How to pass the bar exam

First, make sure you know the prerequisites to even take the test.  In Georgia, it's a Juris Doctor degree from an ABA accredited law school, and then a successful application to the State Bar of Georgia to be certified as morally fit to take the exam.  (And yes, people are refused that certification.) 

Then find out the makeup of the test.  All states have a lengthy multiple-choice section that tests your knowledge of the core subjects taught in law school: property, contracts, torts, etc.  Many state bar exams will include other sections that require writing an essay answer to a hypothetical question, writing a memo or a judicial decision based on a fictional case file, etc. 

The bar exam is NOT just a memory test. Yes, you will have to remember a boatload of specific legal rules.  However, it is primarily a test of your analytical skills.  It will not be enough just to remember the rules; you must show that you can apply legal principles to situations where there is no clear or easy answer. 

Most law school graduates will pass the bar exam.  However, some do not, despite the fact that they are smart people.  In my experience, a failing grade on the bar exam is due to one of two things:  the inability to think in an analytical fashion and express it clearly on paper, or test anxiety.  One thing is for certain:  you better put in some serious study time before you take it.

Bar exam instructors, tutors, professors, and the bar examiners themselves generally agree that the best way to prepare for and pass the bar exam is to practice prior bar exam questions under simulated bar exam conditions.

So, if preparing for and passing the bar exam is as easy practicing prior questions, why do so many students fail?

Unfortunately, most commercial bar prep companies make bar prep more difficult than it needs to be by inundating students with thousands of pages of materials and hundreds of hours of video lectures. While students attempt to digest all this information, it leaves little time for the most important part of bar prep, which is practice.

Watch this video to learn more about studying less and practicing more for the bar exam.


Sign up for a good bar review course. Physically show up to all the lectures and take good notes.

Spend time reviewing your notes, and familiarize yourself with the content of the books that came with your course.

During the period after your course ends and before the bar exam, spend at least four to six hours a day going over the material you are most uncertain about. Then, the last couple of days before the exam, rest, breathe deeply, and let it all sink in. The night before, and the night in between, just make sure you get a good night's sleep.


Study.  It's an eminently beatable test, as it only tests your ability to memorize and properly apply a volume of specific laws.

To  a certain extent, like all tests, the difficulty is a function of your intelligence.  After all, a smarter person will be able to make the appropriate connections and conclusions faster.  However, if you have the intelligence to be a lawyer - and speaking as one, that isn't necessarily that high - you can beat the bar exam in any state so long as you actually put in the time to study properly.

Study, but study smart. We've got a free Master Class for you: How to Make the Next Bar Exam Your Last Bar Exam. During this webinar I review 4 steps that lead to a passing result. You'll see case studies of people who failed up to 19 times before we worked with them and they passed. You can sign up for the webinar here:www.celebrationbarreview.com


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