I. Introduction

The goal of this Guide is to provide the what and how of creating and preparing an effective bar review in anticipation of taking, and passing, your state’s bar exam in a concise, easy to understand fashion.

The Guide is written in a chronological order, providing discrete stages that your bar review can integrate and follow. Specifically, each section refers to a stage/process to undertake throughout your bar review. The suggested stages are broadly as follows: determine the scope & format of your bar exam, obtain review materials, create a study schedule, review/learn the materials, improve exam fitness, and memorize. Each stage is a discrete, insular step you should take during your bar review except for improving your exam fitness. Improving your exam fitness, as discussed below, is something you should do throughout your bar review from day one until the exam itself.

Besides understanding the various stages/processes of an effective bar review, you should also consider the components, or ingredients, of a successful bar review. Broken down into its most simplistic form, a successful bar review consists of five elements:

1. the black letter law;
2. exam practice aids;
3. a feedback system to improve exam-taking skills;
4. a memorization system; and
5. discipline and hard work

As discussed below, black letter law is the law itself that will be tested on your bar exam. Exam practice aids are practice exams, including essays, multiple choice questions, and performance tests. Of course, states vary in the format of their respective bar exams, but your practice aids should include every aspect of your state’s bar exam. A feedback system is a process to improve upon your mistakes. The most common form of feedback is essay evaluation/critique. Feedback also includes, however, any exam practice aid with model answers or explanations. Using model answers, you can compare your results with the desired or model answer. Once you understand how your answer varies or is deficient from a model answer, you can incorporate this feedback for future application. A memorization system is a process to aid and simplify the memorization of the black letter law for your bar exam. There are a wide variety of memorization systems for learning the relatively significant amount of substantive material tested on any bar exam, from flashcards to outlines. Lastly, often the most overlooked, or under-appreciated, component of an effective bar review is hard work and discipline. Sticking to a strict, disciplined study schedule eight, or even four, weeks out from an exam is unheard of for many bar exam takers. Additionally, the constant drudgery of a bar review often produces frustration and exam takers become susceptible to losing focus and/or motivation.

In summary, this Guide aims to explain the processes and components of an effective bar review discussed above while providing useful study tips/tricks along the way.

Please note, you can obtain the free, full version in pdf format via digital download here.