How Do I Know I Am Prepared For The Bar Exam?
While it is impossible to guarantee you pass the bar exam, there are some predictors that can help indicate whether you are suitably prepared for the bar exam. We discuss some of those predictors in this post!
How Do I Know I Am Prepared For The Bar Exam?
1. Amount of time spent studying
Anyone can pass the bar exam. You are more likely to pass if you spend more time actively studying. Ask yourself if you completed all (or close to all) of the assigned material in your course. Did you actually pay attention during lectures? How much time did you spend memorizing the material after lectures? Did you complete practice multiple-choice questions and essays?
It is impossible to feel 100% prepared for the bar exam. However, knowing that you put in the time and effort during the period you studied should help your confidence.
2. Performance on practice MBE questions.
While the score needed to pass the MBE (and the bar exam) varies from state to state, a passing MBE score is usually between a 130 and 144. Although the NCBE no longer reveals its formula for converting raw scores to scaled scores, a good estimate is that you need to be getting between 60 and 68% correct on the practice questions (depending on the score necessary to pass) to equate to a passing score on the bar exam. Review What Percentage of MBE Questions Do I Need to Answer Correctly to Pass for more information!
As you are doing practice questions, depending on the platform you are using, keep in mind that your “overall score” may not be indicative of how well you are actually doing. If you were getting between 40-50% correct when you first started doing practice questions, but are now getting 70% correct, your “overall score” may be somewhere between 50-60%. When really, you are performing at 70%, which is within the passing range!
While it is important to ensure that you are making progress and your overall score is going up during the course of preparing for the bar exam, it is more important, as you get close to the exam, to think about how you are doing on each set of questions, rather than your overall score. If you are getting at or above 65% on the question sets you complete in the weeks prior to the exam, that is an indicator that you are on track to pass the bar exam!
3. Performance on practice essays.
Similar to your practice of MBE questions, your performance on practice essays is also a good indicator of the likelihood of success. If you have seen your scores on essays going up, and you are receiving 65-70% of the points allotted to each essay, you are likely in a good position to pass the bar exam!
In addition to your scores on practice essays, the number of essays that you have reviewed and written will also help predict the likelihood of success. The more essays that you have reviewed and written, the more likely you have come across highly-tested issues that could appear again on the bar exam. If you practiced essays covering these issues, you are more likely to successfully address these issues on exam day.
4. Performance on other standardized tests
Think back to when you took the LSAT or even the ACT/SAT. Did you do well on those tests? How prepared did you feel walking into them? Did the rigidity of the test conditions make you feel anxious?
Although the substance of the bar exam is very different from previous tests, the test conditions are similar. There are a lot of anxious people crammed into a test room. Testing centers have extensive regulations, such as what can and cannot be brought into the test room. There will be a lot of waiting while instructions are read, materials are passed out, etc. You will have to take the test under certain time constraints. If you found yourself unbothered by many of these factors while taking other standardized tests, it is less likely that you will be stricken with test-day anxiety that could affect your performance!
5. You practiced timing.
One issue that can trip even the most knowledgeable examinees is timing. Even if you know all the material like the back of your hand, if you run out of time on the exam, you will not earn points for any questions that you don’t answer! If, on the other hand, you have practiced timed exams and are confident that you will be able to complete the exam under the time constraints, this factor suggests that you are more prepared to pass the bar exam!
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