[ Makenzie Way, 2020 Law Graduate at the University of Pennsylvania ]
It’s officially June, which means it’s officially time to start studying – or at least, start thinking about studying – if you haven’t already. In my effort to start preparing to study I decided to watch the Study Strategies Webinar (which I highly recommend), and have summarized my learnings below.
- If you haven’t already, log onto BARBRI and take the Bar Review Baseline. The Baseline test consists of 70 multiple-choice questions, and takes approximately two hours to complete. This test is important to take for three primary reasons: (A) it provides an early example of what the MBE is like; (B) it helps BARBRI customize your bar prep, and; (C) it shows you where you currently rank on the curve.
- If you haven’t already, order your BARBRI books and/or reach out to tech support to update your testing state location if there have been changes – note, if you’re taking the UBE in a different jurisdiction than originally intended, you do need to update your testing location if you want your prep course to be specialized, but you do not need to re-order your books.
- Your BARBRI prep homepage is monitored by a system called ISAAC; this system calculates, based off of your testing location, the number of hours per day that you need to study to be thoroughly prepared for the bar exam.
- The daily hours schedule that appears on your home screen takes all 7 days into account. This does not, however, mean that you need to study for that amount of time every single day of the week. While you do need to study on the weekends, ISAAC is set up to adjust the hours required output that appears on your home screen based on the amount of work you actually complete. What that means is if you decide to work 2 hours instead of 4 hours on Sunday the uncompleted hours will be added to your home screen on Monday.
- If you’re taking a July bar then you should have already begun your bar prep – it’s recommended that you study for 10 weeks, or 400 hours for the July bar exam. With that said, if you’re taking a September bar exam it is not recommended that you wait to begin studying until the 10 week mark, rather, you should start studying earlier to make the work more manageable. Likewise, if you are taking the September bar exam but will begin working beforehand, try to frontload your studying and remember the magic number – 400 hours.
- It is recommended that you take a day off on the weekend – provided you maintain your study schedule throughout the rest of the week. Also, leave time to take care of yourself to avoid burnout, i.e. schedule time to work out, to meal prep, and to just unwind and digest.
Components of the BARBRI Study Plan:
- The BARBRI study course is set up to help you acquire knowledge and then learn how to apply it. In doing this, you’ll notice that your study schedule is arranged so that you begin with a plethora of lectures and multiple choice questions before moving into assignments and the dreaded practice multi-state exam. It’s important that you aim to complete all of these assignments and leave time to review them as well.
- Midway through your study plan BARBRI will prompt you to take the six hour Simulated Multistate Bar Exam practice test (though you can take it whenever you are ready) – you should take this under exam-like conditions. Taking the Simulated MBE is one of the most important thing you can do to pass the bar exam.
- All assignments, tests and quizzes – including the Simulated MBE – are graded on two separate scales. First you will receive the traditional ‘percentage of questions correct.’ More importantly however, you will also receive a ‘percentile score’. The percentile score ranks you against other test takers to show you where you are currently ranking on the bar passage curve – BARBRI’s recommendation is that you aim to be in the 40th or higher percentile.
Other Important Considerations:
- ISAAC will update accordingly if your bar exam is rescheduled, you don’t need to do anything.
- If you are unable to get a seat to write the bar exam your BARBRI materials will remain available to you until the next bar exam offering at no additional cost, and ISAAC will update your study schedule accordingly.
- If, due to the uncertain times we’re currently in, you are strongly opposed to, or uncomfortable with, sitting for the upcoming bar exam, BARBRI will allow you to transfer your BARBRI course to the next bar offering at no additional cost.
- If you are now planning to sit for the UBE in a different state than the one you plan to practice you, you must remember to transfer your score and budget for the transfer fee (generally, the transfer fee is the same as the application fee for the state). You will also need to complete both state’s Character and Fitness Tests. You do not need to write the bar exam twice if both states are UBE states, however, you should keep your employer informed as to your bar plans.