Friday, May 29, 2009

How friends can help me pass the bar

One of the professors at DePaul runs a bar exam preparation class in the spring semester for graduating 3Ls, and he gave us a handout that's oriented toward explaining bar exam preparation to friends and family.

Since I've gotten lots of questions and a fair amount of misunderstanding about bar preparation, I thought I would pass it along.


Why bar exams are hard:
  • They test some subjects students didn't learn in law school.
  • They test many o the subjects students learn during law school, but unlike law school exams, bar exams test all the subjects at the same time.
  • Their formats are different from law school exam formats.
  • They require students to memorize thousands of pieces of information.
  • They are necessary for getting a license to practice law and have a reputation for being difficult - facts that put enormous pressure on bar takers.
Whats involved in passing the bar exam:
  • Studying at least 600 hours
  • Attending dozens of lectures
  • Writing dozens of practice essay answers
  • Completing at least 2,000 practice multiple choice questions
  • Memorizing thousands of pieces of information
  • Using analytical skills that are difficult to master
  • Managing time to complete all these tasks while making sure to get sufficient sleep, exercise, and nutrition
  • Managing stress so that it doesn't interfere with exam preparation or performance
What you can do to help a bar taker pass the bar exam:
  • Understand the bar review process.
  • Avoid making demands on the bar taker during the preparation and exam process.
  • Avoid major conflicts and confrontations with the bar taker.
  • Be patient and sympathetic if the bar taker seems tense or anxious.
  • Be a source of support if the bar taker needs your support.
  • Help the bar taker practice recalling the law he or she needs to know by testing the bar taker's memorization.
  • Run interference with people who might make demands on the bar taker's time and attention.
  • Take on day-to-day tasks for the bar taker, such as doing laundry, cooking, and cleaning.

OK, so those last few were for Dave, mainly, but you get the picture. Hope this has been a scary foray into my life studying for the Illinois bar exam...

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