Stay Calm and Pass the Bar

How to pass the bar

Although graduation is a welcome event for a long-suffering law student, finishing school doesn’t automatically qualify you to set up your own practice. You still have to take and pass the bar exam to validate your credentials. So naturally, for law students who don’t want their career aspirations ending in law school, the bar exam is a big deal. How do you study for it? What exactly is going to happen? Here’s what you need to know about preparing for the bar while keeping your sanity intact.  

What to Expect

The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) comprises of 200 multiple-choice questions and additional essay questions that each exam-taker has to get through. Out of those 200 questions, 10 aren’t included in your final score. Since the unscored questions aren’t differentiated from the others, however, it’s a good idea to fill them all in if you can. Out of the 190 remaining questions, there are 6 categories that you’ll be quizzed on: Contracts, Evidence, Torts, Constitutional Law, Real Property, and Criminal Law and Procedure. Of course, this doesn’t account for the essay questions and the more tailored questions that are associated with State bar exams.  

How to Take the Exam

With the MBE’s total 6 hours divided into 2 sessions, test-takers need to be aware of the time limit that they’re working around. In addition, the questions that don’t go towards your score are left unmarked on the exam. In the interest of getting the best score possible, you’ll want to pace yourself as you take the exam so that you don’t spend a disproportionate amount of time on one section as opposed to another. That’s why it’s important for you to establish a rhythm as you sit for the bar.  

Gaming the System: 4 Study Tips You Won’t Regret

  1. Find Past Essay Questions

Nothing makes you more aware of the constraints you’re dealing with than an essay on a timed exam. The minutes can really fly by if you’re not prepared to write your essay. Luckily for you, past essay questions can be found online. When studying up for the bar, you can take a look at these to get a sense of how difficult the questions might be.


  1. Consider Taking a Prep Course

In light of what’s at stake here, it’s only natural to be nervous heading into the exam. While law schools certainly provide the education and information you need in order to pass, most don’t offer prep for bar exam per se. Fortunately, there are a number of third party schools and specific courses that are geared specifically towards getting you ready for the bar. This is an ideal solution for those who want to review the material a little bit more or otherwise bolster their confidence heading into the exam.


  1. Pace Yourself

You have a lot of questions to get through and a limited time to get through them all. In light of these facts, you simply can’t afford to get hung up on a question. You’ll be leaving a lot of points on the table if you don’t answer everything you can. That being said, you may have to make a strategic decision to skip a few if you find a question that’s more trouble than it’s worth.


  1. Know Your Common Law

When you’re practicing a martial art, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the fundamentals before you can put your knowledge to use. Similarly, knowing and applying common law is an absolute must for your bar exam. If nothing else, it allows you to reason your way through the more complicated questions. Whether Corporate Law or Criminal Law is more in tune with your preferences, it all starts with passing the bar. In many respects, however, this is one of those tasks that’s often easier said than done. While nobody claimed passing the bar exam would be a piece of cake, with this advice you should be well on your way to becoming a qualified attorney.