As many readers know, I also help people study for the California Bar Exam and I write for our sister site the Bar Exam Toolbox. Frequently, law students come to me asking where they can find basic outlines on the black letter law, practice questions on 1L subjects, or multiple-choice questions. Often, I recommend that they go to their law library and check out whether there are bar review materials on reserve. If so, these materials can be helpful when it comes to studying for finals.
Bar Outlines Give Concise Statements of the Black Letter Law
As a 1L you may find it difficult to discern what the black letter law is for your classes. This is especially true if your professor spends most of class talking about theory or policy and not as much time on the law that you would apply for a fact pattern. Supplements can be very helpful to fill in the gaps in your understanding, but you may want to check out bar outlines as well. Bar outlines have to boil down the law into clear rule statements that can be memorized and applied on the exam. They can provide some clarity, if you feel unsure what the law is. So check them out, especially if you can review them at your library for free (this is not a good enough reason to purchase a bar prep class early in your legal career though).
Practice Essay Questions
Bar materials publish essay questions on many of the 1L class topics. That is because much of the bar exam is on the material that you are studying right now. Talk to your law school librarian to see if your school has any bar materials that include practice essay questions. Also, some states, like California, publish bar exam questions and sample answers. Although they won’t exactly mimic your final exams, they can provide you with additional practice (if that is what you are looking for).
Practice Multiple-Choice Questions
Most of you will have to take the MBE multiple-choice exam as part of your bar exam experience. The MBE tests property, contracts, evidence, torts, contracts, criminal law, and procedure. By the time many of you take the MBE it will also test civil procedure. The beauty of this is that there are many multiple-choice questions available to prepare for the bar exam. If your professor is planning on including multiple-choice questions as part of an exam, you may want to find some bar questions to help you get additional multiple-choice practice. (This can also be helpful because professors typically don’t release multiple-choice practice questions.)
The bar exam experience isn’t just something to be feared; it is something that can help you prepare for your law school exams! Have you used bar exam resources to help you study for exams? Share your experience in the comments.
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Here are some other helpful posts:
- How We Think About Law School Exams
- How Do You Know What’s Going to be on the Exam?
- The Three Most Important Things You Can Do as Exams Approach
- Law School Exam Advice: To Each His Own
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