Our post, “3 Steps to Improve your Bar Exam Essay Score” appeared on the National Jurist’s website here on January 17, 2014. A summary of what was stated is as follows:
The first step is: Make sure you have the Right Materials.
“If you are typing the bar exam, download the appropriate software onto your laptop ahead of time. If you are writing the bar exam, make sure to purchase pens that are easy to write with and easy to grip. Use these pens when you practice writing answers to exam questions. Getting comfortable with the materials that you will be using during the bar exam will likely ease your anxiety during your bar exam preparation. It will also make you more comfortable when you take your exam.”
The second step is: Simulate the Essay Portion of the Exam Ahead of Time.
“If you are expected to answer essay questions for several hours in a row when you take your bar exam, it is a good idea to adequately prepare for this mental and physical task ahead of time. One way to do this is to set aside one day per week where you will replicate your essay exam day. At first, just set aside two or three hours to answer the appropriate number of essay questions. Build up your writing stamina by increasing the amount of time that you write essays each week until you have simulated your exact essay exam day…”
The Third Step is: to Study the Model Answers.
“When you practice answering essay exam questions, make sure to make the most of the model answers that come with your questions. Each time you write an answer to an exam question, study the model answer and compare it to your own answer. The best way to do this is to correct your own answer using the model answer as your key. Did you miss important issues? If so, how will you spot them next time? Did you misstate rules of law? How will you remember them next time? Was your analysis concise and on-point? Did you arrive at the correct conclusion(s)?”
If you take the time to grade your own essays, you will not only become better at writing essays, but you will begin to think like an essay grader and write the kind of things that they want to see.