A lot of students who fail the bar exam struggle to figure out the best approach for the next round. We find that for most re-takers it is not helpful to re-watch bar exam lectures. Actually, only about 10% of repeat takers find re-watching bar exam lectures helpful. That means 90% of repeat takers do not. A small handful of people might opt to re-watch a lecture they completely missed or one that was particularly helpful. But the general answer to this question is: do not plan on re-watching all of your BarBri or Kaplan lectures if you fail the bar exam.
Should I Re-watch Bar Exam Lectures if I Failed the Bar Exam?
When we tell most students not to re-watch bar exam lectures, most are relieved! Some say they didn’t find them that helpful. Others say that although some were helpful, they were quite time consuming!
But then students inevitably wonder: If you are not re-watching the lectures, what do you do? Well, the best place to start is to think about what went wrong. Did you spend the whole time watching lectures and then jump right into practice problems? If so, then you missed the memorization part. This is probably one of the biggest mistakes we see students make!
To succeed on the bar exam, you have to do four things:
1. Have good materials to work with (that is, good and nicely-organized outlines!).
2. Understand those materials. (Hopefully your lectures helped you understand them! otherwise, you may want to consider tutoring or another method to make sure you comprehend the materials!)
3. Memorize the materials – or at least know them pretty well!
4. Apply what you have memorized to the types of multiple-choice and essay questions you will see on your exam.
If Steps 1, 2, and 4 are all present but you skipped Step 3 – the part where you actually learn your outlines – you have made a very common bar exam mistake. The good news is, you can spend the extra time you are not spending listening to lectures actually learning your outlines. How do you learn your outlines? This might mean re-writing parts of it. Or making a small handful of note cards for rules you forget. Or, you could read your outline aloud. If you are regularly doing this, you will get to the point where you have the law memorized—which is key to passing the bar exam. (See this post if you are not sure how to learn your bar exam outlines. We have several more ideas here!)
Note that some students (albeit, a smaller chunk) make the mistake of skipping step 4 the first time they study. They never feel confident enough to dive into application – or, on the contrary, they feel too confident (usually the latter tends to occur for the essay exam!). If this was your problem, then you should make a conscious effort to practice early and often! Furthermore, when you practice, pay more attention to quality–not only quantity. When you practice essays you should take time to self-grade them and re-visit them for review. For multiple choice review you should do problems slowly and methodically. Make sure you are taking ample time to go over each question when you score them. This means making sure you answered correctly for the right reasons and noting the law if you didn’t know it.
Generally, you should split up your time between comprehension of the law, memorization of the law and then application of the law. The more you understand, memorize, and practice questions for a specific subject, the better you will perform.
What if I want to re-watch the bar review lectures?
In order to have enough time to properly prepare for the next bar exam you probably shouldn’t spend too many hours on lecture. Many students tell us that they watched lecture videos for roughly 4 hours a day and then they either ran out of time or energy to memorize and practice. So, if you are a repeat taker and hoping for the best results: Don’t waste your time re-watching every lecture.
If you really thought a lecture was super-helpful or if you are still super-confused on an area of law, then re-watching a lecture is worth it.
But in general, remember if you prepare the exact same way the next exam as you did the last exam, it would be crazy to expect a drastically different result.
For a detailed list of questions to ask yourself in order to perfect your bar exam approach, please read this post on what to do if you failed the bar exam.
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