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Best bar prep study tips? (FWIW: sitting for UBE in NY)

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If you like flash cards, I highly recommend Critical Pass. I echo what A1 said. I studied all day everyday and really stressed myself out to the point of having anxiety attacks. Take breaks and time for yourself.


Weekends (if you’re taking your first bar) you don’t take off. Do like 6 hours Sat and 3 hrs Sunday morning, and another 1-2 Sunday evening. You need to touch the material every single day. A 7 hr study session is less helpful than 1 hr study sessions done for 7 days.

Time to get analytical and Moneyball this. It’s NOT you job to learn #allthelaw; or to write the best essay. It’s your job to earn enough points on the exam to pass.

With every multiple choice question you need to know: which is the most correct answer and why; why was every wrong answer wrong; what’s the best answer to write in if it was a short answer; and how did the test writers try to trip you up and confuse you? (Keep a running list of the latter). Squeeze every drop out of these and you’ll be good.

On essays, LEARN THE PROPER TEMPLATE FORMAT AND DO NOT(!) DEVIATE. Issue; rule statement: (1)element (2)analysis (3)sub conclusion if element met or not ; conclusion on it all elements met. Your rule statement just needs to be close enough. Even if you get it wrong, so long as you stick to the format and do an analysis of facts to your rule statement you’ll get most of the points.

Lastly, review and analyze 3rd party graded essay answers both passing and failing. Identify for yourself what shitty answers all have in common. Make sure you don’t do that. Identify what passing answers do and emulate. And finally, for each essay topic- practice writing the perfect intro paragraph and memorize it exactly. If your essay starts the way a passing essay does, and in the graders 30 second subsequent review has all the hallmarks of a passing essay, and none of indicators of a failing essay they just rubber stamp it.


Treat it like a job. Study from 8 to 5. Go work out!!! then dinner with some a mindless TV. Maybe do another hour of studying and go to bed. Fuel your body with good food and water.


M-F, 6-8 hours a day. No weekends, nothing more. Do what barbri/themis tell you to do. If you struggle with MBE, get the $300 program that specializes in MBE— I forget the name.


Adaptibar. That’s it


Critical Pass flash cards and stick to a regimented routine. Stay away from the booze.


The Emanuel MBE Strategies & Tactics book helped me the most (was in a non-UBE jurisdiction when I sat several years ago, but I imagine the book is applicable to UBE). Also, take time for yourself. Get a tan. Go to dinner. Do the things that bring you joy and relieve some stress. You’ll never feel prepared, but trust that you’ll know what you need to know once test day arrives.


Practice tests. As many as you can.


All of the above and I loved using Lean Sheets for the week prior to the exam - essentially a guide consisting of just a few pages for each section with the major topics outlined.


Themis has the same idea built in now.


Can’t rave enough abt the Emanuel book and the critical pass flashcards!! Clutch. Also, read previous nyc UBE exam questions and answers, it’s free online. You’ll start to see pattens in what type/topic of questions the examiners ask and how a good solid answer reads. Also JDadvising website predicts w very high accuracy the topics the MEE will test. Don’t rely 100% on them but if they predict a topic is going to be tested, know it. And start or acting earlier than you think, even if you feel like you don’t know enough substantive law to write a good answer, attempt then review the representative correct answer and grade/compare to your own. These tricks all helped me pass the second time I took the bar bc I def bombed the first lol. Lastly, do a few full practice MPTs bc they are long and exhausting, and just like physical exercise you have to train your body and brain to sit focused for so long. Good luck!!!!!!


*typo sorry: Start practicing MEEs earlier than you think


I actually made my own flash cards instead of buying the pre made ones and while it took a bit of extra time it ended up being the most useful tool!
Echoing the others - take time to do things for yourself.


Everyone has good advice, but it’s super personal. Experiment and make sure you’re studying the way you learn best. If something doesn’t seem to be working, iterate and try something new. Bar study is all about you.

That said, here’s what worked for me.

Themis. Don’t skip any practice essays or MBE questions, even on day 1. Make your own outlines (I typed quickly during lectures and made my own based on the Themis lecture notes handout). Revise as needed as you work on practice questions. I learn best by listening and taking notes, so I stopped reading the thick Themis outlines before lectures. I’d skim them after I had listened to lectures and made my outlines, or read them if I didn’t quite understand something or needed more detail. Make your own flash cards based on your outlines. Do all practice mbe questions and essays under time pressure. Study by yourself. Eat well, sleep well, exercise, and let yourself have some fun so you stay sane. Wear ear plugs while studying, and be sure you learn to insert them properly (they shouldn’t stick out past your ear lobe). Bring extra earplugs to the exam.

I took one day off each week, but sometimes studied 12+ hours a day the other days. I found that training my brain for focus for 12 hours (with meal breaks and snack/walk breaks every 3+ hours) helped prepare me to focus for “only” 6 hours on exam days.

Good luck!


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