How much do you really know about the bar exam? Here are some of the common bar exam misconceptions we often encounter while working with students:
- You have to know everything about the law to pass.
Simply put, it’s impossible to know everything. Even the most distinguished lawyers don’t know everything about the law! To attain success on the bar exam, the key is to gain a basic understanding of fundamental law concepts and how to apply them, not to memorize every detail of every subtopic.
- The February bar is harder than the July bar.
Some examinees hesitate to take the February exam, assuming that the consistently lower national pass rate reflects a higher level of difficulty. Pay no attention to the statistics – the July bar is equally as difficult as the February bar. The stats are not a reflection of the exam itself, but rather a result of other influential factors. For example, those who did not pass in July are more likely to take the exam again in February. And, unfortunately, examinees retaking the bar exam are less likely to pass.
(Note: if you are a bar exam retaker, we are here to help. Be sure to check out the AdaptiBar MBE Simulator for Retakers.)
- The bar exam tests how well you memorize the law.
Sure, you have to memorize a ton of information. But that’s not the point of the bar exam. The bar exam is not testing your memorization skills, Rather, it is designed to measure your ability to apply law concepts to a simulated situation. That means that it is critical that you spend considerable time applying your knowledge of the law through activities such as answering practice MBE questions and writing essays vs. simply memorizing information.
- The more MBE questions you answer, the more prepared you’ll be for the exam.
Quality is always favorable over quantity. Simply going through the motions by answering as many MBE questions as possible is easily accomplishable and does not mean that you are actually learning the law. To truly be prepared come exam day, focus first on evaluating which law concept each question is asking you to apply. Then, be sure that you fully understand why you got an answer correct or incorrect before moving forward.
- The bar exam is designed to trick you.
This statement is perhaps the most common misconception about the bar, as many exam-takers are convinced that the MBE and essay questions are worded to mislead them into picking incorrect answer choices. However, while many questions are undeniably confusing, they are ultimately intended to test your ability to see beyond the surface level of the law and apply more substantial concepts that require analysis and thorough law comprehension. In short, the bar exam tests your ability to think like a lawyer.
- Following your comprehensive course schedule is enough to pass.
Once bar preppers get into the thick of bar prep, many find areas in which they are just not feeling confident. We recommend that you use study techniques that actively test your ability to apply law concepts and teach you how to approach each section of the exam. That may look like taking physical notes during video lectures, making your own flashcards, or enrolling in a bar prep supplement like AdaptiBar MBE Simulator to work additional, real MBE questions released by the NCBE.
- As long as you receive a high essay score, it doesn’t matter how you perform on the MBE.
Regardless of how they are weighted, the MBE and essay sections of the bar exam are both important. In order to pass, you must demonstrate proficiency and achieve adequate scores in both. However, if you find that your performance is stronger in one section over the other, focus primarily on studying your bar exam weakness to boost your overall score.
Remember, AdaptiBar is here to boost your confidence when you need it.