Bar prep: Random chaos or finely tuned production?

By Andrei Zakhareuski 

Most law school graduates use a bar prep program to guide them through the rigorous process of studying for the bar exam. The vast online library contains comprehensive coverage of the available programs and their features.

Considering the constancy of technological innovations, you’ll benefit by engaging your favorite search engine to keep updated on the features and terms of these  programs.   

The search for the right prep course also helps one to focus on the impending exam. This means preparing a comprehensive study strategy, spacing study topics and sessions, and conserving time efficiently. 

Here are some respected techniques and considerations that are known to improve recall and memory skills and increase the ability to master a body of knowledge.  

 

MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL PERSPECTIVES:

At the outset, get yourself into a positive frame of mind. If one’s approach is permeated with dread and doom, you can expect a dreary score on the exam.

It helps to brush up on the art of positive and cognitive thinking or read sections of an inspiring book each day. Alternatively or in tandem, check out the relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga and visualization, to mention just a few of the more popular resources.

We know that complaining, commiserating, sinking into depression or becoming a harsh dictator at home or work are prescriptions for failure. It’s just that stress, fear and internal pressures – things that we all face at times - may built up and get a foothold, resulting in negative thinking. Get defeatist thoughts in tow and visualize total success ahead.

 

CHOOSING A PROGRAM:

- Many experts believe that practicing on prior bar examination questions is a gold standard aid for students and graduates. Ask each bar prep administrator how many actual NCBE questions are provided in the program’s package. The more the better.

- Exam takers will likely benefit by a program that provides high quality written explanations and legal analysis with the MBE and MEE exercises.

- Determine what features are included in each program and compare which gives you the most features and the cost of each.

- Assure yourself in advance that you understand the package you are purchasing!

 

PRELIMINARY STEPS:

- See your state’s official bar exam website; download all free study features and have the state bar examiners send you the instructions and study aids they provide.

- Experts agree that the NCBE outlines are a necessary tool to view the overall picture of each course and for mapping out the time to be spent on various subject areas.

- Remember that visuals help! Studies show that you retain more with video and visual representations.

- Enlarge and post the outlines, color code the subsections and add any other enhancements that will help you deepen your understanding of the material. 

- If you are accessing all of your prep material online, or if you study at home instead of a library, create a ‘war room’ where you can be free of interruptions and create the desired study modifications and displays.

 

DEVELOP AND USE MORE POWERFUL RECALL AND OTHER STUDY TOOLS:

- Use spacing techniques. Take a full two months or more where feasible to prepare for the exam. Space out your studying, with breaks for exercise and relaxation, then resume by switching topics; this works with repetition for better understanding and long term retention. 

- In elaboration, one explains and describes a subject or legal topic with many details; there is no reference to written materials or other media. 

- The related practice of retrieval makes you bring information to mind without the help of materials.  

- For example, you may go to a new subject, e.g., negligence, and write up your own description of everything you know about it. Your understanding increases as you use your independent mental powers without reference to outside materials.

- Once you bring it up and complete your description of negligence, go back to your outlines, sample questions, case law and textbooks to review negligence and clear up any prior misconceptions. 

- Use concrete examples to help visualize a concept better; when you read a case in conjunction with your hypothetical, this develops powerful recall, enhanced understanding and increased memory capacity.  

- Use flash cards, course outlines and study guides regularly and then go into your MBE or MEE practice questions.

- Use memorization in conjunction with understanding what is taking place in the hypothetical problem being solved.

 

Several of the above practices can be used together to create a constantly dynamic and lively interchange of different mental abilities. This works to raise the level of retention and memorization by awaking the brain from relying on too many passive study aids.

You’ll do well to follow-up and research these practices in greater depth. Following these and you will have a full arsenal of special tools to maximize your chances for passing the exam with confidence.


 Andrei Zakhareuski founded Bar Prep Hero to offer a powerful bar prep course at an affordable price; the program is exclusively online and offers a large volume of bar examination questions from the NCBE library. 


 

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