So, the bar exam is in less than two weeks.
For some general advice about what to do during the final two weeks, check out this post or this podcast.
Here, I want to focus on essay preparation during the final two weeks.
By now, you have likely written many practice essay responses in full. (If you haven’t, start immediately, and try to do at least two practice essays each day.)
But, I will assume you have been conscientious and have practiced quite a bit.
With that assumption in mind, here, in order of priority, is what I think you should focus on during the final two weeks as relevant to success on the bar exam essays:
Get Your Timing Down
Bar exam essays are administered in groups.
During the test, you need to be sure to divide your time evenly between each essay.
If you are allotted 90 minutes to complete three essay responses, then be sure you can write a complete response in 30 minutes. You cannot go over 30 minutes per essay on the exam.
This can be fatal.
For example, if you spend 60 minutes writing the world’s greatest constitutional law essay, your next two essays will be mediocre at best.
Do one or two practice sessions in the next couple weeks where you do a mock essay portion of the bar exam. Select essay questions at random, pull out a watch, and pretend you are taking the real test.
Seriously, do it.
Practice Spotting Issues and Issue Groupings
Once you are confident your timing is rock-solid, start reviewing multiple sample essay questions and responses each day for the purpose of spotting issues and practicing outlining essay responses.
There is no need to write these essays out in full.
Instead, read an essay question and jot down a quick outline of all the issues. Then, read the sample answer to see if you spotted everything. Maybe you even spotted an issue not in the sample answer.
Also, be on the lookout for issues that seem to be tested together a lot.
If you read through enough essays from your jurisdiction, you are bound to see that certain issues always go together. Write these issues pairs down and review them periodically. Then, when you are taking the bar exam, if you see one issue from a common pair, you will be able to spot its mate.
Target Any Weak Areas
By the final week or so before the bar exam, it is likely you will have a good general understanding of the majority of the bar exam material.
You will also have a few weak spots; I know I did. (Yeah, I’m thinking about you, community property!) Be sure to target those weak spots by writing out a few sample essays in full.
You can even re-write essays you did earlier in your bar prep. This is a good test to see how much you have improved. This will help you hone your analytical skills for that topic, and it will allow you to keep up your timing practice.
I think a good system for targeting weak areas is to review flash cards focusing on the weakness, answer 5-10 MBE questions on the same subject matter (if applicable), and then write out an essay about that topic. Once you review your answer to the essay, skim your full outline (or equivalent) for that subject area or sub-subject area.
I hope you found these suggestions helpful.