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Akron Law Faculty Offer Bar Exam Advice

06/09/2010

The July Bar Exam is quickly approaching, and we at Akron Law know how stressful preparing can be. Our Akron Law Faculty share their advice on getting ready for this very important day.

Remember, even though it is challenging thousands of graduates and hundreds of upper-class students who you knew have passed this examination. You can too. It is a marathon and not a sprint: you need to keep your focus and prepare well.
     - Professor Richard Aynes

1) continue to do what made you successful in law school-study hard, study more than you think you need to-take a break now and then- stay fit and healthy. 2) you will find that this is truly a review, the material you will be reading is material you already know.
       – Professor J. Dean Carro 

YOU CAN DO THIS! Look at all you have accomplished, from the LSAT to admission, to graduation. The bar is just another hurdle on the way to your dream. Keep track of your study hours. It only takes a few seconds at the end of each study period. As your study hours add up, your “total” will help create a sense of emotional “momentum” that will nudge you on if you are not studying enough, or will give you some solace at those times when studying is really tough.

You know much more than you think you know. Don’t believe it? Try focusing on a single substantive area, like torts, and write down everything you know. Tests, cases, elements, issues, facts – everything. If you forget an element of a test, circle what you do know, and go back to the test after you have completed your “brain” dump. Sure it’s hard work, and time-consuming. But writing from memory helps most students “cement” things in their memory and will give you a boost that you really do know more than you think you do. Plus, keep your writings. As you get further on down the line toward the bar, your stack of “dumps” will give you some tangible evidence of just how hard you have worked.

Try to study at consistent times, take regular breaks, and stop at the end of your study “day.” Get a good nights’ sleep and go at it again the next day. Once you get into the rhythm, it will surprise you that the routine helps you study more easily for 8 or more hours at a time.

Lastly – DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT rely on the fact that you can take the bar exam again. YOU WILL ONLY TAKE IT ONCE. DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT TAKING IT AGAIN.
      – Professor Stephen Cook

My advice is to view bar prep as your full time job the month before the exam. That means 8 hours a day (at least!) and it should be your primary focus. There's a tremendous amount of material to master - this is not the time for last minute cramming!
       –
Professor Carolyn Dessin

Know thyself and thy meds. Do not take any over the counter or prescription med (for sleeping for instance, or lessening anxiety) without testing it in the weeks before the exam.

 Know thyself and thy best roomate/sleeping arrangements. Lee and I were married and took the Bar together. We knew our sleep needs and habits were so varied that we would not do well staying the same room - we got separate but adjoining ones so he could sleep and I could study late without disturbing each other.

Know thyself and thy best learning style. Some are active learners and need to write their own notes/outlines rather than just memorize commercially prepared ones. Either way keep up with the materials, treat this as a full-time job.
      – Professor Marge Koosed

I’ve told many students that I am unaware of any person who has truly done all of the Bar-Bri practice tests (both MBE and essay) and not passed the Bar Exam.  And I don’t mean just outlining essay answers, but really sitting down each time for the full hour (or whatever) and grinding out a complete answer. The repetition is the key—do enough of those MBE and essay problems, and the real thing doesn’t seem so bad.
     – Professor Stewart Moritz

Devote a high percentage of your study time to practice exams. They are the most important part. After scoring, go over everything you missed at least twice.
    – Professor Kalyani Robbins

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