Motivation Monday: Practice for Performance

Welcome to the Bar Exam Wizard! This is the first official post on what I hope will be a helpful, informative, and motivating blog for all those studying for a bar exam.

Today kicks off Motivation Mondays, so let’s get started…

The bar exam doesn’t test knowledge, but it does require it. Let me say that again: The bar exam doesn’t test knowledge, but it does require it. Yes, you have to memorize the material, but knowledge is just a small part of passing the bar. It’s about communicating both knowledge and understanding in the way the bar examiners expect it. Therefore, it’s not about what you want to say or how you want to say it. It’s all about the audience and making them happy. Your audience is the bar examiner/grader and in order to make them happy you have to first familiarize yourself with how the material will appear on the bar exam and then how to communicate your understanding of it. Let’s take essays as an example. At this stage, when you practice essays, don’t focus on simply answering the question. Instead, focus on figuring out how to construct a response to that question. Knowing the answer is easy but knowing how to do it is a bit more difficult so you must practice for performance.

  • Use your notes/outline to answer questions.
  • Don’t worry about time.
  • Be consistent in both form and substance: write what the bar examiners want in the way they want it.
  • Spend equal time doing and reviewing.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to use your notes/outline at this stage. You not only learn in context but it allows you focus on the “how” so in July you can focus on the “what.”

Is this the only way to study and prepare for the bar exam?  Of course not. Everyone learns and processes information differently so do what works best for your learning style. What matters is that you study the material every day and practice for performance. (KSK)

P.S. If you’re a Moritz law student, there is more information about writing bar exam essays on the Moritz College of Law Student tab under “Quick & Easy Guides” (password protected).

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