Planning for the bar exam in 2L year … and why

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

As a 2L students, the bar exam should probably be on your mind.

You should pay attention to not only your school course requirements but also to your state bar examination requirements (here’s a handy bar exam checklist from BARBRI you can follow). Why? Because you’ll want to pay special attention to the topics covered on your bar exam so you can begin to plan your course schedule. For instance, if you’re headed to a state that practices a lot of specialized estate law, make it a priority to take a few courses in that area.

Likewise, it’s a good idea to consider the timing of your courses.

While it’s true that there’s three more semesters of law school, we all know conflicts are a part of life and can prevent us from enrolling in the courses we want/need. If you start considering the courses you’ll want to take for the bar exam now, you can begin to factor them into your registration process; thereby reducing the likelihood that you’ll graduate without having taken the courses you wanted. If you want to take your “2L bar prep” a step further, you can also weigh when to take certain courses based on how prevalent they will be on the bar exam. For example, if you’re especially worried about acing the Real Property (one of the MBE subjects tested on the bar), consider taking a Real Property course during your last semester of 3L so it’s fresh in your mind, going into bar prep mode.

Finally, 2L year is the perfect time to begin thinking about any potential problems you may encounter on the character and fitness application, one of the more intensive and time-consuming bar exam requirements (see that BARBRI bar exam checklist for more info). If you’re aware of something that you think may pose an issue, do not wait until 3L year to deal with it. Get ahead of the game and talk to your academic advisor now so you can rest assured that when the time comes, you’ll know how to best handle the situation. Similarly, if you’re not sure if there’s something out there that may cause a obstacle for you, a good place to start is by searching yourself with Lexis and/or Westlaw’s people finder tools.

To re-emphasize, as a 2L student, you should not be spending hours upon hours stressing yourself out about the bar exam – after all, we are only in 2L year. But at the same time, this time will undoubtedly fly by in the blink of an eye, so keeping the bar exam on the back burner will help you avoid overburdening yourself in 3L year, when bar prep is really underway.

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