The End Is Near – What to Do During the Last Week of Bar Prep
When there’s only one week to go until the bar exam, you’re probably feeling the panic creep in. You wonder how you can possibly learn all that you don’t know in the last week of bar prep. Stress levels reach and ultimate high. The key to keeping that panic at bay, however, is to make the best use of your valuable time. You can still get a lot out of that last week of bar prep – as long as you use your time wisely. In this post, we tell you how to maximize your last week of studying for the bar exam.
The End Is Near – What to Do During the Last Week of Bar Prep
If you’ve covered everything at least once, you might be stuck wondering where to go from there. With only a week to go, there might not be time to get through everything again. That’s why prioritization is the key to the last week of bar prep. Here are some tips on what you need to emphasize during the stretch run:
1. Focus on the subjects that are weighted the heaviest.
Since there are multiple parts to most states’ bar exams, a lot of subjects are tested twice. For example, there are a decent number of subjects that are tested on both the MBE and state essay exams. This means that there opportunities to earn even more points if you really understand these subjects. During your last week of bar prep, focus on learning the material that is going to get you the most points. Spend less time on the subjects that don’t turn up as often.
So, basically you want to focus on all of the MBE subjects: Civil Procedure, Contracts & Sales, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law & Procedure, Real Property, Evidence and Torts. You also want to focus on state subjects you are very likely to see. (If you are in an MEE state, look at our frequency charts here. If you are in Michigan, these are subjects like Family Law, Personal Property, Professional Responsibility, Wills/Trusts, among others. See our Michigan bar exam frequency chart here.
2. Concentrate on the highly tested topics within each subject
For each subject on the bar exam, there are certain issues and topics that tend to be tested over and over. Hopefully your materials have helped you identify these areas, and you can concentrate your efforts there.
- For the MBE, here are the highly tested MBE topics that you should focus on.
- For the MEE, here are the highly tested MEE topics.
The last week of bar prep is the time to focus on what information has the greatest chance of being on the exam. Don’t spend that time working out the nuances of minor or obscure rules that aren’t likely to be tested. Go subject by subject and review those highly tested topics so that you are prepared for them!
3. Focus on the topics that are predicted to come up.
The last thing you may truly want to focus on are topics/subjects that are predicted to come up.
We make MEE subject predictions as well as Michigan bar exam predictions every bar exam. (We also predict topics, which we cover in our seminars). Even if you do not use our predictions, look at some bar exam essay frequency charts (or MEE frequency charts if you are in a MEE or UBE state) and make your own predictions. Don’t rely on any predictions too much – just make sure that you are covering what could be coming up at least one last time.
The important take away from steps 1-3 is you are reviewing what you are most likely to see – the highly tested subjects, highly tested topics, and predictions!
4. Review your weak areas or areas you have been neglecting.
Be honest with yourself. What have you not been doing or what have you been struggling with?
- Have you not taken one timed exam? Add some in the beginning this week.
- Have you not attempted any MPTs? Make MPTs a priority.
- Do you struggle with timing? Work on some methods this week.
- Do you struggle with Evidence but love Torts? Then spend more time on Evidence than Torts.
Focus on what you don’t understand, what you’re struggling to complete. Then hopefully when you walk into the room on test day you’ll be prepared to handle anything.
5. Get mentally and physically prepared.
Physically prepare: During the last week of bar prep your first thought might be to work yourself even harder! Don’t do that! Make sure you are still eating, sleeping, and taking plenty of breaks. You’ve made it this far, you don’t want to wear yourself out now! You just have to make it one more week, and then you can sleep for days if you want!
One other thing to make sure you do is to get your body on the proper sleep cycle for the bar exam. If you’ve been staying up really late to study and then sleeping in a little, work on getting up a bit earlier each day so that you are ready for the early mornings the bar exam will bring. Make sure that you will be able to fall asleep at an appropriate time the night before the exam. Keep your body in the best shape possible – don’t let things go now that you’re so close!
Mentally prepare: Remember the bar exam is also very much something you need to be mentally prepared for. Two of our favorite tips are to practice visualization, and to “get excited” for the bar exam (as your score will statistically speaking, be higher!). Please read this post to learn more about visualization and how you can boost your score by getting in the right mindset.
Pack: Lastly, if you are traveling to the bar exam, get packed up! Here is a lovely bar exam day checklist, packing list, and to-do list! Go through it carefully and make sure you have everything you need!
Laura Sigler, a JD Advising bar exam essay grader, who graduated cum laude from Wayne State University Law School wrote this post.
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In addition, we offer private tutoring for several state bar exams as well as the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). Also, check out our highly regarded Uniform Bar Exam course if you are interested in a full-service approach to the uniform bar exam. We also offer many other options if you are taking the UBE (MEE one-sheets, an MEE seminar, an MEE course, among others!).
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Ashley Heidemann is the owner and founder of JD Advising. Ms. Heidemann scored over a 180 on the Michigan Bar Exam in February of 2011 after graduating as the #1 student in her law school class of over 200 students in 2011. She, as well as a team of others, offer bar exam courses, seminars, and private tutoring for bar exam students nationwide. This includes services for the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) and Michigan bar exam. Please click here to contact her company, with any questions.