What You Need to Know About the UBE

Six new states have recently adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). Illinois (effective July 2019), Maryland (effective July 2019), North Carolina (effective February 2019), Rhode Island (effective February 2019) and Tennessee (effective February 2019). On the horizon is Ohio effective July 2020.

Why does the UBE matter?

The UBE is uniformly administered and graded, resulting in a portable score that may be transferred to other UBE jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction independently determines the rules for who may sit and be admitted, passing scores, portability restrictions and other jurisdiction-specific admissions requirements.

Questions? Check out our What to Expect On the Bar Exam video or get in touch with your BARBRI Director of Legal Education.

Upcoming UBE Dates: February 26-27, 2019 and July 30-31, 2019

Classes to consider if your state utilizes the UBE? Although not required, these courses can help you prepare: Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Business Associations, Secured Transactions, Family Law, Conflicts of Law and Remedies.

PRO TIP: Remedies is ALWAYS a must-take. It will be tested on the bar in basically every subject, so study up!

#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!

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!

MBE Success: X Marks the Spot?

Samuel Farkas,
BARBRI Director of Legal Learning and Lecturer

What’s the Magic Number of MBE Practice Questions You Should Answer to Pass the Bar Exam?

Perhaps you’ve heard that you need to work “X” number of practice MBE questions each week to pass the exam. Or, maybe you’ve heard there is some magic number of total questions that you have to answer throughout your preparation to earn a passing score on the MBE. This “drill and kill” formula emphasizes quantity over quality and speed over deliberation, which may not improve your MBE score.

Make no mistake, it’s critically important to work MBE practice questions. After all, it takes practice to improve. The key to success, however, is to use practice questions effectively.

MBE success is not about how many questions you answer each day or throughout your preparation; it’s about how much you learn from each question you answer.

The specific questions you answer and the order in which you answer them impacts your learning. Ideally you should be assigned questions in a deliberate and methodical manner that systematically unfolds rule nuances and increases question difficulties as you go. Easier questions testing core rules and concepts come first to help you build a strong contextual framework in the subject. More difficult questions testing the finer points—those dreaded exceptions to the exceptions— should be layered in once you have built this foundation. Consistent mixed-subject practice that continuously cycles you through previously reviewed subjects helps maximize your learning.

BARBRI’s MBE success learning path, which is built into your Personal Study Plan (PSP), accelerates your learning by incrementally building your substantive knowledge and your MBE skills. We’ve curated each question set and have strategically assigned the Learning Sets and Mixed Question Sets to ensure that you have a strong understanding of the most frequently tested rules before you encounter the more difficult questions. As soon as you complete your third MBE subject, your PSP will assign short mixed-subject question sets. In the weeks ahead, your PSP deliberately spaces question sets to leverage the benefits of spaced repetition and interleaves practice between subjects— two strategies that are scientifically shown to boost learning and retention.

All said, your PSP will provide more than 2,000 MBE practice questions throughout the BARBRI course. If needed, you will have the opportunity to work even more to hone your test-taking skills before the exam.

Practice questions are excellent learning tools to help you identify knowledge gaps, strengthen your knowledge of the rules and sharpen your MBE test-taking skills.

Working questions is important, but engaging in a careful and thorough review of the explanatory answer for each question that you work is vital to your success. For each question you work, you should determine whether you got the question right or wrong, whether your analysis of the question was on-point, and whether you identified and understood the narrow rule being tested in the question. In addition, identify why the wrong answer choices are incorrect and review the other rules discussed in the explanation. There is so much to unpack in a well-written multiple-choice explanatory answer. Don’t rob yourself of a great learning opportunity by glossing over them.

Socrates said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” We say, “the unexamined multiple-choice question is not worth working.” In MBE Immersion, you learned BARBRI’s Systematic Problem-Solving approach to maximize your MBE study, including how to effectively use explanatory answers to drive learning and improvement. Rest assured—once you ingrain these skills as habits, you will no longer agonize and worry over the magic number of MBE questions you need to work.  Following the BARBRI path will give you the knowledge and confidence you need to pass the exam.  Simply put, you’ll come to know there is no magic “X” to mark your spot for MBE success.

#BarPrepLife: Keeping Focus During Bar Prep

Find a space in your home, or in your law school, and confine your bar prep studying to that space.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m easily distracted during bar prep.

I have a hard time sitting through a 3-4 hour lecture without fidgeting, picking up my phone, or scrolling through Twitter or Facebook. But I know I need to be focused on my bar prep, 100%, for the entire lecture. I want to make sure I’m getting the most out of each class and learning everything I need to. With that goal in mind, I’ve been thinking about ways I can eliminate distractions as I study and keep my focus. Here are a few things I’ve found helpful so far!

Put your phone away

And when I say “away” I don’t mean on the other side of your desk or flipped upside down next to you. Keep it in the other room or buried in your bag. Making it inconvenient to get to will make you less likely to reach over and grab it if you’re getting restless. It’s also a good idea to keep it on silent, since you’ll be tempted to check it if you hear a text or email come in.

Go to a live lecture if possible

I get it, it’s annoying to get up and get going in the morning. It’s tempting to stay in your pajamas, snuggle with a blanket, and watch the lectures from home, but I encourage you to force yourself to go to a live lecture. It will help you get motivated and being around other people in the same boat as you will likely make you feel less stressed. 

Set up a study space

It may seem like a good idea to do your review and additional studying fro your bed or curled up on the couch, but it can be harder to stay focused (and not doze off) when you’re not in a “study” environment. Find a space in your home, or in your law school, and confine your bar prep studying to that space. Not only will you be more focused when you go to that space, but you can step away from that space at the end of the day and leave the bar prep stress behind you.

Take paper notes

Most lectures will have a handout you can fill in as you listen, but if your lecture doesn’t, take paper notes instead of computer notes. Taking notes on your computer may seem easier, but your computer comes with a lot of distractions (ie. Facebook, Twitter, online shopping). While paper and pen may be less convenient, it has fewer distractions, and some say it even helps you learn better!

How are you staying focused during bar prep? Let me know on Twitter @barpreplife.