Start studying for the bar exam early during the coronavirus pandemic

Start studying for the bar exam early during the coronavirus pandemic

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, it is a great idea for law students to start studying early for the bar exam. More time and exposure to the bar exam can only benefit your chances of passing the first time. So, if you are stuck at home under a shelter-in-place order, use this time to your advantage and get a head start on bar prep!

Both 2Ls and 3Ls should benefit from studying early for the bar exam. You do not want to be the only student who is not preparing for the upcoming bar!

Start studying for the bar exam early during the coronavirus pandemic

If your jurisdiction has postponed its bar exam until the fall, that means you have more time to study! View this extension as a positive! Now is the perfect time to get a head start. We encourage students, especially those who are worried about the bar exam, to start studying early. Additionally, there are certain students we strongly suggest start studying early for the bar. Review this post to see if you fall into that category! Keep in mind that all September test-takers have extra time to study, so you do not want to be on the tail of those who start studying early!

If you are questioning whether to start studying early for the bar exam, here is a post that can help guide your decision! And, here is another post if you are still questioning whether to start studying early! If you are a 2L, here is a post on how to start studying for the bar during law school!

This post assumes you are already signed up for a bar exam course. If you have not, JD Advising has a variety of options available. This includes our On Demand Courses, which open May 1! Sign up for a phone call anytime to get more information on our products and services!

Below are our general tips on how to start studying early for the bar during the coronavirus pandemic:

1. Make a schedule

Most bar prep companies give you a schedule of assignments for the duration of your bar prep. JD advising provides this to all course students. However, companies likely will not help if you are a high achiever and want to start studying early for the bar.

It is important to make a schedule so you have a goal and plan for your bar prep. Even if your plan is simply to do one question per day or study for five minutes every weekday, having a plan will keep you on track when studying early for the bar exam.

Here are some general ideas on how to make a bar prep study schedule. Go here for tips on how to make an early bar prep schedule, even during law school, plus an example of an early bar prep schedule! Also, here is a sample 45-day study schedule that you could use as a starting point to build your own schedule!

If you are planning to take the bar exam in the fall of 2020, JD Advising has created sample study plans for each fall bar exam date. These include example schedules if you want to start early, or if you want to start on the normal bar prep timeline.

2. Get your hands on bar prep materials and review them

It never hurts to get a general feel for what you will be studying with throughout your bar prep experience. It is better to know now what your bar prep materials look like than when you are in the midst of studying! If the course you are signed up for has material available online, download that and review it. Look through any paper materials you were sent as well.

If you are not happy with the prep materials you received, make a change now. Do not wait until you are halfway through bar prep and stuck with those materials! If you are interested in seeing what JD Advising’s materials look like, we have a sample of our outlines here!

We also suggest looking for supplemental materials now. It is very common for bar takers to get halfway through prep and realize they want a bunch of supplemental materials. Then, you have to search for it, buy it, and wait for it to come in the mail. However, if you get these materials before bar prep starts, they will arrive before you start studying and you are able to use them throughout your study time.

Examples of supplemental materials include extra Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) questions, flashcards, guide books, mini outlines, mnemonic guides, etc. At JD Advising, we have a variety of supplemental products that are extremely helpful, including our MBE One-Sheets, MBE Guide, MBE QBank and sets of released MBE questions,  MEE One-Sheets, MPT Guide, MBE Favorites, and much more! We also have tons of free guides on our website with general and specific information on how to pass the bar exam. These are great supplements to your bar prep materials and amazing tools for studying early for the bar!

3. Sign up for JD Advising’s free early bar prep

JD Advising’s free early bar prep is a great tool for you to get a head start on studying for the bar. We go through early bar prep tips, MBE questions, substantive law, and much more. It only takes five minutes each day and comes directly to your inbox. This is an easy way to start studying early for the bar exam because we tell you what to do!

4. Learn the format of the bar and what is tested

If you are not familiar with the format of the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) or your state bar exam, now is the time to figure that out! Here is a great post on the general format of the bar exam. Here is a post specifically on the format of the UBE, the Michigan Bar Exam, and the California Bar Exam.

And, it is important to know what will be tested on the bar exam. Here is a post on what is tested on the multiple-choice, or MBE, portion of the bar exam. And, see step six below for the subjects and topics tested on the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) and in other states!

This knowledge will give you a great head start on studying for the bar!


If your bar prep course gives you the option to start the class early, take advantage of it! JD Advising offers an On Demand Course that starts earlier than most commercial courses. And, here are some tips for how to study efficiently at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Below are more tips on what to do to start studying early for the bar!

5. Get a tutor

If you want to begin tutoring early, contact us! We will create a bar exam program that is tailored to your individual needs, especially if you want to start studying early for the bar! Typically, for those who start one month early, we are able to go over a couple of major difficult multistate topics and some state subjects as well. The amount that we cover is on a case-by-case basis. It is based on how much time you have, how much you struggle with the concepts, and your motivation to start early. Generally, we cover topics that students feel most anxious about first. This way, you can take your time with those subjects and get them out of the way before the traditional bar prep period starts.

6. Review subjects/topics

If you start on your own, it is a good idea to review subjects you struggled with in law school. If you found Contracts very difficult, for example, start learning it on your own during early bar prep! Here is a list of the highly tested topics on the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE). Since the MBE subjects are tested on both the multiple-choice potion and the essays, this is a great place to start. If you are looking to review state-specific subjects and topics, we have created lists of the highly tested subjects and topics on the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), Michigan Bar Exam, and the California Bar Exam. Review these lists and pick subjects and topics you want to start reviewing.

Here is a post with some great tips on how to learn your bar exam outlines, if you choose to use your outlines to review!

7. Practice MBE questions

Your bar prep course should give you MBE questions, or JD Advising offers a lot of questions for purchase. If you sign up for JD Advising’s early bar prep, then you will get MBE questions to practice from us! Doing at least one MBE question per day while studying early for the bar will give you a feel for what the questions are like. Here are 10 MBE tips that you should review sooner rather than later! And, our blog is full of other great tips as well.

8. Try your hand at some essay questions

If your bar prep course has not given you released essay questions and answers, consider printing essays from your state bar’s website (or the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ website if your state administers the Uniform Bar Exam [UBE]).

Look over some questions and answers. This will give you a taste for what the questions look like and what the examiners are looking for in an answer. If you feel comfortable, try your hand at some essays. Here are our tips for how to structure a Multistate Essay Exam or Michigan Bar Exam answer. Keep in mind that if you do not know the law yet, answering essay questions might not be helpful to your overall studies. So, either find a question you are prepared to answer or review them for general information on what to expect!

9. Start memorizing!

In general, we recommend that you start memorizing for the bar exam when you begin to read outlines and watch lectures. For example, if you watch a Torts lecture today, then within 24 hours review the lecture and start to memorize the law in the lecture handout/outline. You will remember significantly more (and make your job of memorizing much easier!) if you begin the memorization and review process shortly after the lecture.

You can also start memorizing highly tested subjects and topics, which are detailed in tip number six above! One great way to do this is to purchase a supplement like our MBE Guide and commit it to memory. You will have a huge leg up if you do this!

You can read more in our post about when to start memorizing for the bar exam here.

Final thoughts

The July or September bar exam might feel far away. And, studying early for the bar exam might seem unnecessary. However, it is a good idea to start planning now!

Here are some more tips on how to start studying for the bar exam if you are a 2L. Here are some initial ideas on how to prepare for the bar during the coronavirus outbreak.

If you are struggling with online classes during the COVID-19 pandemic, read this post for some tips on how to excel in online classes!

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