A Four-Month Action Checklist Before the Bar Exam

As my regulars know, I’m a big fan of the book “Pass The Bar!” by Profs. Riebe and Schwartz. One reason I value it so highly is that it provides “Action Checklists” for up to 12 months before taking a bar exam.

Four months from tomorrow, most bar-takers in the US will begin their first day of the July bar exam (July 27 and 28, 2021 in Georgia and many other states). So here is an action checklist, modified from the one in “Pass The Bar!”:

  1. Review your intended jurisdiction’s bar admission and licensing rules. For Georgia, go to www.gabaradmissions.org. To find other jurisdictions’ websites, go to www.ncbex.org, where you can look them up.
  2. Plan now for your bar review period.
    1. Assess your own risk factors and the suggested solutions, to maximize your chances of passing the bar on your first attempt.
    2. Decide what if any remedial actions you need to take, including assessing your strengths and weaknesses in core bar-tested subjects, using the West Academic Assessment materials (see The Fourth Floor, on your Emory Canvas dashboard).
    3. Schedule time weekly to start studying or reviewing subjects you feel you don’t know as well, focusing on doing practice questions and analyzing why the answer options were correct or incorrect. Note any patterns you see in the errors you make (and everyone will be making errors!). Revisit the winter break study plan sent in December to all 3Ls and graduating LLM students.
  3. Create your own winning “game plan” for bar success.
    1. Review the time commitments you have between now and the end of July, and plan to minimize them where possible. Make bar study a top priority between graduation and the exam.
    2. Do a financial check-up and plan ahead for budgetary needs during your bar study period. If necessary, look into bar loans.
    3. Do an academic check-up: review your law school transcript to identify any gaps or weaknesses in what you have studied to date, comparing your courses to the subjects your jurisdiction can test on its bar exam, and decide on a plan to remedy those gaps or weaknesses.
    4. Update/refresh your legal writing skills for bar exam essays; practice so that producing a strong, clear written work product in IRAC format becomes almost automatic.
    5. Review your jurisdictions’ past essay and MPT questions, paying attention on the MPT to what kinds of documents you may be asked to create. Start doing practice MPT questions, comparing your answers to the sample answers most jurisdictions provide.
    6. Do a stress/attitude check: plan for how you will stay positive, healthy, focused, and resilient during bar study.
    7. If you haven’t yet signed up for a commercial bar review course, do that ASAP and start using any early access study materials it provides.
    8. Remember to enjoy your last semester of law school and seize any opportunities to do some things you might not have done yet, like getting to know certain professors better.