This guide highlights important information and services for Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law students as they prepare to take the bar examination in Arizona or elsewhere.
The Bar Exam is Approaching – What Can I Do Now?
1. Understand the exam you’ll be taking. We often speak generically of “the Bar Exam,” but exams differ significantly by jurisdiction. So become familiar with your exam: deadlines, filing fees, components (MBE, MPT, Essay), scoring, subjects tested, historical coverage, and relative competitiveness.
2. What if you don’t know which Bar Exam to take? That’s not uncommon. If you’re not sure, think about the type of work you want to do and where you want to live.
3. Once you pick a jurisdiction, finish your Bar application and Character & Fitness questionnaire. The C&F is time-consuming, so doing it now frees up valuable time later.
4. Organize your summer logistics. Will you stay in Phoenix? Move back home? Stay with friends in a new city? Do you need hotel reservations for July? It’s also wise to negotiate clear time boundaries with employers, family, and friends in advance. The more you plan ahead, the more productive your study time will be.
5. Choose law school courses with an eye to the Bar exam. Courses covering widely-tested subjects include: Evidence, Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure, Contracts and Sales, Constitutional Law, Real Property, Torts, and Civil Procedure. Don’t avoid hard courses – they can help you pass the Bar Exam!
6. Allocate regular weekly time this spring to start preparing. The single biggest challenge for most applicants is trying to learn a high volume of technical information while working lots of practice questions. It’s often described as “drinking from a fire hose.” There’s a better way: getting ahead on the learning curve now buys time this summer to do more practice-testing – and sufficient daily practice is the key to passing. Block off study time and stick to it!
7. OK, I’m in – but how can I study before I’m even in a review course? For the MBE, working through both volumes of Emanuel’s Strategies & Tactics for the MBE takes no more than 3 hours/week. The Examples & Explanations series, available at the Law Library in print and also online via the Wolters Kluwers Online Study Aids, are good resources for hypotheticals. The Questions and Answers series is also good source for hypotheticals. Q and A is available in print at the Law Library. For UBE applicants, the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ website (ncbex.org) has free questions + answers for essays (MEE) and Performance Tests (MPT).
Special thanks to Reid Flinn from the Washington and Lee University School of Law for sharing this content.