Published August 29, 2022
The bad thing about bar exam preparation? The stress, the anxiety, the time-crunch, or is it the…well, all of it? The good thing is all of your student colleagues are suffering through the same process! Okay, those might be some gross generalizations, but the fact of the matter is that bar exam preparation is as difficult—and as much a rite of passage—as any other part of law school, and there are plenty of helpful leaders, mentors and resources to make sure you are fully prepared to take the exam when the time comes.
Today we’d like to share UB Law’s new bar prep initiatives launched this summer and how we continue to adapt to help our students succeed.
While it shouldn’t be the first thing on your mind when you take your seat for the first law lecture of your law school career, passing the bar exam of course is the goal at the end of the road, for most. We get questions from many current and prospective students about resources for Bar Exam prep and UB Law is here to help! Whether it’s dedicated library space (open 24/7 during the crucial prep period) or the bar prep groups, tailored workshops or special bar courses, UB Law makes sure you have everything you need to hunker down and study for the final and most important exam of your legal education!
Depending on who you ask, the entirety of law school can be exhausting, but no period is more grueling than the time between commencement and the bar exam. UB School of Law takes this to heart, ensuring that students have a dedicated space to study, while also providing targeted workshops and a general sense of camaraderie to aid in the experience.
“We’ve really tried to use more of the school’s resources to provide a physical study location but also a set of resources to help students feel like they’re being supported all the way through the summer,” says Director of Academic Success, William MacDonald, who helped coordinate the exam prep resources.
Bar exam prep was in a unique position during the pandemic, with advisors, professors, and support services having to reach out with digital presentations, workshops, and Q&A sessions. “That had a strong positive effect on students’ performance,” said MacDonald, “and we recognized that the students seemed to appreciate being reached out to.”
Now that pandemic restrictions are slowly being lifted, administrators are reimagining how they can best support students prepping for bar courses.
“It gives people the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other,” MacDonald says. “They can talk through the hypotheticals, pause the video or do some group study afterward. It makes people more engaged and gives them the opportunity to see different perspectives on all the material they’re learning.”
Since the bar exam comprises both multiple-choice and essay type questions, MacDonald has offered strategy workshops on different aspects of the test. Review sessions on critical areas of law have included subjects like Fundamental Strategies for MBE, MEE and MPT, civil procedure and evidence, as well as effective strategies for rule memorization.
There are even meals in the form of catered breakfasts and lunches to help students stay fueled and focused throughout their studies and long sessions on campus.
While the resources are available to everyone, they are particularly valuable to students that might need a little more focus and structure for their studies. “There’s always a good proportion of our students who are diligent about bar preparation,” says MacDonald. “The people we worry about are those to whom it doesn’t come as naturally, or maybe they’re dealing with some outside circumstances, and it’s these folks who really value the support from the school.”
The sense of camaraderie is really what can make all the difference. James Nguyen ’22 says the designated study space in the library cut down on concentration interference during those marathon study sessions. “There’s so much more space, so everyone can spread out,” Nguyen explains. “Just having that space, with fewer distractions in your peripheral vision, that really helps you to stay focused.”
Megan Poynter ’22 agrees that having a central hub where you can gather and study (or commiserate) with your fellow students really helps give you the extra push to keep going. “Online at-home bar prep is incredibly isolating,” Poynter revealed. “It’s already hard on the ego, just constantly being reminded of the stuff you don’t know. The fact that the school is offering opportunities and incentives to be on campus and be together, it’s really helpful.”
The Bar Exam might be the big hurdle at the end of a long track, but keeping your studies focused both throughout law school and after commencement is key to maintaining a positive—and healthy—approach. Brush up on your notes after class, reach out to classmates to discuss more expansive or difficult topics, seek help from professors and advisors, and always take advantage of the resources available to you! Even the most gifted students can benefit from the School of Law’s many resources.