Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Few Questions About Studying

As the results from the July exam start coming in, I've been receiving questions from students regarding how to begin preparing for February. I thought I'd share a few of them here, as others may likely have similar questions. Below, I'll post the questions, and how I responded to them:

Do you recommend reading the full outlines? Or just Conviser?

I think it's best to make conviser your primary source, and use the long outlines to clarify info you're not grasping. The long outlines provide nice examples, but using them as your primary source is often overkill, and can be detrimental. So much of studying for the bar exam comes down to studying smart, and using the long outlines will leave very little time to go back and review the subjects numerous times. Repetition is the key to success, so studying smart requires studying outlines that will allow for repetition.

Do you recommend typing my own outlines?

Whether you type the outlines is really a personal choice. My opinion is that it's very time-consuming and you'd be better off reading, and re-reading, the outlines. You might consider writing flashcards for areas that are causing you difficulty, however. But to re-write outlines, even those parts of the outlines that you are not having difficulty with, strikes me as a waste of time, and time is so important while studying.

When should I start studying? I want to make sure that I leave enough time to study, but I don't want to overstudy.

The sooner you start studying, the better. Waste no time. More time means less pressure. I would not be concerned with over-studying. It'll simply make you more confident in February.

**This next question is specific to those studying for the Florida Bar Exam who have passed the Florida portion but need to re-take the MBE.

Do you recommend just studying for the MBE or retaking the full exam? There is the theory that I could better my chances of passing since I could benefit from the averaging of the scores. (However, I think that I should just focus on the MBE since that was clearly a weakness and I won't run the risk of being overwhelmed with learning more information.)

I would just take the MBE. Especially with the new subjects being tested on the Florida portion this coming February, that's a burden best avoided, definitely. I've found that students who have had trouble with the MBE have much less trouble when they are not burdened by the numerous other subjects that are required for the state portion of the exam. When you're able to spend a few months focusing only the subjects tested on the MBE, the test becomes a lot less overwhelming, and the end result is generally a much higher score.

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