ll talk to you next semester!

Managing Finals Stress

GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way, 2L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

It’s not 1L anymore, but finals are still stressful … especially if you haven’t secured your 2L summer job yet; are applying for a clerkship, or know you want to try to re-do the OCI process during 3L. To add to the stress, as a 2L there’s a higher likelihood that instead of just having straight exams, you probably have a combination of exams, final assignments/projects, and lengthy seminar papers to write. Prepping for each of these finals requires different strategies, but managing your stress throughout should be fairly uniform!

During my first years of college, I was a bundle of stress when it came to preparing for finals. But, over the years I’ve found that five things really help me to stay relatively stress-free during the most dreaded time of the year (for students that is).

One:

Have Something to Look Forward to

It can be easy to feel like you’re drowning in finals stress when there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. To avoid this phenomenon I like to plan something fun, like a trip or concert, that I can look forward to throughout the finals season. Having that event in mind makes me feel like I’m working towards something, and gives me a reason to smile and push through when I feel like finals will never end!

Two:

Healthy & Regular Meals

Your body, skin, and mind will thank you for this one! Eating healthy meals regularly throughout exam season gives your body the fuel it needs to be energized so you can push through those late night study sessions. Plus, when you’re living off of junk food and Chinese takeout your body isn’t functioning at its optimal level … meaning your study sessions are likely less efficient than they could be. I also find the simple routine of making a meal to be relaxing, especially since it generally gives me a small break between study sessions!

Three:

Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

I cannot emphasize how much time management helps ease stress during finals time, and just generally. If you’re a procrastinator like me, having a schedule ensures that you don’t leave studying until the last minute. It also lets you figure out when you have free time for laundry, grocery shopping, naps, etc. so you don’t end up feeling overwhelmed by the combination of studying and real-life responsibilities and necessities.

Finals

Four:

Take Breaks

Once you’ve figured out a study schedule, make sure you slot in some breaks as well– and I don’t just mean 10-minute intervals. Finals season for most students runs for two-plus weeks, you need to have a few days or half days off during that time to avoid the dreaded burnout. Furthermore, having those breaks added into your schedule not only helps you avoid stress naturally by allowing your body to relax and recharge, but it also gives you something to look forward to during the week.

Five:

Don’t Cut Social Ties

It can be difficult, if not impossible to find time to hang out with your family and friends in the midst of finals season, but that doesn’t mean you need to cut all social ties. When you’re stressed because you feel like you don’t understand something it can help to reach out to your study group, or a friend from class. On the opposite spectrum, however, when you’re just feeling generally overwhelmed it can be beneficial to talk to a friend or family member outside of the law school environment to help ground you.

As a 2L how have you learned to manage your finals stress? Are there any tips or tricks that work particularly well for you?!

Reading Week, Finals and a Job Search, Oh My!

GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin, 1L at the University of Arizona

Job search during finals, are you kidding me? Though Reading Week has arrived, and I am frantically trying to reassure myself that I am prepared and ready to take practice exams, and my actual exams in less than a week. If you are like me, your focus will be exclusively on finals, but don’t forget that with the arrival of December 1 it also means that we can start submitting applications to firms in an attempt to secure our 1L summer positions.

It is VERY accurate that paid 1L positions are rare, but there are a ton of unpaid opportunities out there allowing us to gain experience while also giving back. Many of us will spend our summers working for non-profits, clerking for judges or by supporting government agencies. So rather than wasting your winter break hitting refresh to see if grades have posted, prepare your application materials, update or create your LinkedIn page, and take a proactive approach to land your summer legal position.

First, get your application materials together

This will typically be a resume, cover letter and a writing sample (be sure to pay attention to page limits). The great thing is you can use the resume that you prepared for law school applications, as a jumping off point for your resume. Be sure to update your resume with your law school and add any awards you received, plus be sure to mention when your GPA can be expected. There are a lot of great resources out there for you to find example cover letters, and resumes, but be sure to book some time with your career services for any extra help or advice.

Next, update or create your LinkedIn

If you do not already have a LinkedIn account, now is the time to create one. LinkedIn can be an excellent tool for networking, learning more about law firms, and establishing your personal brand. If you aren’t sure where to start here is a recently published article from Above the Law to get you started. I have used LinkedIn this semester to build my network as I met with people who have visited my law school for lunchtime chats and to connect with visiting students. This has already paid off, as I have received leads on 1L positions! If you’d like to add me to your network, feel free to connect to me!

Finally, reach out to Employers

There are a variety of different ways to do this. Most people will just send their cover letters, resumes and writing samples and wait for a response. That is a sound approach, but don’t be afraid to be a bit more proactive. You can list your resume on career sites like Monster and Career Builder, and do not forget about your law school’s career website. You will likely to need to have a presence on your school’s career site for Spring OCI, so take advantage of winter break to get your account established and to reach out to employers.

job search

In many cases, your school should be your first place to look for opportunities, however, I am also excited to let you know about a new BarBri website to help you look for a job that is just for law students, The Law Preview Job Network. Be sure to check out the link and establish your account today.

As a final point, do not forget the value of face to face contact and try to visit law firms. This is a great move, especially if you will be home for the holidays and you know you want to find employment in that city. Get out there be seen! Good luck on your finals and job search and I will see you next semester!

Exam Period: Just Keep Studying

Guest Blog by Courtney Boykin, 3L at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

If you’re reading this, you may be studying for your finals.

First off, CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve finished this semester. Whether you’d classify it as a “strong” finish or not, you’ve finished and that’s something to celebrate.

Now, the REALLY fun part begins. If you’re like me, you’re prone to get really stressed out during exam periods. It’s like no matter how many encouraging words and cheers you get from the outside, you always tend to find yourself freaking out about the exams on the inside. Trust me, I get it. Here are 2 pieces of advice:

  1. Study hard and understand that you’ve got this. No, seriously, you’ve got this. Do you know how many people have taken the very classes you’ve taken and passed with flying colors? It’s possible. You can do it, too.
  2. Just do the work. You have the notecards. You have the outlines. You have your notes. You have the textbook. Just keep studying! Just keep studying! *cue Dory from Finding Nemo:)*

Studying can be very tedious, but understand that it won’t last long and before you know it…it will all be a faint memory, especially for the 3Ls.

So, stay strong. Hold on.

Everything will be fine.

Happy Studying!!

Twelve Things the Law Student in Your Life Wished You Understood

GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way, 2L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

Everyone knows law school is stressful.

But for a law student, it can be difficult to describe how the strains of law school impact your ability to connect with their non-law school friends and family. Often times we suppress our frustrations because we don’t want to insult or be rude to the people we care about. Try as we might, every law student has caught themselves wishing that their non-law school companions understood certain facets of the law student life. To that end, I’ve compiled twelve of the most common things my peers wish their friends knew about their law school life.

  1. Sleep is hard to come by so it’s not unusual for us to prioritize sleep over going out.
  2. It’s not abnormal to have an offer (or a job) after your first or second year.
  3. Exam prep does not last a few mere hours, it requires literal days of hard work.
  4. Just because we don’t have an assignment due doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot of work. In fact, readings can be worse than assignments.
  5. On the topic of readings, it can take multiple hours to complete a reading for one class because of the complexity of the subject matter. So we’re not lying when we say our entire Saturday is being spent prepping for class.
  6. Non-class time is not necessarily free time. We have pro bono requirements, board meetings, journal meetings, assignments, etc.
  7. When we visit home we do want to see you, but it may not be feasible since we often have important school work, assignments, and other tasks to complete. Likewise, because law school often requires a sacrifice in the sleep department, sometimes our bodies are telling us to use our break to rest and recharge.
  8. Being a law student doesn’t mean we have the time, or the experience, to solve all of your legal problems.
  9. If we forgot to respond to your text message it’s not intentional. Often we get your messages when we’re in class, and though we mean to respond, the hectic nature of law school sometimes causes us to forget that we didn’t actually press send!
  10. Law school is expensive! Sometimes we can’t financially afford to attend all the events or dinners that you invite us to, so please don’t read anything into our rejection.
  11. In the majority of our courses grades are based on one final exam or assignment, and to make matters worse, we’re graded on a curve – meaning someone has to get a B- while someone else has to get an A. Furthermore, getting good grades is crucial for obtaining decent clerkships and post-graduation jobs.
  12. And finally, the law school workload is not at all comparable to the workload of undergrad, or even the average MBA. In our opinion, the law school workload and expected standard of achievement is much, much higher!

For my fellow law students, what things do you wish your non-law school friends knew about law school life? Likewise, for those non-law school readers out there, are there any questions you have pertaining to the day-to-day life of the law student in your life? Send me your questions and ideas on Instagram or Twitter: @The2Llife!

4 Steps to Forming a “Finals Attack Plan.”

GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin, 1L at the University of Arizona

Can you believe it my fellow 1Ls, finals are right around the corner! I am lucky and my finals are pretty late, as they do not start until December 10 and I have my last final on December 19. If you haven’t started now is the time to start forming your finals attack plan.

1) If you haven’t started, write your own outline!

If you haven’t started outlining yet, your first tendency might be to use one from a 2L or 3L who took the class from your professor but resist this urge. Instead, grab your syllabus and book and make the framework of your outline from there. This really helped me for midterms, and I wish I had started sooner. This will let you easily organize your notes in the way the professor intended you to.  Don’t worry about how long it is. You will likely end up with one master outline or a “study” outline, then a condensed version of the outline that features fundamental concepts, and then ideally you’ll be able to create an attack outline that will help you on the test.

If you’ve been like me and outlining throughout the semester, now is a great time to start condensing it and creating the attack outline.

2) Fill in the Gaps

Every time I look at my outline I see things missing, or concepts I feel “ify” on. Now is the perfect time to consult the BARBRI Outlines,  and an upperclassman’s to fill in those gaps. Pro Tip:  Be sure to highlight those areas and then make an office hours appointment with your professor to discuss. If you do this now, you won’t be rushing for a spot at the end of the month or discovering an issue during the reading period.

3) Find Practice Exams

Your professor will likely provide these, or they may be in your library. Be sure to find the ones for your professor that have model answers. You will likely not want to start studying with these too early, as you want to be able to answer the entire question being asked. But having these saved to your computer will help you when everyone else is trying to locate them

4) Study Where It Counts During Reading Period

If you have courses with finals that vary in their credit value, then you should spend the bulk of your time on the on the class that is most likely to impact your GPA. This was a great trip that I learned during my BARBRI Law Preview course. It seems that most people dedicate the same amount of time studying to all of their classes, but if you have a Torts class that is worth 6 credits and a Contracts class that is only worth 4 credits, getting a high grade in Torts will have a more significant impact on your GPA. At my school, every single one of my courses with a final is worth 4 credits so I will be spending an equal amount of time on them during our reading period.

How are you preparing for finals? Do you have your own finals attack plan? Any tips you think other 1Ls could benefit from? Let me know over at the @The1LLife on Twitter!