Updated March 07 2023. Originally published April 05 2020
You're in the home stretch and have less than two weeks until the Uniform Bar Exam. How do you make the most of the time you have left? Here are 5 last-minute study tips to have you ready on exam day.
1. Emphasize your Time Reviewing Substantive Law
If you've been following your course schedule, your MBE, MEE, and MPT skills should be sharp as you enter the last ten days before the bar exam. You can still practice, but the real challenge will be keeping all of the substantive law fresh in your memory will be a real challenge. So you'll likely want to spend upwards of eight hours a day just going back over your study materials so that if a particular subtopic shows up on the exam, it will never be more than two weeks old in your memory. Further skills development is great, but it should take a back seat to keeping your knowledge of the material fresh.
2. Focus on Elements and Definitions
Especially in the final days, you'll want to emphasize elements of claims and basic definitions. These are key not only on the MEE where you might be able to explain broader concepts but come up short on essential details, but also on the MBE where a knowledge of concrete details will be essential in eliminating incorrect answer choices.
3. Avoid Full-Length Exams
Full-length practice exams are critical toward your success so that you understand the struggle of completing each section of the exam within its time constraints, but saving them for the days immediately before the bar exam can be counter productive. If it turns out you have an off-day and don't get the scores you expected, it can be hard to recover your confidence. Full-length exams will also consume full days to complete and then review, time which is too valuable so close to the exam.
4. Target Specific MBE Topics and Review Prior Essays and Analyses
MBE practice is critical, so look to complete anywhere from 20 to 50 questions per day and then review the explanations. It's a good idea to focus on the subject or subjects that are most fresh in your head because it will cut down on the number of careless errors you commit (which naturally impact your confidence). You'll also be in a better position to understand and retain what you learn from the answer explanations on questions that you got wrong. Similarly, if you can read through prior MEEs and their analyses in the areas that you reviewed that same day, you will have a better idea of how concepts are tested, and the analyses can reinforce the material you were learning. MEEs and their analyses are a great way to trick your brain into learning more law when it might be otherwise exhausted from trying to memorize your other study materials.
5. Get your head in the game
By Saturday night before the exam, you want to start to take your foot off the memorization gas pedal and instead focus on getting your brain in a position to succeed on the test. That means doing whatever you can to get some sleep (your odds of performing at your best are so much better if you are rested). Get your things organized for the exam so that you aren't rushed on the morning of the test. Try to complete some physical activity too (a trip to the gym, a run, or even a walk around the block can help you get rid of the natural tension and anxiety that build up before the exam). To the extent you can control the circumstances around you, you want your sole focus to be on taking the exam and you want to sit down ready to perform, believing in yourself, and ready to succeed after all of your effort and preparation.
As a first time bar exam taker, if you don't pass the Uniform Bar Exam after completing Pieper's Full Bar Review Course, you can re-take our next course for free!
Pieper Bar Review teaches students the legal concepts and exam skills necessary for success on the bar exam, and reinforces students’ knowledge through thought-provoking examples and bar exam questions. Pieper’s courses do more than teach the material to students. They enable students to master concepts as they are tested so that students can excel within the time constraints of the exam. The proof that the Pieper teaching method works is found in the success of our former students—now present-day attorneys. Ask them, and you’ll learn why Pieper People Pass.