Apr 13 2012
Although the first words that come to mind upon hearing Bar Prep are probably BarBri, Kaplan, or Themis, you may be interested in some materials to supplement your bar review course. I thought I would review some of the materials I have been using to prepare for the Massachusetts Bar while I’m waiting for my course to start next month:
- Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for free. This book is intended to be used before starting a bar review course by individuals at risk of not passing. It provides some practical advice and prioritizes the subjects tested, so you know which areas you must master (ex. negligence is one of the most heavily tested areas on the MBE). It also provides examples of commonly missed questions so you know what kinds of pitfalls you should look out for. The questions also provide you the opportunity to identify your topical strengths and weaknesses. For someone like me, who will have a year between law school and the bar exam, this book was helpful to review the MBE areas and think about study strategy. However, if you’re graduating in May and taking a review course for the July exam, you probably don’t need this book.
- First: this book is Massachusetts-specific (but it is also available for New York and California). The title is pretty self-explanatory; this book presents you with the question as it appeared on the exam, and then shows you an answer. There is space for you to evaluate the answer before you read the authors’ evaluation of the essay. The beginning of the book has the best answers that scored 7s, and it works its way down to the 1 answers. Occasionally there will be an opportunity for you to create an outline and compare it with the test taker’s outline. I found this book helpful because it shows that your essay does not have to be perfect to receive a perfect score. It also beats basic rules of writing a bar exam essay, which differs slightly from a law school exam essay, into your head. There is a copy of this book in the reserve area ( KFM 2476 .S53 2008), but I would recommend buying it so that you can make notes and issue spot in the margins (Please don’t write in the library’s copy!!) .
- If you spend time commuting on the T, this is a way to do bar review during that time. The entire recording is 2-3 hours and covers Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts. I recommend listening to this in order, as opposed to shuffle, because some tracks are only a heading name, and then the corresponding description is a separate track. This recording is only a basic MBE outline; it does not go into a lot of the exceptions that apply in particular areas. There are also a few instances where the recording was not properly edited, but it’s not horrible.
- I had quite a few friends who, although they were taking another bar course last summer, signed up for the Kaplan PMBR MBE Final Review Course as well for the extra MBE-related detail. These flashcards provide that as well. The answer side of each card provides the rule, examples where it does and doesn’t apply, and exam tips, which remind you about rules and/or exceptions that are related to the original concept.
- My mom bought me this book. I haven’t read it yet, as it has only 40 reflections and I want to save the pep talks for closer to the exam (when I’ll need them!). If you’re into a holistic experience, this might be a good book for you.
- I actually have not played this game, but I have friends who really enjoyed it. It adds competitive and social elements to bar prep, but basically it’s the same as using flashcards.
Good luck on the bar exam!
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