We hope that bar prep is going well! This page has been created to provide tips that will help prepare you for the bar exam. Many of these tips were suggested by recent Colorado Law graduates who successfully passed the bar exam.

Example Study Methods:

  • Many graduates who struggled with the bar exam said that once they were able to identify the study method that worked best for them, it completely changed their bar prep experience. Think about what study methods worked well for you during law school. You should continue to use these "tried-and-true" methods during the bar exam (although they may need to be modified slightly).
  • Examples of study techniques that recent bar takers have successfully implemented:

Tips from Recent Bar Takers:

Below are some tips from recent bar takers who passed the bar exam. These are only suggestions, so we encourage you to stick with what works for you. 

  • Stay on Schedule 
    • Do your best to not fall behind. It is essentially impossible to do everything that your bar course recommends. There are some big ticket items that you’ll want to make sure you do, like the lectures, checkpoint quizzes, and practice exams. Use tools to stay on task during study time (e.g., Mac users might consider the "Self Control" app, which locks you out of tempting websites--like Facebook--while you are supposed to be studying). Sometimes you might miss a lecture or fall a day behind, but work hard to catch up. This will save you a lot of stress as the bar exam gets closer. 
  • "You Want Me to Do How Many Questions Again?"
    • Day 2 of the bar exam is 200 multiple choice questions. It's no surprise that the best way to prepare for this day is to do lots of questions. The more questions you do, the more comfortable you'll feel with the subjects being tested. You'll also start to notice patterns in questions and answers that are designed to trick you.
  • Essays, Essays, Essays
    • If you’re having a hard time grasping material or understanding specific topics, try doing as many practice essays in that topic as you can. I found that I learned best by seeing how the rules apply to “real” situations. I would read the essay prompt and make a short outline of how I would answer (just do bullet points—you won’t have time to write out full outlines and responses to every essay). If you don’t have any clue how to answer the question, that’s totally ok. Read through the model answer, taking notes as you go. (I would often just retype the model answer as another way of ingraining the information.) In the last few days before the bar exam, I reread the model answers for the essays I had done. This helped me focus on and retain the material.
  • Change It Up
    • Research shows that a great way to improve your memory is to vary your study routine. If you're used to studying in one place, try moving to a different spot or location. I used to listen to lectures while I took my dog for a walk. Sometimes I studied at a coffee shop, sometimes I studied at home. You could also try changing up the time that you study. These changes force your brain to associate with the material in a new way, thus improving your recall.
  • Stay Calm and Carry On
    • It seems counterintuitive, but take a day off before the bar exam! You want to be thinking clearly and feeling calm going into the exam. If you start cramming the day before, you may start to panic. Know that you worked hard throughout the summer. The material is in your brain, I promise. And remember, it’s ok if you don’t know everything. There were some topics that I just straight up didn’t know when I went into the exam. This is fine. What can you do the day before instead? I booked a massage, went out for a nice dinner with my significant other, took a hot bath, and tried my best to get some sleep. At this point, feeling composed and confident is the most important thing.
  • Avoid a Negative Mind-set                                                                          
    • Find ways to make studying that topic that you hate less miserable (e.g., study the topic first thing in the morning to get it over with or study the topic in a place that you particularly like). Skip specific types of questions within the topic that cause undue anxiety (e.g., if you simply cannot understand the Rule Against Perpetuities, strategically guess on these questions instead of wasting hours studying this fine point of law and feeling frustrated).
  • Preparation                                                                                                                                      
    • Think about what type of preparation/review worked best for you in school and use that for the bar exam.
  • Study Breaks                                                                                                                             
    • Incorporate more study breaks throughout the day to avoid diminishing returns (e.g., Pomodoro timer apps can help you schedule breaks that can increase your productivity). 

Common Bar Exam Pitfalls:

  • Time management issues (e.g., carving out sufficient time to study, choices about how to spend time studying/which subjects to prioritize)
  • Not understanding the importance of multiple choice vs. essays—this is an area where you can focus on using your time most effectively (i.e., you may want to spend more time on MBE topics vs. secured transactions) and on identifying individualized study techniques that work for you (e.g., mapping vs. flash-cards vs. outlining)
  • Not taking the bar exam seriously (e.g., skipping certain bar topics, not putting in the time)

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