Bar Exam study methods.....not sure if mine is working

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
User avatar

Posts: 100
Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 6:07 pm

Bar Exam study methods.....not sure if mine is working

Postby Garinold » Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:32 pm

So I'm taking the NJ bar and I'm currently using the Kaplan online course. I don't know whether or not I'm wasting my time watching these stupid videos and taking notes. The videos are 3-4 hours in length and with the amount of time I use to pause the videos throughout so I can write shit down before it moves on to another topic and the amount of time I use on breaks, watching these pieces of shit ends up being an all day affair. I have no idea how much of the information I am retaining. I am also supposed to be reading the big outlines they provide and the smaller ones and make my own outline.

To be honest I don't know if I wanna bother taking these stupid notes. I just wanna get to making my own outlines, studying them, and then using the rest of my time to write essays and do the MBE practice tests. I just don't wanna end up failing the bar and then looking back and saying "damn I wish I watched those videos & took notes and did the bar prep the way it was designed". I don't know who the hell I should call or talk to or what.

Thanks for listening to my rant....


Posts: 1396
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:50 pm

Re: Bar Exam study methods.....not sure if mine is working

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:18 am

I think you're having bar prep anxiety. That is natural. Stop, go for a walk, have a drink, go out now and then, see your friends, a movie, play video games, get a routine that takes your mind off it. Have a schedule and stick to it. Actually stop at the end of the day even if you haven't covered everything yet (until two weeks or so prior to go time, then, well, it's go time). You will be amazed at what you'll retain by just going through the established paces. I studied from noon until midnight (with all normal breaks for lunch, dinner, mental breaks when I needed), then video games until 4am - rinse and repeat, do what works for you.

Do you write slowly? I suspect you are focusing on too much trees, not enough forest. Those lectures and whatnot are designed to give you all you need to know. Does Kaplan really say to make your own outline? Or are you adding that? (I really don't know, just asking). If they expect you to make your own outline, well, that is different than barbri for sure.

But think big picture, not small details. Simplify. You don't need to know everything (and you won't, it is impossible so accept it), just enough to pass. I'm a firm believer in working the program, especially one as established as Kaplan.

But, all that said, I totally skipped things I thought were bullshit. I didn't do jack shit for essays, for example (how can you practice an essay without a professor to grade it who isn't you?). I didn't take barbri's "MBE Preview" - the first MBE they give before you dive into actual classes. Screw that, said I, why the fuck are you giving me a preview? Why not just call it "class" and include it? Then I would have done it. That's not rational, but whatever. I'll watch some lectures now, thank you. Trust your instincts - they got you this far.

Good luck.

(edited in light of actual Kaplan taker's insight below)
Last edited by NotMyRealName09 on Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:32 am, edited 2 times in total.


Posts: 113
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 10:49 pm

Re: Bar Exam study methods.....not sure if mine is working

Postby 2012JayDee » Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:30 am

I feel your pain.
Doing NY w/NJ with Kaplan

The videos are definitely long, but I wouldn't worry so much about getting down every single word when you're working in the outline workbook because the completely filled outline is available and anything you miss you can just get from the outline provided. You're supposed to be reviewing the full outline provided and while watching the video filling in the blanks on the workbook.

Doing the essays isn't a bad idea because it forces you to know the state law and work on issue spotting. Since you can have an unlimited number of essays graded this is probably a decent way of gauging how well you're absorbing the law and getting points. But it's only helpful for the state portion. The essays won't do a ton for your MBE study which is 50% of the NJ test. But try and strike a decent balance.

The writing is to really help people who need to keep busy while watching a video. Also writing information helps you to solidify it if you write, hear, and read.

I will admit I'm in a bit of a panic too because it's a lot. I'm not getting more than 50% right in any area on the 33 questions and the strengths/weaknesses test on the checkpoint quizzes just tells you to rewatch the video and then ends up adding more questions to an already long day. Don't get frustrated just yet. Just stay up with the lectures and try to follow along with the outlines and use them to supplement studying. It's a lot of information. But I know that I can expect that right now I'm going to spend at leas 6-8 hours a day on just video, and questions. That doesn't include making ONE sheets, reviewing the previous day or reviewing for the next day. And I haven't even started on the NJ points of distinction. It's overwhelming and boring--bad combination!!! But like the other poster said make sure you get away from the studying and take a walk go eat lunch or have a coffee. Download the MP3s and just listen to them as you walk. You will be surprised by how much you're actually absorbing.

User avatar
Mick Haller

Posts: 1257
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:24 pm

Re: Bar Exam study methods.....not sure if mine is working

Postby Mick Haller » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:43 pm

I am taking kaplan for the ca bar. I already stopped watching the lectures. Way too time consuming. Best way to increase your MBE score is lots and lots of repetition. I do at least 50 per day and am at 60-75% on k's ev and conlaw. Spend more time practicing and less time jumping through their hoops.

Also we need to be writing a lot of essays. I haven't started yet but plan to write at least 2 or 3 this weekend.

Oh and make sure to thoroughly review all MBE questions, even the ones you got right. I spend about twice as much time reviewing as I do solving them

User avatar

Posts: 282
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2008 10:49 am

Re: Bar Exam study methods.....not sure if mine is working

Postby joobacca » Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:23 pm

this is some obvious shit but i think there are a lot of ways to prepare for the bar exam. the default schedule provided by your prep course is probably not for everyone. it might be aimed to the most inept bar exam taker or designed to suit the most common method of studying. by this point, you know how you study.

barbri offers video lectures (45-90 minutes) explaining MBE and essay questions. my friend thinks they're really helpful. i think it's a waste of time because what little i get from the video that i don't get from the written explanations (which eat about 20 minutes) isn't worth the time. i agree with a poster above that, for me at least, going through as many mc questions is more important than listening to some person explain some shit that's mostly already written somewhere while that person makes shitty jokes that takes up time that i could use to get high or drunk. but i watch the subject video lectures because i've always seen the forest better when someone is talking at me.


Posts: 210
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2011 11:30 am

Re: Bar Exam study methods.....not sure if mine is working

Postby morris248 » Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:20 pm

For the MBE it is simply practice and reading comprehension. You probably have plenty of test questions but you can access more at


For the essays, the same thing applies, practice. Find someone that has already taken the exam and see if they have any practice questions since they often repeat. It appears that NJ no longer posts their old questions and best answers. A good source is probably

NJ Bar Exam Essay Questions Book (New Jersey Bar Exam Review)

In taking the exam remember that you are not out to make an A, you just want to be in the approximately 70% that pass.

Return to “Forum for Law School Students�

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bach-City, totesTheGoat and 18 guests