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Get 30 tips for your bar prep in 30 minutes

Ayat Nizam, Jennifer McMullen, and Dayna Maeder

Studying for the bar exam is a marathon, not a sprint. Start your conditioning now so you can achieve your best performance.

To help, the Law Student Division brings you “30 Tips in 30 Minutes: Bar Prep,” a webinar featuring two young lawyers who successfully prepared for and passed their bar exams recently.

Our panelists share tips on:

  • Study Schedule
  • Mindset and Attitude
  • Practice Tests
  • Exam Week
  • Exam Day

The speakers are Donovan Bonner, an attorney with Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP in San Francisco, and Dayna Maeder, an attorney with McConnaughhay, Coonrod, Pope, Weaver, & Stern, P.A. in Tallahassee.

The moderator is Ayat Nizam, who is working on a dual J.D. at the University of Detroit Mercy and will serve as the 2020-2021 Chair of the Law Student Division.


1. Create a schedule
Create a schedule early. Understand that it can change as you go – so be flexible.

2. Study Style
Everyone has a different study style. Do what works for you.

3. Make Time For You
Include time for yourself in your schedule. Eat healthy and work out regularly. Bad lifestyle changes will affect you quickly.

4. Coordinate Bar Review Schedule
Make sure you incorporate the Bar review course schedule into your personal schedule.

5. Decompress
Build in a few “decompression days” to accommodate the unexpected and to let your brain process information.

6. Study area
Have a study area that allows you to be most comfortable.


7. Commit to Pass
From the very beginning, commit yourself to doing everything you can to pass the Bar.

8. Stay Positive
Just remember you have the ability and the skills to pass!

9. Be Yourself
Do not compare yourself to your friends – we all have our strengths and weaknesses.

10. Face the Task
We can face a task in one or two ways: either as something we have to do or something we get to do. Think of how many people don’t get accepted to law school… how many burned out in their first year. You are the elite. You don’t have to take the Bar exam – you get to take the bar exam. It’s an opportunity, so make the most of it.

11. Keep Practicing
Don’t get discouraged if you test poorly on some of the practice exams. Just keep practicing.

12. Ask for Help
Ask your Bar review instructors for help. Also consider asking classmates to form a discussion group.


13. Take Many Tests
Take as many practice tests as possible. Become proficient with multiple choice and essay questions.

14. Determine Strengths and Weaknesses
Use practice tests to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on your weakness and maintain your strengths.

15. Memorization
One key part of taking practice exams is to help you memorize the materials. Make flashcards, acronyms, songs, etc., to help you retain the information.

16. Review Everything
Always review the answers on your practice tests, even those you answered correctly.

17. Research Essay Questions
Find out what Bar examiners are looking for on the essay portions of the exam.

18. Prepare for Everything
Don’t think you can pass the exam by doing well on a certain number of subjects. You need to be prepared for anything.


19. Brush Up
This last week should not be a cram session. Look over subjects you want to brush up on.

20. Confirm Logistics
Finalize day-of-exam logistics. Confirm parking, directions to the exam site, nearby restaurants etc.

21. Get plenty of rest
The Bar is as much a test of endurance as it is a test of knowledge.

22. Take More Tests
Do more practice tests. If possible, take advantage of any mock Bar exam sessions provided by your Bar prep course.

23. Make Condensed Outlines
At this point, using review books and long outlines will waste time.

24. Stay Focused
Don’t let yourself get burned out or distracted in the last week.


25. Dress for Success
Dress comfortably, in layers, because the room may be hot or cold.

26. Make Educated Guesses
If you don’t know the answer to something, make an educated guess and move on.

27. Don’t Freak Out
Freaking out about the test won’t help at this point. Go in with a relaxed mindset and just do your best.

28. Arrive Early
Arrive at the exam early; be completely prepared with everything you need; follow the rules about what you can bring.

29. Watch the Clock
During the exam, watch the clock. Being cognizant of how much time you have is important.

30. You’ve got this
You followed through the schedule, put in the time and, though you don’t know everything, you know enough to pass. And passing is all that really matters.