Memorize Every Single Rule. (A lesson in how NOT to study)

When I go back and analyze the process I went through while I was attempting to cram my brain full of as many rules as possible, I find that my study methods were hopelessly inefficient. The one thing you will find out as you study is that inefficiency leads to stress, and the last thing you need this summer is extra stress. As it turns out, trying to memorize every single last rule in the book is not necessarily the best, or most realistic, way to prepare for this exam. In reality, there are simply too many rules and not enough brain space.  At some point you need to come to terms with the fact that you will not know the answer to every single question on the exam.

However, there is good news, I promise! You don’t actually need to know every single rule. Here’s the secret: this exam is all about points, and you can still score points even when you have absolutely no idea what on earth the question is asking you. The rules are only half the battle. The bar examiners also want to know if you can think (three years of law school apparently being an inadequate test of your brain power). You have to know what to do with those rules once you’re confronted with the various questions on the exam.

Your bar exam preparation should have two components; studying the rules of law and practicing your ability to analyze and reason. For example, when the bar examiners are reading your essay answers half of your points will be based on your proper use of the rules of law, and the other half will based on your ability to properly reason out the answer.  I’m telling you this because if you know what the bar examiners are looking for, then you know how to focus your bar preparation. The end result?  Less stress!

If you’ve ever taken a class with Professor Marino, you know that he emphasizes analytical reasoning as much as he emphasizes the rules of law. Since his law school classes are oriented towards getting students ready for the summer of bar review, he always makes sure to teach test taking methodology. Each section of the bar exam, the Essays, the MBE and the MPT, requires its own particular methodology. You need to make sure that you not only understand each methodology, but that you build time into your study schedule to put the methods into practice.


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