By Eisha Vatsal • February 05, 2017•Writers in Residence, Features, Advice on Passing the Bar Exam
2 weeks before the February bar.
In my last post, I spoke about finding motivation. If anyone found any, can you maybe share? Kidding, though there are days when I could definitely use an extra dose. It seems like my life revolves around this exam. By the end of the day, I’m always exhausted. I've been studying for almost four months, but it's almost over.
Before I began studying back in November, I worked out my new study plan. I had all the outlines, so I didn’t need to spend time watching the lectures. I knew the MBE was my weak area, and I knew why I would get questions wrong. I would read them too fast, miss key words, and choose the wrong answer. With this knowledge, I decided to read each question slowly, not caring about the time limit, but focusing on reading comprehension. When I tried this method, I got more answers correct while staying within the 1.8 minute time frame. So far, I have taken two practice exams, using this method. For each one, I was well within the time limit, having at least 30 minutes to spare. Results? The first one, I got 9 wrong, and the second one I got 10 wrong. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the essay section. Knowing the buzzwords is essential, and I knew I couldn’t read off my outlines anymore. So I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote. I copied the rules from my outlines, and wrote them over and over again until I memorized them. Themis has graded essays every week, and I have gotten eights, nines, or tens. Clearly my study plan is working.
There are topics that I am strong in and topics that are my weakest (Civil Procedure and Constitutional Law). The last time I made the mistake of separating my outlines for essay purposes to 1) frequent topics, 2) could show up, 3) hasn’t been tested in years. During the last week, I focused on the first two categories and barely studied the third, knowing just enough to get some points. That was a mistake. On the July bar, one of the questions was an equity question (third category). I’ll admit I didn’t study this. The question involved identifying the factors of preliminary injunction and applying it to the facts. I honestly did not know there were factors. The only thing I remembered was that a temporary restraining order is a type of preliminary injunction, so that’s what I wrote about. Surprisingly I got a 4. But I know I will not make that mistake again.
Even though it’s the final stretch and I still have much to do, I feel more confident and determined. I’ve gone through this at least once; I know how to be mentally prepared. Time is not an issue for me and as long as I slowly read the questions, I can get them right.