First 1/3 of the day…
Here’s where we really get started.
The night before Day 7, set your alarm clock for 5:00 a.m. When it goes off in the morning, get out of bed. I am serious. Get out! It would be pathetic if you can’t make it one day without falling off the wagon. Brush your teeth and go directly to your “office.” No breakfast. No coffee.
Take out the first PMBR book (or PMBR substitute) and open it to the first subject area tested. Let’s say it is Evidence. Take out one brand new legal pad and write “EVIDENCE” at the top. Then write “#1” on the first line.
Tear out the answer sheet at the end of the Evidence section and turn it over. On the back, write the date and time you began the test. Flip it over and answer the first 50 questions under the same conditions – except for the time limit – as you would the real exam. When you have answered all 50 questions, turn the answer sheet over and record the time you finished and how long it took you to answer those 50 questions. Leave the room.
Have breakfast. Drink coffee. Don’t skimp. Drink very good, expensive coffee. When you finish, make a second cup of coffee and take it with you to your office. Quickly (without reading the answer) look over the answer key and mark on your answer sheet which questions you answered right and which you answered wrong. Record those results including the percentage correct on the back of the answer sheet next to today’s date. Now it’s time to do the heavy lifting.
For the next however long it takes, and it should take at least a few hours at the beginning, examine every single question and answer – even the questions you answered correctly. On the legal pad that you wrote “EVIDENCE” at the top of, begin to record in words that make sense to you rules, facts, and other stuff that you did not know before you answered that question. It might include something simple as a rule of law you were never taught or one of the many MBE trick questions that appear on every exam. This list will become VERY important. Each new item should be the next sequential number on the legal pad. After my first 50 question test, I had about 19 entries on the page. See MBE Daily Notes in the Outlines section of this website. What you are really trying to write on this pad are those things you want to remember but suspect you will forget.
Do NOT worry about your score. Doing well on the MBE is more about learning how to recognize the “right” answer and less – a lot less – about the actual substance of the question. I know this does not make sense. After all, I am suggesting that the law is not important. For purposes of the MBE, I just don’t think the law is nearly as important as knowing how to answer MBE questions. And the only way to learn how to answer an MBE question is to answer a few thousand of them. UGH!
Second 1/3 of the day…
After the morning session, I packed my lunch, went to the gym, ate my lunch, and went to BARBRI class. Watching BARBRI videos and filling in their outlines is brutal but it’s necessary. As strong as the urge will be to skip class and work on your own, I think you should go to every class. I am a sensory learner. Seeing it, hearing it, and complaining about it to the other suffering students in the class is actually a learning experience. I think you have to trust me on this one.
Final 1/3 of the day…
After BARBRI class, it is time for dinner. After dinner, I began to prepare my outline for whatever class was on the BARBRI schedule for that day. I typed my outlines. They are attached to this website for your review. Read all the warnings I’ve emphasized because you might be tempted to rely on my outlines rather than craft your own. That would be a BIG mistake.
I tried but often failed to complete an entire outline in one night. When that happened, I finished it the next day…or on the weekend…or when I could find spare time. The key to outlining is first to outline and second to find the balance between too little information that it’s simply not enough and too much information that it’s simply useless. I built my outlines from a variety of sources. These included the actual BARBRI fill-in the blank outlines, prior test-takers’ outlines, and other sources that clearly articulated what I needed to know.
I kept a file folder for each subject tested on the bar exams. In that folder, I kept my MBE legal pad, fill-in-the-blank BARBRI outline, my typed outline once I finished it, and my list of rules I was creating for that subject from the BARBRI state specific essay questions. See below. These neat files kept me organized and would be helpful when it came down to the homestretch.
After outlining the day’s subject matter or 9:00, whichever came first, I was done for the day. I never returned to MBE after the first 1/3 of the day unless MBE questions were on BARBRI’s daily schedule. Only then would I do MBE work after the morning.
At this point, I would drink a Corona (just one), call friends and family because I would not make/receive calls while I was studying, and watch a single episode of Boston Legal. I think it is essential that you purchase every recorded episode of Boston Legal on DVD and watch one each night. Afterwards, go to bed. I wish I could tell you that you will sleep like a baby. You probably won’t…
Repeat the same routine for the next 5 days answering the first 50 questions from the next subject in the PMBR book. At the end of the 6th day, you will have answered the first 50 questions in each subject tested on the MBE.
- Laying The Foundation
- Days 1-6
- Days 7-12
- Day 13 to Finish
- As the Exam Approaches