Submit Practice Essays To Develop Skills | Expert Bar Exam Study Tips

By Steve Levin,
BARBRI Vice President of International Development and Legal Writing

DON’T WAIT TO BUILD UP YOUR BAR EXAM FOCUSED WRITING SKILLS.

When I ask students who scored lower on the bar exam or were just below the threshold of passing, whether they submitted practice essays during bar prep, often the answer is “no” or “not many.” I’ve heard from students, in the past, that they felt the need to know all the rules of the law before they could or should submit a practice essay during bar review.

As many of you know, the written portion of the bar exam is critical to your overall score in every state and in some states, there is greater weight on the written portion compared to the MBE. (Download the BARBRI Bar Exam Digest for details.) Essay writing for the bar exam is quite different than the final exam essays you took in law school – it’s an acquired skill you must strengthen during bar prep.

On the bar exam, you’ll need to know how to provide an answer to the call of the question in the format bar examiners want to see. The best way to achieve proficiency is to tackle practice essays multiple times during BARBRI Bar Review and submit them for personal feedback – even while you are still learning the substantive material. This will enable you to continue your essay writing skill development.

Note that I said, “skill development.” Do not hold back on submitting a practice essay just because you are still learning the black letter law. When reviewing your essays, we aren’t just looking at your substantive knowledge – we also focus on feedback that helps refine your essay writing skills.

With each submitted essay, you’ll benefit from personalized input from a trained bar exam writing expert. You’ll come away knowing where you will capture points and where you may lose points, as well as how to frame a better essay answer. Submitting essays as they are assigned during bar review, over time, will allow you to incorporate previous feedback into the next practice essay. You’ll move along an upward trajectory of continuous improvement and bar exam readiness.

ABOUT BARBRI BAR REVIEW

BARBRI pioneered bar review and proudly celebrates 50-plus years of helping more than 1.3 million students pass the bar exam. BARBRI’s constant innovation, leadership and depth of experience based on 100-plus bar exams going back to 1967 influences all aspects of bar review – where it’s been, where it is today and the vast possibilities of where BARBRI will lead it next. Every year, the overwhelming majority of law students across the nation choose BARBRI Bar Review to prepare for the bar exam – and pass it the first time. Learn more about the nation’s #1 bar review at BARBRI.com.

The Low Hanging Fruit: The MPT | Expert Bar Exam Study Tips

by Steve Levin,
BARBRI Vice President of International Development and Legal Writing

IT’S WHERE YOU CAN PICK UP VALUABLE POINTS.

The Multistate Performance Test (MPT) is included in most state bar exams (see the jurisdictions administering the MPT) and carries a good percentage of your overall points. For example, if you’re sitting for the bar in a UBE state, the MPT is worth 20% of the total bar exam score. If you are like most students, you’ll be spending a majority of your time working practice MBE questions and writing practice essays, but you don’t want to lose sight of the MPT. It’s a part of the bar exam that’s more important than you may realize because on each exam, many examinees fall just below a passing score. The MPT is an easy place to pick up valuable points or, conversely, lose points if you’re not prepared.

The MPT is designed as a real-world readiness measurement for bar examiners to assess your fundamental lawyering skills. Rather than testing substantive legal knowledge, the MPT requires you to think critically and resourcefully with the information presented/available and complete a realistic task a beginning lawyer might encounter. For example, you may be asked to create a persuasive brief, legal memorandum, client letter, discovery plan, settlement offer, will, closing argument, etc. Whatever the given assignment, you’ll need to demonstrate your ability to evaluate the facts of the case file, analyze the problem, and perform the task within the 90 minutes allotted for each MPT item.

If you prepare for this portion of the bar exam by putting finger to keyboard or pen to paper and practicing, you can leverage the MPT to put yourself in a stronger position to pass. The best way to familiarize yourself with possible MPT tasks is to work practice MPTs during your bar review. Your BARBRI Personal Study Plan will assign practice MPTs to you and the BARBRI MPT workbook will get you prepped for this, often-overlooked, area of the bar exam.

Remember, every point on the bar exam counts and just a few points can make the difference between passing and not passing. So if you’re taking the exam in any of the states that require the MPT, be sure to keep this low hanging fruit in sight, spend time on it, and pick up those valuable exam points. Be sure to download the BARBRI Bar Exam Digest for information about your state’s MPT and bar exam scoring formula.

ABOUT BARBRI BAR REVIEW

BARBRI pioneered bar review and proudly celebrates 50-plus years of helping more than 1.3 million students pass the bar exam. BARBRI’s constant innovation, leadership and depth of experience based on 100-plus bar exams going back to 1967 influences all aspects of bar review – where it’s been, where it is today and the vast possibilities of where BARBRI will lead it next. Every year, the overwhelming majority of law students across the nation choose BARBRI Bar Review to prepare for the bar exam – and pass it the first time. Learn more about the nation’s #1 bar review at BARBRI.com.

How many graded essays are included in BARBRI Bar Review? Can I have unlimited essays graded?

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. 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.