Authored by LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor, , Attorney at Law

Becoming A Lawyer: How to Pass the Bar Exam

A bar exam refers to an examination that law students in the United States must pass in order to practice law. This exam usually lasts two or three days, and is generally comprised of two sections. The test is broken up into essay section and the Multistate Bar Examination, or MBE. The first section can take one or two days, and requires candidates to complete several essay questions about general legal principles and state laws. The MBE consists of 200 questions pertaining to common law, and being a standardized exam, it is conducted on the same day throughout the country.

Bar exams vary from one state to another, and those who pass an exam in one state are not guaranteed the right to be able to practice law in other states. For instance, Louisiana does not require its law students to take the MBE, this is because it has a civil law system instead of a common law system. Some states also conduct performance tests as part of their bar exams, with California being one of those states. The California bar exam is regarded as being one of the toughest in the country. Candidates must take the California Performance Test, or CPT, which requires them to digest a fictional legal case, write a memorandum, deliver findings, and issue an opinion within three hours. The Multistate Performance Test, or MPT, is the standardized version of the CPT, and is less taxing. Law students should know which state they wish to practice law in before they register for their bar exams.

It goes without saying that the bar exam is the most important test for aspiring lawyers in the United States. Those who pass the exam will have the opportunity to pursue a career in a highly respected profession. While there is the option of taking the test more than once, it is better to pass on the first attempt given that the cost of taking the exam can be quite substantial. In order to achieve the best mark possible, students need to make the necessary effort to ensure that they are properly prepared.

One of the things laws students can do to increase their chances of passing their bar exam is to enroll in a bar review course. The instructors who conduct bar review courses specialize in studying and analyzing bar exams. They also have a good idea of what the examiners expect from the candidates. These review courses can provide information about "hot topics" and train students what to expect so that they are able to deliver the best answers.

Students should also create a studying schedule and make sure that they stick to it. They can set aside a few days or a week devoted to studying each topic, and should spend the last week or two before the exam dealing with any problem areas. It is a good idea for students to take practice exams as well. This will help them become more familiar with the structure of the exam. While it is important to spend enough time studying, students should also reserve some time for recreational activities that can help them relax their minds. Confidence plays a vital role in helping students pass the bar exam. Those who think positively will have a clearer mind, and will not panic during exam time.