How to Best Use a Constitutional Law Outline to Study for the Bar

Constitutional Law Outline Study Bar

If the bar exam is in your future, you need to make sure you have a solid plan in place for tackling one of the core subjects tested, Constitutional Law.

The best way to study for Con Law? Use a constitutional law outline. That’s rightjust like in your 1L year, you’re going to use a Constitutional Law outline to succeed.

Find a solid Constitutional Law outline

To start you’re going to need to find a really good Constitutional Law outline to use. There are some not-so-good outlines floating around, and you shouldn’t waste a minute of your crucial bar prep time on a bad outline. So, to save you some time and ensure you’re using a solid constitutional law outline, we’ve got two recommendations to get you started:

  • Emanuel Law Outlines: Constitutional Law – While this outline has a lot more than you’re likely to need for the bar exam, it’s a great place to get started. Be sure to compare it with some of the other outlines available for bar study to ensure you don’t cover any topics not tested.
  • Constitutional Law – Quick Study Pamphlet – This tool will be essential to helping you remember the major Con Law topics tested. I’d recommend carrying it with you while you study for the bar and use it as a study tool to quiz yourself on the more complex issues not captured in the handout.

No matter what Constitutional Law outline you choose to study from, be sure to check it against  the NCBE Subject Matter Outline, which details all the topics tested on the MBE. For Constitutional Law, the focus is on four key areas: judicial review, separation of powers, relationship between states and the federal government, and individual rights. Be sure not to waste any time studying a topic that you won’t see on the bar exam!

Actively engage with the Constitutional Law outline

Just like during your 1L year, you can’t simply read the Constitutional Law Outline and then pass the test with flying colors. You have to know the outline inside and out by engaging with the content.

Do you study best through flashcards or quizzing in a group setting? Whatever has worked for you in the past will work for the bar exam. Keep in mind, however, that while your law school exams were likely all essay format, constitutional law will be tested through multiple choice questions on the Multistate Bar Exam.

No matter how best you study, you’re going to have to actively engage with your Constitutional Law outline. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can just read and reread the outline and do well on the bar exam. You’re going to need to know your outlines backwards and forwards. So, be sure to quiz yourself or have someone else quiz you on all of the content in your outline.

One easy way to work with your outline is to rewrite your outline every couple of weeks to include less detail and quiz yourself on the information that’s missing. By the last week or two of preparing for the bar, you should be able to rewrite the entire Constitutional Law outline from memory. That’s no easy task but neither is passing the bar exam!

Complete Constitutional Law practice problems

In addition to studying from your Constitutional Law outline, you’re going to need to incorporate some MBE practice problems into your bar exam study plan. Practicing actual MBE questions is the only way to ensure you truly understand the content being tested on the MBE and to familiarize yourself with the structure and timing of MBE problems. Lucky for you the NCBE has four practice MBE exams available for purchase so you can get a lot of practice before the bar exam.

Additionally, you can find lots of Constitutional Law (and other MBE subjects) practice problems using an MBE book. These books contain not only loads of practice problems but also detailed explanations. The key to making the most of your MBE practice is to spend time reviewing all of your answerseven the ones you got rightto ensure you understand exactly why an answer is correct. Knowing this will help you get the answer right on the actual MBE where every point matters.

Note: Constitutional law is tested not only on the MBE portion of the Uniform Bar Exam, but also on the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) portion of the UBE. Be sure to incorporate essay practice into your Constitutional Law studying once you’ve done sufficient work memorizing the outline and completing MBE practice problems.  And don’t forget to review the MEE Subject Matter Outline provided by the NCBE to see the other topics tested on the MEE.

Takeaway

To make the best use of your Constitutional Law outline when studying for the bar exam, you need to select the best outline and engage with the content in the outline through memorization techniques and practice problems. If you do all of these things, you’ll do well on the Constitutional Law questions on the bar exam!

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