know everything On The Bar Exam

How to Manage Knowing Everything Tested on the Bar Exam

There is a lot of material covered on the bar exam.  In this post, we discuss whether you need to know everything tested on the bar exam and how to do it!

How to Manage Knowing Everything Tested on the Bar Exam

We get asked a lot about whether students must memorize everything that is tested on the bar exam.  Unfortunately, the short answer is yes, but it is manageable. Here are some things to keep in mind if this seems overwhelming: 

1. Start small.

Start with one outline.  Then, within that outline, start with one section.  For instance, if you start with Torts, start with Negligence.  Actively work memorizing that chapter, and only move on to the next chapter once you feel comfortable with the first one.  Taking the material one small chunk at a time will make memorization much more manageable and, hopefully, less overwhelming. The hardest part is just getting started!

You can also start with something like a cheat sheet or mini-outline before diving into the longer outline.  Memorizing a mini-outline first will help you see the big picture and develop a framework for that subject.  That way, once you start memorizing the nuances, you will already have a framework in which to put the nuanced rules in your mind.

2. Recognize that memorization is helpful for both the MBE and written portions.

Many students believe they only have to memorize so that they are able to write down rule statements during the written portion of the bar exam.  Therefore, they think that knowing enough about a subject to generally convey it in an essay is enough.

However, realize that your knowledge can provide double-duty on the essays and the MBE. If you have the nuances memorized, there is less chance that you will become confused by the different answer choices: you will simply know the accurate rule and will be able to more easily pick out the correct answer choice. Give yourself credit for studying for both essays and MBE at once!

3. Know the highly-tested issues.

Many bar exams test similar issues over and over.  It is crucial that you have the rule statements down for these issues as they are more likely to come up than an obscure issue.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners has broken down the issues that will be tested on the multiple-choice portion of the bar exam.  You will notice that negligence is highly tested, making up 12-13 of the 200 questions on the MBE.  That means that you should focus on the nuances of negligence and have those memorized.

On the essay portion, doing practice essays will help you become familiar with the issues that come up again and again.  Be sure to review enough past essays that you understand the issues that are frequently tested.  If you are taking the UBE, check out our Highly Tested MEE Topics Guide for tips on which topics you definitely need to be prepared to see.

We also offer One-Sheets that cover the highly tested topics within each subject on the MEE and California Bar Exams!  One-Sheets for the Michigan Bar Exam can be found in our book, How to Pass the Michigan Bar Exam.

4. Actively quiz yourself to ensure you are memorizing.

Be realistic about whether you really know the material.  Looking at the outline, reading a rule, and telling yourself, “I know what that means” is much different from having to blindly write the rule down from memory as you are writing an essay.  Practice stating out loud or writing the rules as you study to ensure that you are not confusing comprehension with memorization and that you are actually memorizing as many rules as possible!

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