Your bar exam success strongly depends on how you approach and prepare.
Around 50,000 law grads (J.D.s and LL.M.s) all over the world are now preparing for their U.S. bar exams coming in July 2017. If you are one of them, this post will inspire you to succeed.
The question that concerns a vast majority of bar test applicants is how to pass it. In other words, how not to fail?
With this in mind, I’ll tell you my story about how I prepared for and passed the New York bar exam. It will definitely cheer you up!
This post, in particular, describes my bar exam difficulties, results, and prep tool.
First things first.
As a SLU LAW LL.M. of 2007, I decided to take the New York bar exam in 2014. My preparation hence came along with the following difficulties:
- Over 7 years passed between my LL.M. graduation and exam;
- The prep concurred with full-time work;
- The study gradually stretched from minimal to intensive for up to 5 months;
- The bar exam was in 10-day proximity to the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE);
- The exam covered 16 subjects;
- Over 80% of the bar exam study materials (e.g., criminal law and procedure, evidence etc) were completely new for me;
- The study approach was extraordinary;
- I took the risk of trying a new bar prep course described below;
- I had no single live bar prep lecture in the U.S. – all prep took place in Ukraine;
- English was still my foreign language;
- I arrived to the U.S. a week before the exam day with a jet lag of 7 hours; and
- The exam auditorium was terribly freezing and distracting.
Shortly speaking, everything appeared to be unfavorable. Needles to say, the NY bar exam was the hardest examination I have ever taken. Nothing – no GMAT or GRE, which I personally took as well – gets even close. Besides, the so-called “golden standard” bar test was even tougher than its current UBE format.
So, if you have any difficulties with your bar prep, don’t panic. Rather, take a look at my list above. Like mine, your hardships may, in fact, be beneficial. Aware of them, you train more and more.
I was a first-time bar test taker. For me, it was important to pass on the first try. This goal, at the same time, seemed to be overoptimistic. As a matter of fact, some colleagues unfortunately tried 2-3 times. In my case, a second try could simply never happen.
Having received an email from the Board of Law Examiners, I immediately spot “congratulates you on passing the New York State bar examination”.
I could not believe that I managed to pass both the New York bar exam and the MPRE on the very first attempt. That’s in spite of the obstacles outlined above. When I found out the result, I could not be happier. That was one of the best joys in a lifetime. Whether anything can ever beat that excitement is yet to see.
Likewise, once you pass your bar exam, you will sense the meaning of this statement: Nothing is impossible. The rewarding feeling is truly worthy. It will likely be one of the happiest moments of your life.
In July 2014, some 11,195 people took the NY bar exam, out of which 7,265 passed it. The pass rate was 65%. That pass rate of less than 2/3 was historically among the lowest. This data flows from the 2014 Statistics (see the bottom of page 10) of the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE).
It goes without saying that the NY bar exam, especially its previous (i.e., pre-UBE) version, was among the toughest in the U.S. The primary rival was the California bar exam. Regardless, around 80% of all LL.M. graduates sitting for the U.S. bar exams do that in the New York State.
After all, the main goal to pass a bar exam – like to study law in the first place – is to get an attorney license. It allows to practice law.
Bar Exam Prep
In view of the difficulties discussed above, I needed an effective and efficient way to prepare for the NY bar exam. I googled all the bar prep courses available out there and stumbled upon one that appeared to be particularly appealing. It was most affordable and convenient.
Hardly known at the time, that bar review provided the following benefits:
- Success rate higher than the state average by over 10 p.p.;
- Reasonable price of over 4-5 times cheaper than other sound bar reviews, such as BarBri or Kaplan;
- Pass guarantee allowing for refund;
- Clear bar exam study guide;
- Time-saving (concise and precise) prep materials;
- Pace-minded approach to test drills;
- All lectures, outlines, multiple-choice questions (MCQ), flashcards, and essays available on iPad and iPhone;
- Convenience of bar review program to study at own schedule and pace;
- Lectures on all tested areas of law given by professors of relevant subjects;
- Real Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) practice questions from previous exams;
- Explanations for all MBE MCQ answers;
- Search function to find necessary keywords; and
- Personal review of 2 practice essays by former bar exam graders.
Given these advantages, that course was my only prep tool. I have never tried such popular bar review courses as BarBri, Kaplan, or Themis. So, I cannot indicate the best bar review course. What I can tell for sure, however, is that the course I took sufficed to pass the NY bar exam.
Nowadays, we all hear a great deal about disruptive innovation. Online apps replace physical things. The bar review course I took is a vivid example of disruptive innovation in bar exam prep. The days of old-school book-pile prep courses may be fading away. Along these lines, I felt that the online course was a more progressive way to study in the modern day and age.
If I managed to pass the New York bar exam under those perplexing conditions, you should have a much higher chance to succeed. That’s regardless of which bar review course you choose.
To this end, the online course exceeded my expectations by far. It was the best professional investment I have ever made. Thus, if you stand at the crossroads of which bar prep course to pick, consider to get an online bar review course.
Dreaming to pass a bar exam on your first attempt? As you can see, you can do it!
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