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Bar Study Milestones: Starting Your Bar Review Right

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on June 09, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Enjoying summer yet? We didn't think so. If you're a recent law school grad prepping for the bar exam, this summer promises to be anything but fun in the sun. But don't worry too much; a well planned bar study schedule can help make your bar review summer, if not enjoyable, survivable.

So, a few weeks after most bar review courses have begun, where should you be in your bar prep? Follow these bar study milestones to make sure you're staying on track, right from the start.

Exactly Where the Program Tells You to Be!

Most bar review courses start in mid to late May, meaning most bar reviewers should still be in the honeymoon stages. At this point, you shouldn't have fallen too far behind, nor gotten too far ahead. As to exactly where you should be in your review on June 9th, let your program's calendar be your guide.

If you're wondering what content you should have covered, think basics. Most programs, whether Barbri, Themis or Kaplan, will still have you working a very 1L schedule -- contracts, property, torts, etc. Now's the fun point where you get to complain that your property professor spent two weeks on the Rule Against Perpetuities and never once mentioned senior and junior mortgages. Guess which concept is more important in real life and on the bar exam?

Go on guess. We'll wait.

Get Ready to Practice

A few weeks into bar review is also when you can start to anticipate practice exams, your first big bar study milestone. In most programs, you will have done at least one practice MBE section by now. Avoid reviewing only the questions you get wrong. Reading the explanations for the questions you got right not only helps you understand the concepts and methods behind the MBE, it reinforces the knowledge you have.

You may be getting to practice essays around this point. Practice essays are the real benefit of a bar review course, so take advantage of the personalized feedback. If you completely bomb your first one, don't sweat it. Remember, it's practice, and even though you made it through three years of essay exams, you might still need a minute to adjust to bar essays.


Now that you're starting to get into the groove of bar study, take a minute to self-assess your performance -- not your legal knowledge, but how well you've been on keeping up with your study program. Are you hitting your milestones? Going too far ahead and at risk of burning out? Behind and realizing that studying during happy hour every day might not be the best strategy?

Now is the chance to identify your good and bad study habits. Kick the bad ones to the curb while there's still time. Making sure you're making the best of your bar study program now will keep you from scrambling when the actual exam comes around.

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