By Steve Levin, BARBRI Sr. Director of Essay Testing
These are questions my colleagues and I hear frequently… and the short, sweet answer is that we’re happy to grade as many essays as you want to submit during your BARBRI Bar Review course. However, before we get too caught up in numbers, let’s first talk about overall bar exam essay writing strategy.
As you likely already know, the written portion is critical to your overall bar exam score in every state and, in some states, is weighted even more heavily than the MBE. You can download the BARBRI Bar Exam Digest for every state’s exam details.
What you might not know is that writing essays for the bar exam is very different from writing essays for law school. For example, in most states, there’s actually a “right” answer. That’s not true in many law school essays. Therefore, you must acquire and strengthen your bar exam essay skills during bar prep. Your goal is to learn to write the best essays possible, as quickly as possible, to perform well under the timed conditions of the exam.
ACHIEVE OPTIMUM RESULTS WITH DIRECTED ESSAY GRADING
In our experience, we’ve seen that submitting practice essay after essay before receiving and digesting feedback actually reinforces bad habits and wastes time. For this reason, an unguided and purely “unlimited” essay grading system can actually stunt your progress. BARBRI has a better answer with proven results: Directed Essay Grading.
BARBRI Directed Essay Grading starts online with Essay Architect. You’ll learn to efficiently read bar exam essay questions and construct quality answers … and you’ll receive immediate feedback.
After working with Essay Architect online, you’ll put “pen to paper” and write answers to assigned practice essays. Some of these assignments require self-analysis by comparing your answers to model answers or score sheets (watch this webinar to find out how the self-analysis exercises are particularly impactful to your overall bar score). You’ll also submit several for personalized feedback from trained bar exam writing experts. If after taking advantage of all of those assignments you want additional essays graded, we’re happy to grade more.
DON’T WAIT TO DEVELOP YOUR SKILLS
When I ask students who didn’t pass the bar on their first try whether they submitted practice essays during bar prep, usually the answer is “not many” or “no.” When I ask them why they didn’t take advantage of this powerful bar prep tool, many told me they felt they didn’t know the law well enough to write an essay for submission.
This is faulty thinking. Don’t hold back – go ahead and write and submit the essay even if you are still learning the black letter law. Practice essays are a great way to learn how to write better essays AND continue to learn the law. Don’t cheat yourself out of one of your best learning opportunities because you don’t feel ready.
When reviewing your essays, our trained bar exam writing experts can help you learn the substance you need as well as refine your essay writing skills. The individual feedback will help you understand where you will capture points, where you may lose points and how to frame a better essay answer.
Submitting essays as they are assigned during bar review, over time, will allow you to incorporate feedback into your next practice essay. You’ll move along an upward trajectory of continuous improvement and bar exam readiness.
Just like all assignments curated by ISAAC, your Intuitive Study Assistant and Coach, during BARBRI Bar Review, we use 50+ years of bar exam data and expertise to ensure you study smarter, not harder, for all components of your state’s bar exam. All of us at BARBRI look forward to helping you Own The Bar.