Success for a bar exam student is easy to predict. Over the years, I’ve found three qualities that inevitably separate the passing students from those who fail. If you don’t possess all three of these traits, you’re in for a tough time in your studies and on the exam. What’s probably surprising is that “knowledge of the law” is not one of the three items on the list. What is? Keep reading to find out…
1. You must be Hard Working
Lazy bar takers need not apply! It is absolutely amazing to me how many people sign up to take the bar exam and then don’t do the work. Sure, there are lots of good reasons (really, most are excuses) for not working hard on your study, but the bar examination is designed to test your ability to study a large body of material and demonstrate competence in its use. Newsflash: that doesn’t happen overnight, or a weekend every month, or a 6-day crash course.
So what does it mean? In my experience, it’s systematic, repeated study of about 20-40 hours per week. That’s not easy when you’ve got work, family and other commitments, and it’s one reason we created a Personal Study Guide that’s included for each of our courses.
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2. You must be Intelligent I’m not talking about IQ here. You were smart enough to get into law school and smart enough to get out with a diploma, so we can assume a base level of intelligence for everyone taking the exam. No, the kind of intelligence I’m looking for is the kind of intelligence used to solve problems. It’s more than memorization or robotic analysis based on checklists and mnemonic outlines. This kind of “intelligence” is the type of real-world lawyering that can recognize a problem and apply the law to help resolve the dispute for a client. Does that sound like the bar exam to you? If not, you’re in trouble — because that’s exactly what the test measures and if you plan to memorize and recite rules on your bar, the examiners have a name for you: a repeat-taker.
3. You must be Teachable. There is probably nothing that makes me crazier than a conversation with a potential student who is retaking the bar exam, wherein the student tells me what it takes to pass the exam and how they expect the course to work. Are you kidding? If you failed the bar exam, you’re probably a wonderful person and I’d love to work with you, but let’s get one thing straight: You’re no expert on what it takes to succeed on this test – and I am. It really doesn’t matter what techniques or approach or style I have as a teacher. If the student is unwilling to learn, unwilling to change from what didn’t work in the past, holding on (for dear life) to the failed rubric and methodology that brought them to me in the first place, we’re not going anywhere. So, to grow and learn, you must be open, flexible, curious: In a word, teachable. Those are my only 3 criteria for success for a bar exam student…and they unfailingly predict results during test time.
If you’d like to know more about our approach – and how to use these skills to your advantage – come to our FREE Webinar this Thursday. It’s called “Make the NEXT Bar Exam Your LAST Bar Exam.” Click on the button below to reserve your seat and find out more about what makes a student Hard-Working, Intelligent and Teachable!