A solid bar exam study guide that works with your schedule is critical to passing the bar exam. That’s why we’ve developed a six month plan for students whose schedules won’t allow for the standard two- to three-month schedule. This is the bar exam study guide for students who are working full-time or have other commitments that require a longer period of study.
Studying for the bar exam over six months will require a lot of stamina, so be prepared for a very demanding six months. Luckily, you’re used to grueling schedules from law school, so you’re definitely up for this challenge. Let’s jump into your bar exam study guide by looking at the study materials you’ll need.
Your Bar Exam Study Guide
Essential Study Materials for the 6-Month Bar Exam Study Guide
Materials to Purchase
- Pick the best UBE prep book for you.
- Choose an MBE book.
- Check out the National Conference of Bar Examiners study materials.
Weeks 1 and 2
- Finalize your bar exam plans like travel or hotel arrangements, if necessary.
- Set out your bar exam study guide.
- Familiarize yourself with the MBE, MEE, and MPT.
- Start making your own flashcards.
- Your success on the bar exam depends on you sticking to your study guide. You need to study for 15-20 hours a week for 6 months, so make sure to set up your schedule to allow for that amount of studying.
- Decide now how you will manage the stress of the upcoming weeks. You need a plan in place now to ensure you can get through this intense time and anything that may come up during the next few months. You cannot fall behind while you’re studying, so figure out any help you may need during the next few months, like some extra money in your budget for lots of takeout!
- Order all the materials you plan to study with if you haven’t already!
- Establish your day-to-day schedule based on your individual needs. Keep in mind that your daily schedule will differ from a typical student’s day who is studying for the bar over only two to three months.
- Take some time and learn about the three sections of the UBE—the MBE, MEE, and the MPT—and how they’re scored and structured. Studying for an essay topic on the MEE is very different than a multiple choice question on the MBE. Learn the difference now so you get the most out of your studying!
Weeks 3 and 4
- Start your substantive law review.
- Study substantive law areas for MBE, MPT and MEE.
- Spend these weeks learning two of the seven substantive law topics for the MBE, Constitutional Law and Criminal Law. Focus on only these two at this time—you’ll add new topics throughout this study guide. You should plan to spend at least an hour a day reviewing each topic, and an hour or two doing practice problems, essays, and flashcards.
- Since the MBE makes up half of your bar exam score, you need to start practicing MBE questions right away and throughout your months of study. Plan on a few hours each week of MBE practice problems during the entire six months of study.
- Remember that studying for the bar exam is different than studying in law school. The trick to the bar exam is memorization. Your mantra for the next couple of months is memorize, memorize, memorize. Break out those flashcards, find a willing friend or two, and get started memorizing!
Weeks 5 to 8
- Add two additional MBE law topics.
- Continue MBE practice problems.
- Use your flashcards to memorize!
- In the same way you learned the first two MBE topics, commit to learning two additional MBE topics: Contracts and Civil Procedure. Stay focused on learning these topics and committing all of the information to memory. Watch lessons or read through your outlines in the morning, and then review what you’ve learned in the afternoon through flashcards and MBE practice problems.
- Stay strong. Bar exam prep is no easy task but you have to keep going. Find ways to stay calm and have some fun during this time. Your brain needs breaks to keep learning—what better excuse for an afternoon at the pool?
Weeks 9 to 12
- Learn two more MBE topics.
- Learn the substantive law topics for the MEE.
- Learn two more MBE topics—Real Property and Torts. Only one more topic to learn after these two!
- As you learned in Week 1, the MEE is made up of six, 30-minute essays on a range of topics. The MEE topics tested are primarily the same as those on the MBE, so luckily you’ve been studying those for two months now! Your goal now is to review the areas of law not on the MBE, and practice writing responses to the MEE questions in the time allotted. Aim to complete at least four practice MEE essays this month, and review sample answers to see where you can improve.
- Learn the MPT strategies that will help you get the most points on this UBE section. Then, try practicing these strategies by completing practice MPTs with a timer. And remember practice makes for a passing bar exam score (perfection not required)!
Weeks 13 to 16
- Learn final MBE topic.
- Continue MEE practice.
- Complete practice essays and practice MPTs.
- Learn your final MBE topic—Evidence.
- Complete four practice MEE essays and review sample responses. Note areas where you could have improved your answer so you can grab those points on the real bar exam.
- Take the time to complete at least one practice MPT with a timer. MPTs are often neglected by students, but it’s critical that you practice reviewing all the facts and laws you’ll be given, and writing a response within the limited time. You want to get as many points as possible on the MPT, and the only way to do this is to practice and compare your answers with the point sheets provided by NCBE.
Weeks 17 to 20
- Review substantive law.
- Continue MBE practice problems.
- Complete MEE essays and one MPT.
- By now, you’ve learned all of the MBE topics. Now’s the time to commit all you can to memorization, and practice what you’ve learned through MBE practice problems. You should try to complete a few hours of MBE practice problems each week and review the answers thoroughly.
- Complete at least two additional MEE prompts and review the sample answers.
- Complete one additional MPT. Many students ignore this step, but MPT practice is critical to ensuring you get the most points possible on the day of the bar exam. Remember all points are equal on the bar exam—your goal is just to get as many points on the MPT as you can!
Weeks 21 to 24
- Review substantive law.
- Do enough MBE practice problems to keep them fresh.
- Get on the sleep schedule you’ll need for taking the bar exam.
- Confirm bar exam transportation and lodging.
- Take a full length MBE and review extensively. Set aside a full day and take an entire MBE under test-like conditions. This means leaving your phone and any other distractions at home, and reserving a room at the library. You’ll need to set aside seven hours: three hours for one session, one hour for lunch, and three hours for another session. It’s going to be a grueling day so be sure to have a nice treat waiting for you at the end!
- Spend your final month of study doing a final review of all substantive areas of law. Focus on any weaker areas, but don’t completely ignore your strengths. You want everything to be fresh when you’re walking into the bar exam.
- Continue working through MBE practice problems and MEE prompts. Spend time reviewing the correct answer choices and sample essay responses but don’t focus too much on your mistakes. Remember you don’t have to a get a perfect score to pass the bar, so just keep learning as much as you can!
- Set your sleep schedule the week before the bar exam. Now is the time to go to bed and get up at the times you’ll need to on the days of the bar exam. And be sure to set out your test day plan for food, transportation, etc.!
- Stay strong! You’ve done an incredible amount of work to get to this point. Keep your head up and push through this final month of study. You’re so close to being done with studying forever!
By following this bar exam study guide, you can be sure that you’ll study all the areas of law you need to pass the uniform bar exam. Follow this guide, including developing ways to keep your stress in check, and you’ll conquer the uniform bar exam in six months!
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