#BarPrepLife: #BarPrepTweetsOTheWeek brought to you in the form of #BarPrepMovieTitles

GUEST BLOG by Lauren Thedford,
SMU Law School graduate and BARBRI bar review student

What do you do on a Monday night deep in the middle of bar prep? You manipulate popular movie titles into bar prep related titles. This definitely counts as human interaction for the day, right?

Best studying, yet.

Make sure to follow @barpreplife and checkout the hashtags #barprep and #barpreplife for more!


#BarPrepLife: I dunno

GUEST BLOG by Lauren Thedford,
SMU Law School graduate and BARBRI bar review student

Hello all,

It’s been a while, I know. There are really only a few things going on when you’re half-way through bar prep:

1) Stress

Most days I’m stressed because I have a lot to do. Every day has numerous tasks accompanying it and it’s very difficult to catch up if you take a day off or an accidental six-hour nap (it’s possible).

Other days, I’m stressed that I’m not stressed enough. Should I be freaking out more? I trust the BARBRI bar review course and I’ll learn what I need to learn, but am I doing it right? Am I engaged enough? Am I studying enough? Should I be doing more?

Then there’s just the day-to-day stress of waking up and deciding whether you care enough to put on real clothes. Hint: You don’t.

The BARBRI lecturers are pretty good about warning you not to listen to what other people say about their study habits, but it’s nearly impossible not to ask. Someone is working during bar prep? Someone is on top of every single assignment on the Interactive Paced Program AND does extra MBE practice questions every day?! At the least, I’ve learned to have a healthy dose of skepticism. Either way, it’s an additional question mark that adds to the stress.

I haven’t had a bar prep freak out yet, but I credit that to my eating and working out skills, and the emergency pedicure. See below.

2) Eating Everything

Food makes me happy. Food is my study break. I try to eat healthy, but that’s just not as fun as rewarding myself with a cheeseburger after I catch the little Interactive Paced Program arrow.

Inner monologue: You finished your practice MBE? Good. Do another one and then you can eat dinner. Do a practice essay and you can have that cookie. No wine until you catch the arrow.

I don’t like my inner voice most of the time, but food is my favorite kind of reward.

Inevitably, stress eating leads to working out so that the guilt I mentioned earlier doesn’t expand to guilt over stress eating. IT’S A NEVER ENDING CYCLE.

At least it’s only two months?

3) Commiserating with others

Never has “misery loves company” been more true. If the #bargression post didn’t make it clear enough, there are a good amount of us bar preppers who enjoy releasing a little steam on Twitter. We find others who are in the same boat, maybe even on the same lecture topic, and at least feel as though we’re not alone.

I’ve turned to doodling my emotions, as well, and found a fellow doodler or two along the way.

Check it out:


Above Images ©Lauren Thedford

a salt and battery

Above Image ©Amanda Supey

As always, reach out on @barpreplife and use the following hashtags:

#barprep    |   #barpreplife   |   #YouMightBeABarPrepperIf    |   etc.

Until next time,


#BarPrepLife: Bargression

GUEST BLOG by Lauren Thedford,
SMU Law School graduate and BARBRI bar review student

Bargression is a thing. Bargression is when, due to bar prep, one is irrationally angry or emotional for no reason other than being stressed and overwhelmed.

The catalyst could be tiny – a vibrating phone or a bubble gum pop. It could be huge – a family emergency or problems with a significant other. It may be somewhere in between – a poor MBE result or falling behind on assignments. Either way, “bargression” is real and apparently mid-June is prime time #bargression season.

I, myself, began twitching during bar prep class last week, when someone’s phone vibrated nine time (yep, I counted) during the first hour. Not only that, but two people who sat near me walked in late. That’s 11 disruptions of thought within one hour on a morning that was already difficult because people decided to argue with me about having to show their ID to enter the bar review course room (I am a location administrator).

My hand legitimately began twitching after I “shh-ed” in the direction of the vibrating phone. Fun fact: my friend thinks it was the professor’s phone that was going off. Oops? Not really. Turn that off. It’s distracting.

Speaking of #bargression, here is a “special” post that mixes the weekly blog with the #TweetsOTheWeek. Let’s be honest, I’m too busy to write a real post,and bargression tweets are more exciting, so enjoy!



It’s true. We know it’s irrational, but that’s not stopping us.



The knife, skull and other violent emojis
have become standard in my “Recent” section.
Extra points if you know the new emoji, coming out in June,
that will be the go-to for #barprep tweets.


It’s best not to talk to/question/interact
with anyone going through bar prep.



I know it’s happening … but I can’t stop it!



She’s not kidding – things get destroyed.



See. Told you.



Last, but not least, I think Squidward really sums it all up.
I feel like I have become the living, breathing embodiment
of mean ol’ Squidward. Sorry (not sorry).


Overall, the tweets of other bar preppers have, at least, let me know that I’m not alone. I’m not the only one feeling this way and this is something we can all get through together. It’s like culture shock: the more you know about what is going to happen to you and how you’re going to feel, the better equipped you are to handle the extreme changes.

I’ve resolved myself to taking VERY deep breaths every time someone walks in late, crinkles cellophane or leaves a phone on. Does it fix everything? No. But it has helped me to refocus my energy on what really matters: passing the bar.

Also. Wine.

Keep sharing with the hashtag #barpreplife!

#BarPrepLife: Deep into bar prep

GUEST BLOG by Lauren Thedford,
SMU Law School graduate and BARBRI bar review student


I’m officially deep into bar prep. Here are my thoughts:

Fill in the blank learning is wonderful

I learn by writing what I’m studying, so the fill in the blank method is great for me. Also, colorful pens are clutch in these situations. Not only do the pretty colors make me happy (yes, it’s that simple), it helps the words to stand out so I can see if I’ve missed anything.

Fill in the blank also keeps me pretty attentive. The only time it becomes an issue is crim law (because there are so many elements to fill in for common law crimes we don’t even pay attention to anymore), but I think that’s just because it’s crim law…

The crazier the example, the better my retention

The BARBRI lecturers are basically stand-up comedians, thank God. I’m not saying you would pay to see them talk about torts if you didn’t have to pass the bar, but they try to keep it interesting. Thus far we’ve experienced all sorts of violence with the Family Guy™ crew. If you really want to get the point across that improper sexual touching constitutes an offensive contact for battery, Quagmire is the key.

Unfortunately, the combination of fill in the blank learning, colorful pens, and funny characters leads me to doodle in my lecture book. I remember a martini is a part of Brian’s person for purposes of Stewie’s battery, but after that I began drawing a nice little martini picture and missed a few fill ins.

My brain has already begun to turn into bar prep mush

Even the most basic of math skills are falling out of my head and I misplace things almost immediately after someone hands me something. However, I still run through elements in my head whenever someone looks like they might fall (Negligence? Did I cause this? Am I in a pure comparative negligence jurisdiction? Joint and Several liability applies unless I’m told it doesn’t. Do I have a duty to aid!?! You get the picture. Also, they never actually fall and I’m just over here making up my own MBE question). So, basically my brain is doing something, it’s just not very useful in society.

I love the reward system

I already knew this about myself, but to incentivize getting bar prep done and catching that little arrow (oh yes, I did it), I force myself to complete things before I get to do something fun. Graduation gift card? That looks like fun, but you have to finish your BARBRI AMP, first. You want to eat ice cream? Too bad, that CMR is not going to read itself. Mom calls me disciplined, but whatever you want to call it it’s a bit weird and it works for me. Worth a try if you’re motivated by food and leaving your study spot. 🙂

Twitter is a great place to find other bar prep commiserates

It makes me feel a little bit better when I see other tweeters going through the same struggle. I mean, we are all in this together, although I do hope someone helps with the curve…

If you haven’t already, check out:

  • #BarPrepJams for study music
  • #BarPrepLife for general thoughts and funny stories
  • BarPrepProblems for those problems that, but for bar prep, you wouldn’t have (disclaimer: I have no idea if that even makes sense, but it sounded cool)

For more articles written by law students during bar prep, check out:

See you on twitter at @barpreplife,


How balance, sleep, down time and saying “no” can help you pass the bar exam

By Stephanie Chandler, Esq.,
BARBRI Manager of Legal Education

It is important to embrace balance in every aspect of your life, especially when it comes to law school and the bar exam. You already know how important it is to stay focused and regimented in your studies. It is equally important to make sure you are getting some down time each day.


During law school, it was so easy to burn the candle at both ends, procrastinate on assignments and pull all-nighters. Unfortunately, Red Bull isn’t an acceptable food group. Studying for the bar exam is a strenuous process and you are going to need to work hard.

You should be spending 8-10 hours per day studying, seven days a week. You do not want to extend much beyond 10 hours a day, as you are going to fatigue your brain and get diminishing returns on your efforts. Sleep and adequate rest are irreplaceable and necessary for memory retention and performance.


For those who may be unfamiliar, sleep is that thing you avoid when you are binge-watching Netflix at 1 a.m. or staying out until close on bar review night. It is also what keeps you from turning into a living zombie who chases caffeine instead of brains. It may be possible to get by on inadequate rest during law school, but it’s not going to fly during bar review.

Getting enough sleep is important in terms of being ready to work hard each day and in making it through two months of intense daily study. In order to prepare yourself, you may be well-served to assess your sleeping habits and make any necessary changes during the time between graduation and the first day of your bar review class.

I don’t fall asleep easily. I am not sure that I ever did. However, I explored different sleep-help options and I ended up finding gold. My secret weapon was yoga. Specifically, this video.

Other helpful sleep tips:

  • Turn off your phone, TV, tablet, computer, etc. The blue light from the screens will keep your body awake.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise too close to bedtime.
  • Use your bed for sleep only. Don’t study or work in your room. It will help prime your mind to recognize your bedroom as a place of rest.
  • Cut caffeine by the afternoon.
  • Listen to meditation/relaxation podcasts or a white noise app.


Although you may have heard this a thousand times, it is so important to regularly take time for YOU. You may feel anxious about doing it, but just let it go. You need to decompress so you don’t go crazy.

Each day is going to arrive with its own challenges. That may seem horrifying, but it’s part of the game. You need to identify and work on your weak areas now so that you can be a rock star on the bar exam. That means you are going to spend about two months getting wrong answers and taking constructive criticism on your writing. This is a normal part of the process and it does help you improve (even though you may feel like throwing your computer against the wall).

What do you like to do in your free time? Check out this blog for ideas.


For everyone else, summer is a fun time of picnics, weddings and baby showers. You will be living outside of this world from late May through July.

“But wait, Stephanie, you’ve been spending all this time about how we need to focus on ‘me time’ and balance and Kumbaya!”

Downtime is just as important as the time you spend studying, but that doesn’t mean you can spend an equal amount of time devoted to each pursuit. Remember, you need to be studying 8-10 hours per day. That still gives you adequate time to socialize. However, you may want to keep in mind that you probably shouldn’t party the way you normally may. (You know what I mean. Back away from that second Corona.)

Many students have family events taking place during their bar studies and ask me whether they can attend. I can’t tell you whether to go or not, but there are some factors I think you should consider: How far away is this event? How much time would you need to take away from studying? How are you feeling about your bar studies? Are you on track with your assignments or do you feel behind?

You need to think about your needs as a student, and as a person. Consider your life after the bar exam and whether you will regret missing out on sharing in your friend or family’s special day.


A big factor in studying and sitting for the bar exam is your emotional state. Honor it. Get enough sleep. Focus on you during downtime. Know your boundaries and have the freedom to say no to others.

Given all the time you will spend hitting the books, it may not seem like you are focusing on yourself much at all. But let me put it this way – you get to take the bar exam. You earned this and have worked hard to get to this point in your life. Not many people qualify to sit for the bar, but you do. Trust in your drive, ambition and strength. You can do this!

If you want any podcast recommendations, or have questions or concerns, you can reach me at Stephanie.Chandler@barbri.com.

2L to 3L year: Time to plan you future

By Christie Weidemann, Esq.,
BARBRI Manager of Legal Education and Legal Education Advisor

So you are finally wrapping up your 2L year that, if you are like most students, was so busy you did not really have time to stop and think. Not to worry – that is what your 3L year is for.

You finally have this law school thing down and now it’s on to the rest of your life. In the midst of finishing up your classwork, 3L year is about figuring out where you want to live, where you want to work and, perhaps most importantly, where you can find a job.


You’re still handling school and extracurricular activities, and it is time to determine where you are going so you can register for the proper state’s bar exam by the deadline. Make sure you check your potential state(s) in the fall 3L semester to have plenty of time to complete the bar exam application. You don’t want to risk missing any deadlines.


Another couple of things to add to your to-do list: take the November MPRE if you have not already and sign up for the free MPRE review course. I always advise against waiting until the spring MPRE because if you happen to miss the required score, you really do not to wait until August to take it again. At that point, you’d have to suffer through another test after just completing a bar exam.


Also, do not hesitate on registering for your BARBRI bar review course and taking advantage of a locked-in tuition rate. Once you are enrolled, you have time to figure out the logistics of the bar review course location to attend, as well as all the online bar review study resources available.

Despite everything you have going on, try to enjoy your last year of law school. You will not ever have this time back. For most graduating students, work will continue for the rest of your life. Remain in touch with the good friends you have made and soak in all the knowledge you are gaining while you have it!

Don’t Stress. Take Control of Bar Exam Fees.

By Hadley Leonard,
BARBRI Legal Education Advisor

Studies show most law school students won’t begin thinking about the bar exam until their last year. That might mean that you, on the verge of said final year, are feeling the creep of anxiety from the looming expenses: the fees for sitting for the exam, the balance on their bar review account, the living expenses during bar studying. Then the panic begins to set in – where is all this money going to come from?

Create a budget

Budgeting is maybe the least glamorous work in the English language. But it’s also one of the most effective and proven ways to manage financial challenges. No one has ever had fun sitting down in front of Excel and allocating out their income or financial reserves to food, rent and savings. Those who do, however, sleep better at night, in control of where their money is going, rather than their money being in control of where they are going.

Find areas to cut back

After looking at your budget, try to find where you can eliminate spending. I know we all feel like we can’t possibly do this, but really you can. The easiest areas are eating out and entertainment expenses. A good strategy for cutting back: plan to eat out one meal per week. And skip the specialty coffee pit-stops a few days a week. It all adds up.


Determine how much you need to save, how much you need to spend each month in necessities and find an equilibrium. Put it on paper and stick to it. Make sure you start saving as soon as possible; it’s never too late. Whatever your income, save a little each week.

If you were to save only $25 a week, over the course of three years of law school, you would have accumulated almost $4,000. $25 a week is not noticeable; the balance you accumulate (plus interest) is.


This may have been the most un-fun post you’ve read all week (and probably sounds like a lot of things your grandpa used to tell you), but there’s a reason people keep shelling out this advice. It works. Taking control of your income and financial reserves puts you in the driver’s seat and frees you up to invest in what’s best for your future.

7 things I wish I’d know when I took the bar exam

By Chris Nikitas, Esq., BARBRI Director of Legal Education


I got turned around on exam morning. I didn’t know the city that well. Thankfully, I gave myself a large window to get there and made it on time. You’ll want to make a dry run. Drive to the city where you’ll take the bar exam. Start at the place you plan to spend the night before the exam at the approximate time you plan on leaving. See how long it takes. See where best to park, what traffic is like at that hour and how long it will take you to get to the exam room.


You can get away with bringing a lot of stuff into the exam room, provided it is in a plastic bag and off your desk. The person next to me had eye drops. The person in front of me had about 15 after dinner mints. But here are the essentials: black pen, ID, extension cord for your laptop (in case you’re far from an outlet), jacket, earplugs and analog watch.


It’s mostly bare aside from a timer, which may be situated pretty far from your spot in the room (hence the analog watch). Some rooms have water fountains or water coolers. Some have bathrooms inside the testing room. The room will be divided between the hand-writers and the laptop writers. It’s going to be cold (hence the jacket). Dress in layers. There’s also a good chance other conferences will be going on near the bar exam (hence the earplugs). When I took the exam, people outside our room started mowing the lawn.


Look up at the clock every 10-15 minutes. Process how much you have left in a section and get back to work. Be conscious of the time but not obsessed with it. There’s a timer in the corner of the room, counting down from three hours. An analog watch may be necessary, depending on your eyesight.


Emory University School of Law Associate Dean and long-time BARBRI lecturer Richard Freer once described to me what he called “the Snowball Effect.” Let’s say you have four essay questions, each with a suggested time of 45 minutes. You’re working on the first one. Not quite done at the 45-minute mark, you keep going an extra five minutes. On the second one, you go over again – closer to 10 minutes. Third one, another five minutes over. Now, you’re staring down at the last essay question with only 25 minutes remaining. Yikes.

Tell yourself that you’ll stop writing with five minutes to go to the suggested limit. Stop, look over your answer and make a few changes if you have to. At the suggested limit, move on.


You’re let out after the first half of the exam and have usually around an hour until the next part. The proctors will tell you when you need to return. You’re not allowed to bring any food to the exam, but hopefully there’s some decent dining in the area. Things to consider though: What if you get bad/slow service? What if it’s busy? What if the only menu options will leave you feeling sluggish? My advice is to throw a PB&J, some chips, a banana and a Capri Sun in a bag and leave it in your car or hotel room. Yeah, it might get hot, but none of those things are going to spoil and will provide a rapid power lunch that won’t make you sleepy.


During the bar exam, I hit a wall. There was an essay question I had no idea how to answer. It was at that moment that every ounce of stress I’d endured for the past two months crushed me like an ant holding an elephant. I am going to fail. Who was I kidding? Ah, jeez, I have to find a whole new career. Are the Ghostbusters hiring?

In all likelihood, that moment will happen to you too. Just take a deep breath and look around that huge room. Everyone else is in there with you and they’re just as scared. Shake it off and do the very best you can.

As you may recall from law school, mulling over the exam after turning it in helps no one. You won’t remember the questions you nailed, just the questions where you know you were wrong. It’s easy to do after the bar exam, but there’s no sense in beating yourself up. Focus on what you still have in front of you and how to tackle it.

The fact of the matter is, most people pass the exam, and you’ll (probably) be just fine.


Okay, that was a joke. Good luck!

Help! I’m only in the 30th percentile. Should I be worried?

By Mike Sims,
BARBRI President

Some of the most common inquiries I get this time of year are: “How many MBE questions should I be getting correct?” or “I only answered 54 percent of the torts questions correctly last night. Am I okay?” While these are both good questions, they are not the most important one to have.

The most important question in terms of your MBE prep is: “What is my percentile ranking?”


The distinction between percentage correct and percentile ranking is one of the most important, as well as most confusing, aspects of bar preparation.

Percentage correct is the ratio of correct-to-incorrect answers in a particular set of questions. Percentile rank is a measure of how you are doing in comparison to everyone else – the same thing as class rank in law school.


To better understand this, imagine completing a set of 100 MBE practice questions and correctly answering 58 of them. Is that a good or bad score? You have to calculate percentile rank to figure that out.

Imagine there were 99 other students who worked that same set of MBE questions for a total group of 100 exam takers. Seventy answered more than 58 out of the 100 questions correctly. You answered 58 correctly. And 29 students got less than 58 correct. Translation: 70 percent of the higher-scoring test takers did better than you and you performed better than the other 29 percent. In other words, you were in the 30th percentile – better than the bottom 29 percent but lower than the top 70 percent.


So is being in the 30th percentile good or bad? Pass rates do vary from state to state. According to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the average pass rate for first time bar takers from ABA accredited schools is 77 percent. This means the failure rate is 23 percent. Putting this in terms of percentile rankings, students who are in the bottom 23 percent – the 23rd percentile and below – do not pass the bar exam. Students in the top 77 percent – the 24th percentile and higher – pass the bar exam. With this national average measurement established, being in the 30th percentile is solidly in the passing zone.


As a BARBRI student, you have a significant edge when it comes to calculating your percentile ranking. Your score on the BARBRI simulated MBE compares your performance by MBE topic and subtopic to tens of thousands of bar takers nationwide – the group you’ll be competing against on the bar exam. And our StudySmart MBE software gives you regularly updated percentile rankings each day. As a BARBRI student you really will know where you sit on the bar exam’s curve before you take it.

Over the next few weeks, you’ll work many more MBE practice questions and you’ll have a lot of chances to improve your MBE score. Between now and then, keep your eye on the right number – the percentile ranking.

Taking two bar exams (simultaneously)

By Dale Larrimore,
BARBRI Regional Vice President

Can I take two bar exams this summer? We often hear this question at this time of year. The lawyerly answer is: “It depends.”

There are two factors that control whether you sit for two different bar exams in the same week. First, you have to determine on which day each state administers its essay exam. Second, you have to find out if one of the states will accept a transferred Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) score from a concurrent exam.


The MBE is always given on the last Wednesday in February and July. Most states administer essay exams on the Tuesday before the MBE. Three states administer essays on the Thursday after the MBE – Massachusetts, New Jersey and Wyoming. So if you want to take two bar exams at the same time, you have to combine a Tuesday/Wednesday exam with the exam in one of these three states.

For example, many students take the New York bar exam on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then travel to New Jersey for Thursday. Other popular combinations include Pennsylvania/New Jersey or Pennsylvania/Massachusetts.


There are many other combinations that you could consider like Alabama/Massachusetts, yet keep in mind that geography and fatigue can work against you.

Using this example – to sit for Alabama and Massachusetts – here’s what your schedule would look like on bar exam week:

Monday: Three hours of Alabama Civil Procedure exams

Tuesday: Six hours of MBE and Multistate Performance Test

Wednesday: Six hours of MBE, then travel to Massachusetts

Thursday: Six hours of Massachusetts Essay Exam

As you can imagine, it’s much easier to travel from New York to New Jersey than from Alabama to Massachusetts, especially after three days of the bar exam.


Once you figure out whether the dates will work for the two states you choose, you next have to determine whether one of the states will accept an MBE score from an exam administered in another state. This list includes:

  • Arizona
  • Connecticut
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Utah


In some states, like New Jersey, little knowledge of state law is required. In others, like Massachusetts, a significant amount of state law is required to be successful on the essay exam.

There are obviously many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to take two bar exams at once. The good news is that BARBRI has helped thousands of students pass two bar exams simultaneously. We have specifically tailored study programs that highlight key differences between the two states and make learning law in two states not significantly harder than learning one.