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TL;DR Use Themis + Spaced Repetition There is a ton of advice on the internet, particularly on TLS, but I wanted to throw my two cents in while its still fresh in my mind. I am not a particularly amazing law student (middle of the pack at UT), yet I earned a 797/1000 on the Texas bar (passing is 675/1000) and my MBE scaled score was 168 (top 5% for MBE). I have very bad detail memory and I struggle to spit out verbatim law, yet I was still able to demolish the exam.
Which brings me to my first point. Use Spaced Repetition (SRS) to memorize black letter law. Every year in the spring the founder of SRS comes on here and whores out his 'genius' flashcard program. Well, I ponied up the hundred bucks and tried it knowing I needed something to address my inability to memorize rule statements. It ended up being an absolute godsend and I think it's a huge reason I did so well on the exam. Basically the program has a bunch of MBE flash cards that you rank based on how well you've memorized it, then it creates an algorithm which will show you the cards you're bad at and refresh your memory from time to time on the cards you're solid on.
It doesn't have premade cards for the essays, but there are some user created decks out there, although quality is mixed. However, I found it immensely helpful to create my own decks for the essay questions. I basically copied the Themis Final Review Outlines/Lecture outlines onto flash cards and studied those. The key benefit to SRS over other flash cards like Critical Pass is that it focuses your attention on your weakest subjects and automatically keeps track. Because it's available on your phone, SRS really filled in a lot of the 'cracks' in bar study. It allowed me to brush up on a few concepts every time I went to the bathroom, or was stuck in the never ending whataburger drive-through lane, or during wedding ceremonies (true story).
That time really adds up. Although SRS is a great supplement, the bulk of my time was spent with Themis Bar Review, which is FUCKING EXCELLENT. All of the MBE lecturers are solid, and you will get to learn Property and Wills from the super sexy wisecracking Zachary Kramer. Dude was awesome and made two of the worst subjects pretty enjoyable. The whole program is very tight, and you can tell a lot of thought has been put in to maximize pass rates. They're also the only company that universally publishes their pass rates.
If Barbri and Kaplan had the same or higher rates you can bet your ass they'd publish them. I'm not trying to sound like a Themis shill, but that was one of the main reasons I went with them (it's also cheaper).
Additionally, my friends who did Themis seemed to universally get higher scores than those who took Barbri. This is obviously super anecdotal, with a sample size of like, 6 people, but still. One of my Themis friends got an 826 which is very close to being the highest score on the test (842 was the highest in Feb).
I completed 88% of Themis, and did over 2,500 MBE questions, and all of the graded essays. Drilling MBE questions is a top priority, and most people say you should do 2,000 bare minimum, and 2,500 if you want a really good chance of passing. I incorporated that advice and I absolutely smoked the MBE. The Themis questions are always way harder than the actual MBE questions, but they make you really think through each part of the law, and the exceptions. There's no getting around the hard work to prepare for the exam. Of the few people I know that failed they didn't work as hard as they should, started late, or took vacations during prep time. Don't fuck around with your prep.
I studied 7 days a week from mid-May all the way to exam day. My daily schedule was basically: Wake up (review SRS cards in bed and on the shitter), shower, eat breakfast (while reviewing SRS), then do Themis lectures till lunch, then again until Dinner where I would take a break to cook and watch an episode of Better Call Saul, then back to it until 10pm or so. Then I would review SRS cards one more time in bed before I fell asleep. The reality is that you don't want to leave anything to chance on this exam. Work your hardest and leave it all out on the field. Do not take days off, you do not want to second guess your preparation for the 3+ months you have to wait for results. You're going to feel like shit after you take the exam, don't compound your worries.
That brings me to my last point, how I felt when I took the test. Like literally everyone else who takes the exam, I felt like I failed It felt like I was guessing on most of the MBE questions, but what I realized is that by the time you get to the bar exam your intuition is so sharp that you will usually pick the right answer. Again, I scored in the top 5% on the MBE and it felt like I guessed on the vast majority of questions. The essays were a similar story. I straight made up law on a couple questions and was so afraid that I had completely failed.
Again, Themis had prepared me better than I realized, and my intuition turned out to be correct, which lead to a really high score. People say that you should only study enough to pass, and that it doesn't matter if you pass by 1 or by 100.
Let me tell you, that's some bullshit. It feels awesome to score high on the exam. It feels wonderful to know that I never even came close to failing. I have friends who failed by 5 or 6 points, and friends that passed by 1-2 points. The latter friends are lucky as hell that they didn't fail. Don't leave anything up to chance. Work your ass off, use proven programs like Themis and SRS, and you WILL succeed.
I was concerned with my score since July. It would not have suprised me if I failed. My score was very high, including a 163 on the mbe. I used Themis and no other tools. IMO: Bad-Themis lectures sucked, except Contracts and Payment.
The assessments we're awful and I skipped most of them. The Writing Portion help I got was worthless. My helper gave me two essays with 3 sentences but half the points, twice; they even told me to check the law even though it was 100% correct. Good-Their mbe questions were fantastic, and the essays we're great. The MBE obviously prepped me better than I thought it would, because there is so much. Their practice MBE really made me learn the system instead of memorizing the law.
It benefited me much bigly to take the Texas day 1 classes(tx Crim, Pretrial), and Secured Transactions/Consumer my final semester. It's like I rolled into the bar 20% done. All I needed for Crim Pro was a good TX Crim Pro class, as I didn't take Fed Crim Pro.
I did not take agency, corps, marital prop, and payment out of the main bar classes. It was no sweat learning them during the prep course. There was also a Guardianship clinic offered duirng the summer, and my school let alumni go free, so an easy way to learn something while bar prepping. Good luck to all the Feb takers and future 3Ls!
“You some type of lawyer or something? / Somebody important or something?
/ Well, I ain’t passed the bar, but I know a little bit / Enough that you won’t illegally search my sh.t.” — Now that the bar exam season has officially commenced, many mentees and friends have approached me for studying tips. Several are enrolled in bar prep courses (such as, and ), while a few others have decided to self-study for this beast of an examination. The one big advantage of a bar prep course is the forced undertaking of a regimented study schedule. After all, if you fail to plan to set a schedule for bar prep, you are likely planning to fail the bar exam.
While I can’t speak directly to the success of any particular bar prep program, I do have seven specific tips for those of you who plan on taking the July, 2018 exam. As the pass rates continue to plummet (see, and ) for test takers, anxiety and stress continue to skyrocket for future exam candidates. Bar Hero for the MBE (free) — Before I was able to get my hands on a couple of past bar prep books with hundreds of MBE multiple-choice questions, I started my bar exam journey with. Bar Hero is a free review and preparation program that focuses exclusively on the MBE part of the bar.
As its website notes: “Our practice tests are designed to resemble as closely as possible the types of questions that we expect will appear in the MBE.”. I found Bar Hero’s program to be both fun and easy. How many bar exam tools can you say that about? Flash Cards for the MBE — Flash cards are another great resource for studying on the go, traveling, or during short breaks. But really who am I kidding? I often spent a couple hours at a time reviewing flash cards and failing my many memory self-tests.
But slowly and surely enough, after enough hours in the trenches, the content on these cards became second-nature to me. I used an MBE flashcard set from and I highly recommend you do the same. State Bar Websites for Past MPT, Short Answer, and Essay Questions (free) — As a self-studier, I spent a lion’s share of my time reviewing past exam questions and answers offered on my respective state bar’s website. The state bar’s resource was invaluable for me to understand what exactly bar examiners are looking for.
You should not underestimate, especially when crafting your essays (found on the state bar website):. Carefully read the question and the “call of the question”. Pay attention to the facts presented without assuming additional facts. Include more than a mere conclusion when asked to explain the answer fully.
Respond to the “call of the question” (what the question asks you to do) and stay on track. Practice writing in complete sentences and composing paragraphs. Organize your responses, and answer subparts, if any, in the order asked. Strive for clarity and good communication in writing. Avoid lengthy or unnecessary discussion of general or extraneous matters. Delete Social Media Apps from Your Phone — I’m a big disciple of.
One of the best things I did during bar prep was delete Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn from my phone. It definitely helped me to work deeply, reduce distractions, and develop my concentration. If you are truly committed to passing the bar, I highly recommend you get rid of social media apps on your phone for the next two months. Yes, this may be the ultimate sacrifice for Millennials.
Set Weekly Goals — The benefits of a bar prep course is that it dictates a schedule for you to follow. Before I began my bar studies, I actually asked my friends in various bar prep courses to send me their schedules so I could measure myself against the various bar prep programs’ key results. I recently read John Doerr’s book and it speaks directly to goal setting. Doerr’s management principle of “OKRs” defines “Objectives” as what we seek to achieve and “Key Results” as top-priority goals that will be attained with specific, measurable actions within a set time frame. Here, your objective is to pass the bar.
Accordingly, you should set eight weekly key results to help you climb this scaffold. Play Your Own Game — For the best results or on the bar exam, you have to focus on your own game and what works for you. A few years back, I covered chess Grandmaster at St. Louis University. I ended the piece by writing, “We may all start from a different opening set, but it is how we play the game that will ultimately determine our fate.” You have to discover what works for you and stick with it.
Why waste your time playing someone else’s game?. Every minute you spend comparing yourself to someone else, you are taking away from your own peace and happiness. Or as Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich wrote in her 1997 column: “Don’t waste time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.” 7.
Texas Bar Exam Essay Topics
The Finish Line will Feel Terrible — I wonder if anyone who completes a marathon feels physically, mentally, and spiritually amazing when they cross the finish line. And I don’t know anyone who felt great about it in the foggy days following the mental marathon race. Just remember, worrying is like a rocking chair, sure it gives you something to do, but it never gets you anywhere. So when you are finished with the bar exam, do your best to put it in the back of your mind. Don’t beat yourself up over questions you could’ve answered better. If you truly gave it your best shot, then you should have no regrets.
Texas Bar Exam Essay Subjects
You have just one last hoop to jump through to become a lawyer. Having to retake an exam isn’t the end of the world. I hope this advice is practical for you and helps to reduce any heartburn and headaches you are feeling from this unrelenting (societal and self-made) pressure.
As always, if you have a good story regarding your bar exam journey, we invite you to share it with us at. Is the Diversity Columnist at Above the Law. You can contact Renwei by email at, follow him on Twitter , or connect with him on.