Passing With BARBRI (Twice!) | Tax Attorney Success Story

by Alexandra Zaunbrecher
Senior Associate | Mergers and Acquisitions Tax Group | KMPG US

Passing the bar exam twice as nice for taxation attorney Alexandra ZaunbrecherI chose to sit the Louisiana State Bar Exam right out of law school. Being a Louisiana native and having attended Louisiana State University for my undergraduate and law degree, I thought I would most likely practice within my home state. I also focused the majority of my studies in Louisiana law during my time at LSU. I felt like I had a head start on the Louisiana bar material.

Despite my coursework during law school, the BARBRI Bar Review course best prepared me to take the bar. Before the course, I was most worried about being able to get my hands on the right information. And then sift through it in a way that I could learn what was important for the bar.

Passing with BARBRI, which did all the legwork

My Personal Study Plan, or PSP, was intuitive. It picked up on what I already knew, as well as where I needed to focus more of my time. I simply had to concentrate on managing my time to follow the study plan laid out for me.

After passing with BARBRI on the Louisiana Bar Exam, I was ready to conquer the world. Or at least New York City. I spent a year in the northeast while I pursued my LL.M. degree in taxation from New York University School of Law, specializing in tax law. I was interested in the transactional side of business law and I wanted to position myself as far away from the inside of a courtroom as possible.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I was offered an associate position with KPMG in their Mergers and Acquisitions Tax Group in Dallas, Texas. Working in an accounting firm is more of a consulting role, so I’m not required to be barred in Texas. I advise and consult with a variety of companies and law firms around the world on different transactions and their tax consequences. However, I wanted to be able to take full advantage of my law degree in the state in which I lived and still have options within my career. So I decided to sit the Texas Bar Exam.

I turned to BARBRI without question for my bar exam prep

I didn’t need to make use of any other resources beyond the BARBRI PSP. The PSP fully covered each bar topic with enough breadth for me to feel comfortable not seeking out other materials. And with enough depth that I felt like I fully understood each topic. I loved being able to follow a study plan that I knew was “tried and true.” All that was required of me was to soak up the material that was put in front of me.

3-for-3 Passing The Bar | Military Spouse Attorney Success Story

by C. Thea Pitzen
Attorney & Principal | Goodman Allen Donnelly

Life as a military spouse attorney isn’t always a straight line. I can personally attest to that, especially after taking three state bar exams and passing all three, the first time, using BARBRI Bar Review.

Attorney C. Thea Pitzen goes 3-for-3 on bar exams with BARBRI bar exam prep From Georgia … to Florida … to Virginia

My journey began at Emory Law in Atlanta, where I graduated in spring 2009. I signed up for BARBRI during my 3L year to prepare for the summer Georgia Bar Exam (having Emory Professor Rich Freer on the BARBRI faculty was a big draw for me).

I successfully passed and was sworn in to the Georgia Bar. Then a couple of months later, found myself engaged (happily, of course!). My future husband was active-duty Navy and stationed in Florida, while I was still living and working in Atlanta. Bonus points for me, I would have to retake the whole bar exam again. Unfortunately, there was no reciprocity moving from Georgia to Florida.

Now during my bar exam prep for the Georgia exam, I had studied much of the time at Emory Law, going to physical classroom locations to view BARBRI lectures. Less than a year later, I chose to use the online-only BARBRI Bar Review for Florida. I needed to be able to watch lectures on my computer because I was still clerking for a federal judge full-time in Georgia. By and large, when I got off work, I’d view a lecture in the evening to stay on pace. About six weeks before taking the summer 2010 Florida Bar Exam, I got married and then went on to pass my second state bar. Two-for-two so far.

A few years later, we found out that the Navy would be reassigning us to Virginia. And you guessed it. I had to take the entire bar exam once more. With work and a small child as new addition to the family, I went online-only again with BARBRI bar exam prep for Virginia and passed the February 2016 exam.

BARBRI hasn’t failed me yet in passing the bar

As an active member of the Military Spouse JD Network, I know first-hand just how many of us take the bar exam multiple times, traveling with a service member spouse from duty station to duty station. In our online forums, quite frequently there is discussion about bar exam licensing issues and which bar exam prep course to use. We’re fully aware of the choices. For some (whether military spouses or not), cost is a factor and they’ll go with the cheapest program. For me, the simplest answer is that BARBRI hasn’t failed me yet.

100% online bar exam prep was a huge convenience

There is a degree of comfort and familiarity in the BARBRI process. One of the benefits of doing BARBRI bar exam prep on-site is the solidarity aspect of it. There were so many of my classmates from Emory Law in the room, as well as others from the Atlanta area. Everyone was going through the same stress, working toward achieving the same goal. This helped immensely that first go-round with the Georgia Bar Exam. Being able to then switch to the online BARBRI Bar Review format for the Florida and Virginia Bar Exams was a huge convenience, particularly with having a job, a family and greater demands on my time overall. The lectures still felt engaging with the same top caliber of instructors delivering the content.

I always found that if you could study with discipline on the BARBRI materials, and reach a percentile ranking high enough on the BARBRI Simulated MBE subjects, you will pass the bar exam. The BARBRI course is rigorous. The way the MBE questions are set up and the depth of essay feedback you receive, which can be brutal at times, will position you to succeed.

BARBRI practice questions are shockingly accurate

BARBRI is spot-on in its MBE practice questions and practice essays. It’s shockingly accurate. This speaks to BARBRI’s experience and longevity. On the MBE – and I can speak to three administrations  in three different states – BARBRI has clearly figured out what the bar exam questions look like and the patterns you’ll encounter. It’s a successful formula they’ve hit on.

You spend a lot of money taking the bar exam – all the admission requirements, the travel, and other fees add up. It’s wise to spend your hard-earned money on a course that gives you the utmost confidence in passing the bar. BARBRI has done it three times for me. I don’t know why I would not continue to use them.

5 Frequently Asked Questions About BARBRI Bar Review

By Mike Sims,
BARBRI President

Year after year, tens of thousands of graduating students choose BARBRI. As they are making that choice, there are a few questions that arise more frequently than others. Knowing that your time is valuable, I want to take this opportunity to answer the most frequently asked questions.

If you’d like to learn more or have other questions, please reach out to your BARBRI Director of Legal Education, or to me directly at mike.sims@barbri.com.

Q1: Can I do my BARBRI lectures all online? If I choose to go to a classroom location, can I still access lectures online?

A: Only BARBRI offers online, mobile and in-class study options for no additional charge. You can do 100% of your BARBRI course online or can you choose to go to a classroom location for all or a portion of your lectures. If you select a classroom location, you still have access to all lectures online. BARBRI lets you mix and match what works best for you throughout the course – go to class for your most challenging subjects, revisit specific topics and subtopics online afterward or speed through your best subjects online at 1.5x speed. You can also stream or download video or audio lectures in the BARBRI Mobile App to watch or listen on the go.

Either way – all online or attending a classroom location– you’ll get the same great lectures from the same renowned U.S. law professors. It’s your time, your preference and your choice as to what works best for you to reinforce and recall the material you need to know to Own the Bar.

Q2: Aren’t BARBRI lectures long and boring?

A:  While I’ll admit that it’s hard to make Fee Simple Subject to Condition Subsequent exciting, I can tell you that year after year students rave about BARBRI professors. Our faculty are all gifted teachers who have the fantastic ability to make the law memorable and understandable.

BARBRI professors understand that you can’t learn everything all at once. That’s why both our classroom and online MBE lectures are divided into short segments, all of which include a professor-led review activity at the end of each topic. No long, boring, 3-4 hour lectures here.

After each subject, you’ll work a quick set of Knowledge Check questions that will increase retention and help ISAAC customize your Personal Study Plan.

Q3: How many graded essays are included with BARBRI Bar Review? Can I have unlimited essays graded at no additional charge?

A: The short answer is we will grade as many essays as you want to submit. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

Before we talk about the right number of essays to be graded, let’s first talk about the strategy of essay writing for the bar exam. During bar study, your goal is to learn to write the best bar exam essays possible, as quickly as possible. And writing essays for the bar exam is very different than writing essays for law school.

As we’ve worked with students, we’ve seen that submitting practice essay after essay with no initial guidance and delayed feedback reinforces bad habits and wastes time. For this reason, a purely “unlimited” essay grading system can actually stunt your progress. We don’t want that for our students so BARBRI has a better answer with proven results: Directed Essay Grading.

It starts 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. You’ll also receive many more essays for practice and self-grading. If after taking advantage of those assignments you want additional essays graded, we’re happy to grade more. You can simply work with a BARBRI Director of Legal Education to get personal, 1:1 help, all free of charge.

Q4: How many MBE practice questions do you provide? Are they REAL released MBE Questions?

A: The short, direct answer to this question is that you’ll have access to over 2,500 MBE questions throughout your BARBRI Bar Review course. That being said, we don’t believe that this is quite the right question– or at least not the entire question – to be asking.

As with many things, it’s not just the quantity, it’s the quality and the methodology that matters. This is such an important topic, that we have another entire blog dedicated to this topic that you can read here if you’d like to geek out.

When it comes to real released MBE questions, BARBRI has released questions – but we only assign select questions that have been vetted to ensure they represent areas most likely to be tested. As a general rule, we don’t recommend focusing too much on released MBE questions.

Questions that have been released by the examiners will not appear in any future MBE because the scoring data for those questions would not be reliable. And, because only about 80 questions per subject have been released in the past 10 years, released questions don’t provide a good representation of the topics that are most likely to actually appear on the exam. Focusing primarily on real released MBE questions is another way some bar preppers misuse precious, limited study time.

The vast majority of BARBRI’s questions have been developed by BARBRI subject matter experts to test on the most important, most frequently tested topic areas – the same way the bar examiners do. These questions have been drafted after careful review of actual MBE questions and have been approved by professors who are experts in those subjects.

Q5: Do bar exam results really fall on a curve? Why should I care?

A: Even after years of published MBE results and graphs, there are still people who insist that bar exam results do not fall into a bell curve. For those who do believe what they see, there are also still many who feel that this fact is not meaningful. If anyone ever tries to convince you of either one of these things, there is only one thing to say: They’re wrong.

If you look at the 2017 MBE National Scaled Score Distribution from the National Conference of Bar Examiners, you will see that MBE results do in fact fall in a bell curve pattern. And they fall into this pattern every single administration. Since BARBRI prepares the vast majority of law school graduates every year, the BARBRI Simulated MBE with Pass Predictor is the best way to know where you are on the curve before you sit for the exam.

We have a lot more to say on this topic and why it matters. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the blog: THE BAR EXAM CURVE: IT’S REAL.

Bar Exam: DONE, FIN, COMPLETE!

barbri

GUEST BLOG by Sara Valentine, Graduate of Capital University Law School

Don’t forget about BARBRI!

I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t think that I’ve ever slept as well as I have slept since the bar exam has been done. I am SO excited to be done with the bar! Some words of advice: don’t obsess over what you could have or should have done on the exam. The bottom line is that you did your best. That’s all that you can ask for. Regretting things that you could have done differently isn’t going to help you. We have a while to wait, so the best thing that you can do is put the experience out of your head. You’re free (for the time being). Make sure that you’re recovering by sleeping enough, drinking water, and taking some time for yourself to recuperate.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to take some time off to decompress from the bar exam. You just spent almost three months studying as you’ve never studied before. Not only are you suffering from extreme mental fatigue, but the physical aspect of sitting down and staring at a computer screen for months on end isn’t necessarily healthy.

Make some time for yourself! Get back into eating a bit healthier, get enough sleep, maybe start some yoga or go back to the gym. One of the most important things that you can do for your long-term success is to ensure that you’re not going to burnout during your first six months to one year of practice. You don’t want to end up in a position where you’re not going to be able to give your all because you’re still exhausted from the bar exam.

I get it! I’ve spent the past week sleeping as much as possible. I’m looking forward to binge-watching Stranger Things, reading books that are not law-related, and getting back into yoga. The last thing that you want to do is risk not taking enough time for yourself now and realize in October that you’re starting to burnout and that you need to take some time off.

Remember, putting your health, both mental and physical, will be incredibly important to start off your career on the right foot. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you can’t perform because of the bar exam, especially when you can take time off now to relax.

So, what’s next? Did you know that BARBRI is here for you even after you’ve become a licensed attorney?

You’re going to be getting BARBRI’s post-bar email about QLTS and BARBRI’s Attorney’s Course. If you’re interested in practicing abroad, BARBRI has a prep option for the QLTS exam. If you’re interested, you can find out more about the exam and what BARBRI offers by clicking here.

Let’s say that you want to stay stateside, but you want or need to take a bar exam in another state. BARBRI is still here for you! The BARBRI Attorney’s Course is a streamlined, online course designed to save you time. The BARBRI Attorney’s Course bypasses some basic bar exam test-taking skills that are critical for first time takers, it gets your quickly to the most highly tested areas of the exam overall and within each subject, and it pinpoints your topic and subtopic weaknesses so you can spend time working the areas of law that will most benefit your exam score. You can find out more about the BARBRI Attorney’s Course by clicking here.

I know that the idea of taking another bar exam is what nightmares are made of. However, getting licensed in other states or abroad is only going to benefit you in the long run. You’re going to set yourself apart by being able to hit the ground running in states where firms only have a few attorneys practicing or no attorneys at all. Although doing this all over again isn’t necessarily appealing, especially so soon after the July bar exam, you will be able to set yourself up for long-term success if you are able to get licensed in more states.

The bottom line is that BARBRI has been here for you and it will be here again for you in the future when you need it. Keep BARBRI in mind!

It’s Bar Exam Time – Let’s Do This

bar exam

GUEST BLOG by Sara Valentine, Graduate of Capital University Law School

Bar Exam is Next Week…

This post is all about your ability to crush the bar exam. Regardless of whether you haven’t been doing your best leading up to this point, you’ve been learning and putting in the time. You know that you have this and you’re going to do it.

Be Confident!

Obviously putting in the work is a large part of passing the bar exam, but it’s also a mental game. You have to be confident walking into the bar exam. If you engage in negative self-talk, now is the time to stop. Telling yourself that you’re going to fail or that you don’t know enough only causes you to have more anxiety going into the room. You have to be confident that you’re going to pass this thing. You’ve put in the work. You’ve sacrificed your summer to be an attorney. You’re going to do this. You’re going to pass.

Stay Calm

We’ve all heard the stories of a bar examinee freaking out and not being able to write something coherent on their essays. Odds are that if you don’t know what the essay is asking about, a lot of other examinees don’t know what it’s asking about either. If this happens, take a second to regroup. Think about the policy behind the law and come up with your best answer. Remember: your goal isn’t to ace this test! Your goal is to pass. You’ve put in the time. You’ve put in the effort. You can do this!

You Don’t Have to Get a 7 on Every Essay. You Don’t Have to Get 200 Points on the MBE.

Okay, so what if you’ve been reviewing essays and missing things that you know, but you missed for other reasons? What if you haven’t been scoring your greatest on the MBE? It is okay. Again, your goal is not to be perfect! I know that the goal in law school was to be as prepared as you could be; you needed to study all of your lecture notes, your outlines, your textbooks, and your hornbooks. The bar exam is not a law school exam.

It is impossible to know everything. There are going to be some subjects that you know inside and out, and there are some that you’re just familiar with. That’s okay. You cannot know everything walking into the bar exam. What you can do is continue to put in the work and review. Have a good understanding of the topics that you need to know and stay confident.

Make Sure That You Take a Break on Monday.

Yes, the day before the bar exam begins is going to be incredibly stressful. You’re going to be tempted to spend the day attempting to review everything that you can. You’re going to want to put in a full day of studying so that you can walk into the exam with as much information as you can handle. It’s important to review before Monday, but it is just as important to take a break. The bar exam is intense. It’s going to be stressful. You’re going to be tired. The last thing that you want to do before heading into the bar exam is to be suffering from burnout. You’re going to need to give yourself a break so that you have enough stamina to last you through the bar exam. Wearing yourself out before the exam is probably one of the worst things that you can do.

If You Have a Bad Day…

The bar exam lasts more than one day for a reason. Regardless of which state you’re taking the bar exam in, you can have a bad day and still pass. First, you don’t know what your score is when you walk out of the room. You could have done better than you suspected that you did. Second, you have another day (or more than one day) left to recover. The bar exam doesn’t come down to how you did on one day and on one performance. You have multiple days and multiple chances to do well. If you think that you did poorly, do not give up. Do not engage in negative self-talk. Stay positive! You didn’t fail the exam after one day. You can do better the next day and you could have done better than you thought.

YOU CAN DO THIS!

Stay positive, stay calm, and walk in the bar exam with confidence. If you do, you’re going to #OwnTheBar.

BARBRI SCHOLARSHIPS & BAR REVIEW OPTIONS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT

1. PUBLIC INTEREST SCHOLARSHIPS

Year after year, BARBRI supports thousands of students who seek to change the world. Last year alone, BARBRI awarded over $4.5M in scholarships to public interest students and other world-changers.

To apply for a BARBRI Public Interest scholarship while they are available, submit your application briefly describing your public interest work, and attach a resume evidencing such work, a formal offer of public interest sector employment, or evidence of participation in a school-sponsored public interest scholarship/fellowship program. If selected, you will receive an email from BARBRI outlining your scholarship award and your final BARBRI Bar Review tuition rate after the scholarship is applied.

View the Public Interest scholarship application, deadlines, and requirements here.

2. SAVE A TON OF MONEY ON A 2ND BAR EXAM COURSE

If you’re pretty sure that you’ll be taking another state bar exam in the near future, the BARBRI Ultimate Decision Tuition decision can save you a lot of money. The BARBRI Ultimate Decision Tuition offers the choice of a bonus option – one of which is to take a second bar exam course within 2 years of your original course.

So, if for example, you’re getting ready to prepare for the New York Bar Exam and you know that you want to also get licensed in California within a couple of years, then go ahead and sign up for BARBRI Ultimate Decision Tuition. You can select any two state exams as part of this option. Check out BARBRI Ultimate Decision Tuition here.

You’ll have 2 years to complete your second course. And, even though it might sound grueling, we’ve found that it’s easier to get a second bar exam out of the way when the material is still relatively fresh in your mind. Many times the application process for your second state will also be easier as well since you have everything in one place from your first state submission.

3. BILL YOUR EMPLOYER AND PAY NOTHING UP FRONT

When you select a BARBRI Bar Review Firm Decision tuition and provide the firm or employer you are billing, you are not required to make an initial payment or deposit toward tuition. And you can begin using materials such as 2L / 3L Mastery immediately and BARBRI Early Start Bar Review when it becomes available for your course administration.

BARBRI 2L / 3L Mastery contains outlines, on demand expert video lectures and multiple-choice and essay practice questions covering Evidence, Wills, Trusts, Taxation, Secured Transactions, Corporations, Family Law, Constitutional Law and Criminal Procedure.

BARBRI Early Start Bar Review is on-demand, self-directed and focuses on the 25 most frequently tested bar exam subtopics. Students who spend a total of 24 study hours with Early Start prior to the start of the BARBRI Bar Review course are statistically much more likely to pass the bar exam, the first time. Early Start access is included in BARBRI Bar Review and is typically open several months before the actual course begins.

Check out BARBRI Bar Review Firm Decision tuition options by selecting “I would like to bill my employer” tab here.

4. PAYMENT PLANS OR FINANCING YOUR BARBRI TUITION

If you are paying for your course (not billing an employer), you can either:

  • Finance your tuition with Affirm for longer-term monthly payments OR
  • Create an interest free, custom short-term installment payment plan

Many BARBRI Bar Review tuition types allow you to “Finance with Affirm” during or after enrollment.  The rate (0-30% APR) and term options (3, 6 or 12 months) you are offered is based on the tuition type you are choosing and on a credit check. You can check your eligibility during enrollment and it will not affect your credit score – provide some basic information and get a real time decision to split your purchase into 3, 6, or 12 monthly payments at 0-30% APR.

If you Finance with Affirm during enrollment, you can include any initially required BARBRI down payments in your loan. Or, you can make the minimum required payment toward your BARBRI tuition at the time of enrollment and decide to finance the remainder with Affirm at a later date. Either way, after you choose this option, you will begin making payments immediately to Affirm, but the entire balance of your tuition does not need to be paid prior to your course starting or ending. When you finance, a down payment may be required and Affirm loans are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey state-chartered bank, Member FDIC. Learn More about Financing with Affirm.

Another option is to create a custom installment payment plan when you pay with a debit or credit card. Pay your initial required BARBRI down payments (depending on the course you’re selecting) and then split up the remainder of your tuition payments over time.

A custom installment payment plan is not a loan – no credit check is required and there is no interest applied to the custom installment payment plan. Your total tuition must be paid in full per the payment deadlines prior to the beginning of your BARBRI Bar Review course.

All of us at BARBRI are looking forward to helping you Own The Bar

If you’d like to take advantage of one of these options or have additional questions, please reach out to us at 888-322-7274 or service@barbri.com. You can also find your BARBRI Director of Legal Education here.

The U.S. LL.M.: 6 Tips for Choosing Your Classes Wisely

By Juliana Del Pesco, BARBRI International Legal Manager, Americas

LL.M. programs at some U.S. law schools allow students to create their own curricula. This is a great benefit, but it can also make selecting classes overwhelming. There are many interesting classes, professors, and visiting faculty from which to choose, and it can be difficult to decide on teachers and whether to focus in U.S. Law or subjects that will be more useful when working back home. Additionally, there are bar exam requirements to be considered when selecting courses.

Choosing your curriculum wisely is critical to securing the necessary requirements to take the bar exam and still maintain a balance between your studies and your personal life. After all, you want to have time to get fully immersed in the American culture while earning your LL.M., right?

Along with the many tips available in the free BARBRI LL.M. Guide that can be downloaded from this page, here are some extra hints for making the most of your LL.M. education while maximizing your international experience.

#1 – Credits and timing matter

Registration for classes usually opens 2 to 3 weeks before the beginning of each semester. To get a spot in the most-sought-after classes, it’s best to start the registration process as soon as possible.

Generally, you will need 24 credits to graduate and be eligible for most U.S. state bar exams. It may be tempting to try to squeeze as many classes as possible into one semester; however, law school classes demand thorough preparation and a lot of reading―which takes time. Twelve credits per semester may be a better target to give you the time to properly prepare for class and still engage in extracurricular activities.

#2 – Check course evaluations to delve deep into classes

U.S. law schools offer an array of classes. When selecting classes, be aware of the frequency of the classes, the class types, how the professor grades (participation, exam, paper, assignments, and presentations), and always check the course evaluations if available. The course evaluations provide invaluable insight.

The different class types can be characterized as:

  • 1L Subjects: These classes are mandatory for first-year U.S. law students (a.k.a. 1L) and cover the foundations of U.S. law―Civil Procedure, Contracts, Torts, Property, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, and Legal Writing and Research―all of which are tested on the bar exam. The Socratic Method and the infamous “cold calls” are heavily applied, and professors usually assign a large amount of reading. Typically, the more credits a class offers the more frequently it will meet.
  • Upper-Level Lectures: These are usually smaller classes during which a more specific area of law is taught (for example, Corporations, Professional Responsibility, Federal Income Tax, and Employment Law). Cold calls still exist but are done in a more relaxed setting with some advanced notice. Credits can vary.
  • Clinics: During clinics, you will represent real clients under the close supervision of faculty and lawyers. This type of hand-on experience can include not only aspects of standard courses such as classroom time and preparation but also clinic work and meetings with clients. Usually 5 to 7 credits, so plan accordingly!
  • Seminars: These present an opportunity for greater interaction and students are required to participate in a more collaborative way. Seminars are often offered for a smaller group of students and specific subjects. Be prepared to deal with assignments throughout the semester as well as a final paper.

#3 – Seize opportunities to learn from experts

Stay abreast of unique opportunities to have classes with renowned professors and visiting professors from other countries and prestigious universities. These professors are usually experts in their fields and have written books about a given subject. Do not miss the opportunity to engage with them.

#4 – Choose based on bar exam requirements

It is paramount that you know the requirements for the bar exam, if you are planning to take it, and include in your curriculum classes required by the state in which you will sit the bar. This will help avoid any future issues with eligibility. Find more about the bar exam requirements for New York, California, and Texas in the free BARBRI LL.M. Digest.

#5 – Consider the season

Make sure you know the semester in which a class you want will be offered, and when that famous professor from another school will be teaching. Some classes are only offered in fall or spring.

#6 – Don’t shy away from classes with J.D. students

One of the best parts of an LL.M. degree is the complete immersion in the culture; therefore, it is a great opportunity to have a real law school experience that includes discussions with Juris Doctorate (J.D.) students. Plan to take as many classes with the J.D.s as you feel is right for you. It’s time to own your educational experience. Best of luck!!

About BARBRI

BARBRI has helped more than 1.3 million lawyers around the world pass a U.S. bar exam. The company also provides online J.D., post-J.D., and international programs for U.S. law schools and specialized ongoing training and certifications in areas such as financial crime prevention and eDiscovery.

To determine which BARBRI course may be best to help you pass a U.S. state bar exam, check out the blog: BARBRI EXTENDED BAR PREP AND 8-WEEK BARBRI BAR REVIEW: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

BARBRI Mini Review

GUEST BLOG by Sara Valentine, Graduate of Capital University Law School

Okay, let’s talk about the BARBRI Mini Review. First, you may not know much about the BARBRI Mini Review, but I promise that it’s worth learning about. It has increased my confidence and my understanding of the topics that I need to have a firm grasp on when I walk into the bar exam less than two weeks from now (I know, we’re close, we’ve got this).

What is the BARBRI Mini Review?

The BARBRI Mini Review is like your last line of defense from BARBRI. This is the cup of coffee in the morning to get your day started, it’ the hype music before the game starts, it’s that one final push to give you what you need to succeed on the bar exam. The BARBRI Mini Review is a mini-review course of your Multistate topics: Torts, Civil Procedure, Real Property, Contracts, Criminal Law/Procedure, Evidence, and Constitutional Law.

What does that mean? Isn’t that what the Conviser Mini Review is for? The Conviser Mini Review is excellent for times when you’re in the weeds and learning nuances. The BARBRI Mini Review includes short video lectures for each of the Multistate topics. The best part? Each lecture has an accompanying handout to follow along with.

Essentially, it’s an online-only lecture that covers the significant aspects of the topics most frequently tested on the Multistate portion of the bar exam. You can either watch the totality of the eight-hour course in one day or split it up like I’ve been doing. Each topic has its own lecture and handout to follow along with. You can also print off the handouts to have for quick review sessions like I’ve been doing.

Why do you need the BARBRI Mini Review? We’ve been studying so much.

I KNOW! I know how much time we have been putting in. I know that we have been working like crazy to learn as much as we can. Think of this as the last highlight of the Multistate topics that you’re going to need. We’ve been in the weeds learning so many different things. But let’s say that you’re still not 100% on a certain topic or not feeling incredibly confident on various portions of the exam (seriously, who is at 100%?)—the BARBRI Mini Review is going to give you an overview of exactly what you need to know for these topics.

Even if you are feeling great and feeling as if you’re going to rock the bar exam (go you!), this is going to be the reassurance that you needed. You know these topics. You know what they’re going to test on. Now, with the BARBRI Mini Review, you’ll have a last-minute refresher of the topics that are going to be covered with their corresponding rule statements. Seeing the rule statements and seeing how they’re used in examples provided by the BARBRI Mini Review has been instrumental in my studies. The BARBRI Mini Review is short, sweet, and to the point. The best part is that the lectures and slides are incredibly easy to understand and straightforward. If you watch these lectures and follow along with the handouts then you’re going to be confident walking into the bar exam. I know that I will be.

Should you get it?

Yes? Absolutely. One of the best things that I have done in July was using the BARBRI Mini Review. Yes, I’ve been using my Conviser Mini Review and writing essays and following my Personalized Study Plan, but this is different. These are short and sweetvideo lectures with handouts to give you that one final push over the finish line. I know that our Personalized Study Plans are going to be guiding us up until the bar exam, but this extra little bit of help, this one last broad overview of what you need to know, is going to give you just a bit more confidence walking into the bar exam. Who doesn’t need that?

One of the best parts about the BARBRI Mini Review is that if you do not end up using the BARBRI Mini Review after you’ve purchased it, you can send a letter of withdrawal by August 15 to BARBRI and your full payment will be refunded. How sweet is that? Follow your Personalized Study Plan, use the BARBRI Mini Review, and you will #PassTheBar

Headed into Bar Review Crunchtime, the BARBRI Simulated MBE is Crucial

BARBRI Simulated MBE

GUEST BLOG by Sara Valentine, Graduate of Capital University Law School

Okay, let me just be the first to thank BARBRI for the Simulated MBE. I know, that seems like an odd thing to say, but nothing could have better prepared me for the bar exam than to sit down for six hours and do 200 multiple-choice MBE questions.

Yes, it was awful. Yes, I was tired. However, now I know what to expect on the bar exam. We’re getting into the home stretch here, and I feel confident in my ability to perform well. Why? Because I’ve been practicing (and you have, too!).

SO HOW DID YOU DO?

I’ll be honest, there were some questions on the BARBRI Simulated MBE that I definitely should not have missed. I knew the answer to them and I could recite the correct answer now for you with the correct rule statement.

Why did I miss the question? Because of reading comprehension. I know that you’ve heard “reading comprehension is key” or something to that effect since Kindergarten and it seems redundant, but seriously, the majority of the questions that I missed were because I was rushing. I got in the heat of the moment, had a knee-jerk reaction and picked what I thought was right. Sometimes I even did that without looking at the other answer choices. DO NOT DO THAT.

BARBRI Simulated MBE

Regardless of how you did, even if you did really well (yay, go you!), your scores are going to go up if you put in the time to get them where you need them to be.

The best part about the BARBRI Simulated MBE is that you get a chance to not only see how you did and where you could improve, but you also see how you react under pressure for six hours. Tbh, I have test anxiety so I knew that it would come up. However, I didn’t expect myself to get so tired through the exam. Answering 200 questions is easier said than done.

It is difficult to sit and look at questions with intense focus for hours on end.

It is difficult to keep focused and ensure that you’re doing what you need to do to answer the questions on the page.

If you need some help staying focused, I’d like to offer some advice. To ensure that I’m reading and understanding all of the important parts of the question is to underline and circle the things that are important. I underline the topic of the call-of-the-question so I know exactly what to look for when I’m reading the question. Also, if you read the call-of-the-question and you don’t know what subject it’s referring to, skim the answer choices. It’s a waste of your valuable time to read the question without knowing to which subject it’s referring.

The bottom line is now you know what it’s going to be like to sit in a room while focusing intently in three-hour blocks. We can do this.

DID YOU WATCH THE REVIEW VIDEOS?

Let me just say this: you aren’t going to get better if you don’t know what you did wrong.

Let me repeat it: you aren’t going to get better if you don’t know what you did wrong. These videos are GOLD. Not only do you get the chance to review all of the material, but you also get some GREAT tips and tricks for approaching questions. You also get some incredibly helpful mnemonics to remember crazy rules and exceptions. You know that you need to watch the videos. If you haven’t yet, you need to.

DID YOU WATCH MIKE SIMS’S WEBINAR?

Y’all need to watch Mike Sims’s webinar. Here’s the link to the on-demand replay. I don’t care if you are one of the super impressive people who got 100% on the MBE (like, how…?). Even if you did, the webinar put me at ease and gave me some peace of mind going into my last couple weeks of bar prep. It’s worth your time. Maybe you didn’t do the best on the BARBRI Simulated MBE.

Maybe you’re a little lower than you would like and you’re slightly freaking out, etc. Okay, look, we have over two weeks until the bar exam. Your scores are going to go up if you put in the time to review what you did wrong. The webinar definitely helps with that.

Y’all, we are almost there. Now we’re in crunch time and need to do what we need to do. We got this! Put in the work and you’ll #OwnTheBar.

Buckle Down: It’s Time to Get Serious BARBRI Friends

GUEST BLOG by Sara Valentine, Graduate of Capital University Law School

Lol, like we haven’t already been serious about this, right? Welcome to July. Let’s do this. Go Team BARBRI!

I’m going to go more in-depth on the MBE after we’ve done the analysis, but now you know what it feels like to sit for 6 hours and do 200 questions. The bar exam is no joke. We know that, but now it somehow feels a little more real now that we’re in July and have done the MBE. So, what now?

What Worked for You in Law School?

I’ve heard this so much recently. Now that we’re in July (the homestretch, dare I say?) we need to prep as we did in law school. This isn’t to say that you should divert from your BARBRI Personal Study Plan (see supra), but you need to start incorporating study methods that have worked for you in the past if you haven’t done so already. Are you a visual learner? Start making those graphs, flow charts, or whatever else it is that you may need! Maybe you’re an auditory learner? Start reading your outline to yourself, out loud. You know yourself best. You know what worked for you and what didn’t work for you while you were in law school. Don’t start something new. Use BARBRI’s tried and true plans and supplement with how you need to learn and we’ll get there.

For example, I’m a visual learner. The walls in my house are literally covered with different flow charts for each subject. I take a little tour of my house each day and look at each subject. Yes, it’s a bit much. Am I allowed to be a bit much when there’s less than a month left before the bar exam? Yes. Do I remind myself of the meme below a little bit? Also, yes. It’s fine. Moving on…

The Conviser Mini Review

We love it, we hate it, we can’t live without it: the Conviser Mini Review. I’ll be the first to admit that reviewing the Conviser Mini Review is one of my least favorite things to do. It’s dense and it contains a lot of information. I find myself asking wondering if I am going to be able to remember all of this material…no. Not the point and not what you should be focused on. NO ONE is going to remember everything! The bar exam is a minimum competency exam. You need to know, understand, and be able to comprehend what the Conviser Mini Review is offering you. The Conviser Mini Review is the HOLY GRAIL of your bar prep from here on out.

This is what you need to be looking at and going over constantly (the number of tabs that I have in mine is hilarious). This is what’s going to get you through until the end. It’s what you should be referencing (obviously if you need to go further in-depth then consult the full outline, but we should be mainly using the Conviser Mini Review in July).

DO NOT Freak Out and Stop Following BARBRI!!!

I’ve heard horror stories (and I’m sure that you have to) from people who didn’t pass the bar exam. There are varying reasons why one doesn’t pass, but without fail the most consistent reason that I’ve heard is that it was because that person stopped following their BARBRI plan. NO. Don’t do that! If you’re feeling like you need to supplement with something else or maybe focus more time on a different subject then do that AFTER you’ve finished what your Personal Study Plan has set out for you for the day!

BARBRI is a proven way to help you pass. You’ve been using your Personal Study Plan since May. Why are you going to stop now? Do not do that! Don’t let your anxiety or fear of failing the bar exam take you into a direction where you’re lost and don’t know what to do. Relax. Follow your plan. We’ve got this.

Beware of Burnout

My last thing: you have to beware of burnout. I’m sure that we’re all experienced varying levels of burnout during law school, I know that I have. With the bar exam looming, it can be tempting to start pulling some pretty crazy hours to try and get down everything that you need to know. Don’t start pulling all-nighters. Don’t lose your sleep! If you need to take a half-day to relax then do it! If you’re not studying when you’re at your best then you won’t process the information as well and you won’t remember it as well on test day. You know yourself best—if you need a break then take it. Follow your plan. Know yourself. If you do, then you’ll be able to #PassTheBar.