How to Prepare for the DC Bar Exam

how to prepare for the DC bar exam, Michigan bar exam essay courseHow to Prepare for the DC Bar Exam

How to Prepare for the DC Bar Exam: The District of Columbia adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) in July 2016. You need a minimum scaled score of 266 (out of a possible 400 points) to pass the exam. The DC bar exam does not have an additional jurisdiction-specific component that examinees must complete in order to become licensed. If you are wondering how to begin preparing for the DC bar exam, we have some tips for you!

How to Prepare for the DC Bar Exam

1. Create (or revise) your study schedule as needed.

No one knows what your daily commitments are better than you. Maybe you are looking after your kids or parents. Maybe you are working part-time or full time. Be realistic when you create your study schedule based on your other commitments. Not everyone will need to devote the same amount of time to each subject. Maybe you had a fantastic civil procedure professor and found yourself nodding off in your 8 AM real property class in law school. Do not be afraid to alter the schedule given to you by your commercial course. If you need to spend a few extra days on certain topics (e.g., mortgages, hearsay exceptions), do it! Read more here on how to create a UBE study schedule.

Once you begin studying for the DC bar exam, set aside ten to fifteen minutes each weekend to evaluate which study methods worked for you and which ones did not. Don’t waste your time by using ineffective study methods.

 2. Review the explanations for every multiple-choice question that you do.

Many students make the mistake of doing 40-50 questions a day and never taking the time to carefully review their answers. You will not see the score increases you are looking for if you practice this way. As you start studying, begin by doing 20-25 questions a day and reviewing your answers to every question the same day! Don’t assume you answered a question correctly for the right reasons. By reviewing your answers the same day it will take you less time because the fact patterns will still be fresh in your mind. There are only so many ways that the Examiners can test most of the issues, so the more time you spend reviewing the explanations the better you will become at identifying common testing patterns.

In fact, we suggest that you not only review them, but when you answer a question incorrectly, write down the law that you do not know on a legal pad. Then constantly go back to this legal pad and review whatever laws you did not know. This can help make your weakness your strength. It can also help you identify patterns in the types of questions you are answering incorrectly.

3. Read the Bar Examiners’ Analysis for every MEE question that you review.

The MEE accounts for 30% of your overall scaled score. Do not assume that certain subjects won’t show up! The Examiners are free to test any of the possible MEE subjects. Students often wonder if they spotted all of the issues or analyzed the issues correctly when they practice at home. Luckily, there is no need to wonder!

The NCBE releases Bar Examiners’ Analyses for each essay question! These are not model answers so don’t panic if your answer is not nearly as comprehensive (it shouldn’t be!). But it is an invaluable resource for reiterating the black letter law and understanding how to use the facts in your analysis. You can find the older MEE questions and analyses available for free on the NCBE website. Recent questions and analyses are available for purchase on the NCBE website.

4. Do not neglect the MPT!

The MPT is worth 20% of your overall scaled score for the DC bar exam — or the same as 70 multiple-choice questions! And this is the only portion of the exam for which you do not need to have any law memorized. Please take the MPT portion seriously!!! Once you feel comfortable with the various MPT tasks, this section can become one of your strongest ones! Keep in mind that each MPT is worth 10% of your overall score. Each MEE essay is only worth 5% of your overall score. A well-written MPT can definitely give your score a boost if you do not perform as well as you would like on the MEE.

As you do practice MPTs, make sure that you familiarize yourself with objective memoranda and persuasive briefs (the most highly tested tasks). But don’t forget to look at other tasks such as opinion letters and demand letters. It is also a good idea to do a few uncommon tasks so you won’t feel thrown if you encounter one on exam day. If you are looking for free MPT questions check out our post.

5. Do not save timed practice exams for the last two weeks of bar study!

Do not make the mistake of not doing any timed exams or saving them all until the last two weeks of bar study. It is better to do timed practice exams throughout the course of bar study so you can build your stamina and avoid test fatigue. For example, you can start off with 25 timed MBEs and two timed MEEs. Gradually work your way up to doing a timed set of 100 MBEs, six timed MEEs, and two timed MPTs. You want know early on whether you struggle with timing so you can work on it gradually. If you are looking for ways to improve your timing on a particular portion of the exam (MBE, MEE, MPT) check out our posts.

Additional Uniform Bar Exam Resources:

If you are looking for additional help to prepare for the Uniform Bar Exam, we offer the following resources:

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at your convenience.

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.

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