Hey Smart Fros! So if you found this post, that means the Texas bar exam is right around the corner for you or you are looking for information to help you pass it on your first try.
Passing the Texas bar exam is hard. You suffered through law school just to turn around and suffer through studying and sitting for a bar exam. I completely understand your pain. I found myself on google for hours looking for information and resources to help me pass the bar exam.
RELATED POST: Pass Law School with these Study Tips
To be honest, I was hoping for a straightforward answer, but in actuality, I knew that was not going to be the case.
However, through my research, I found enough information that helped me put together this article that I hope will help you pass the Texas Bar Exam.
UNDERSTANDING THE TEXAS BAR EXAM BREAK DOWN
The Texas Bar exam is 2 1/2 days. This is a huge advantage compared to some states who bar exam are three days long. The test is broken down into four parts: (1) the Procedure and Evidence questions; (2) Texas Essay questions; (3) the Multistate Bar Examination; and (4) Multistate Performance Test.
The image above shows how each part of the exam is weighted. You need a score of 675 out of 1000 in order to pass. I promise you now, no one cares how much you pass the bar exam by. Folks only care about whether or not you passed.
BAR PREP COURSES
Should you take a bar prep course?
ABSOLUTELY, 100% YES!!!!! I was blown away when I learned that some people were trying to study for the Texas Bar Exam without taking any bar prep course.
Now, I understand that there are probably some people who can get away with not taking a bar prep course. However, most of us cannot. I also understand the cost of a bar prep course is extremely expensive. Especially, when you add the cost with the actual bar application and all the other fees that come along with the whole process.
CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST FROM THE BILLFOLD. It does an amazing job breaking down the number of expenses the Texas Bar Exam can cost you.
Why should you take a Bar Prep Course?
I believe the bar prep courses are good for two things. One, helping you narrow down on the topics and issues that you need to study and two, practice exams and practice questions. You learn real quick that the more questions and essay you do, the more confidence you have in your ability to pass the exam.
Top Three Bar Prep Courses:
There are many bar prep courses. However, I can only recommend those with which I am familiar with. I personally took Barbri. It has been in the bar exam game for a really long time. However, I do know people who took either Kaplan or Themis as well. I know people who passed and failed with all three bar prep courses.
So honestly if I was to do things differently, I would have taken Themis because it was cheaper. You can check out this pdf which compares the cost of each bar prep course.
Key to Bar Prep Courses
I learned fairly quickly that if I stuck to the exact plan of my bar prep that I was going to fail the bar exam. I took my bar exam in 2016 and I vividly remember around the third week of June saying if I keep following this schedule to the “T” I am not going to pass this exam.
I went to law school in Louisiana. Louisiana is civil law. Basically, nothing like Texas law. That summer I had to learn all the Texas portions for the first time. If I can do it, so can you! I also only turned in about one MPT before I realized they were pretty self-explanatory and that I did not need to waste to much time on them. This does not mean I did not do them. I just did them about once a week on Sundays.
TEXAS ESSAY PORTION
I personally feel like us Texans have it easy when it comes to this Texas portion. Not only does our state post old bar exam essay questions, but they also give you the best-selected answers. I mean it honestly does not get any better than that.
The Texas Essay Potion
- Business Associations (2 questions)
- Wills and Administration (2 questions)
- Family Law (2 questions
- Uniform Commercial Code (2 questions)
- Real Property (including oil and gas) (2 questions)
- Trusts and guardianships (1 questions)
- Consumer rights (including DTPA and insurance) (1 questions)
I promise you now. If you print out the last 10 years of old Texas Bar Exam and do all of them before you sit for the actual exam you will be fine. One thing you will notice is there are certain issues that the Texas Bar exam always test.
Printing the last 7-10 years of old bar exam will help you get a feel for which part of your outline you need to put more focus into. Now, don’t get me wrong. Still, be prepared for other issues. The year I sat, they gave us a whole bankruptcy essay. The key is knowing enough things that you get that score of 675.
I don’t know if all states post their old bar exams. However, you can find out by check your state bar exam website. If you’re from Texas just follow this link.
STUDYING FOR THE TEXAS BAR EXAM
I am going to keep this very brief. However, you can always e-mail me with specific questions. I do not want you to take how I study as gold because at the end of the day it is about knowing yourself and knowing what works for you. Hopefully, what I did can give you an idea of what to do for yourself or can guide you if you are completely lost.
Work or Not Work?
I did not work when I was studying for my bar exam. I do know that some folks just are not fortunate to have the opportunity. The truth is the bills don’t stop because you are sitting for a bar exam. However, if you do have to work during the Texas bar exam, making a schedule of your actually free time is essential. I would literally map out blocks of when I am free during the day.
My Study Schedule
My day started at 8:00 a.m. and ended at 11:00 p.m. every day that summer. The first month (June), I watch my lectures from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. After the lectures, I would study/review the lecture notes and do MBE questions on that topic. As I completed more topics I would designate about 4-6 hours to each topic. The first 4-6 hours to the previous topic and then the next 4-6 hours on the current topic.
By July, I had completed all the lectures notes. July was strictly for studying and getting the material down and memorized. I did about 3-4 topics a day for 4-6 hours with MBE questions included in those hours. If I happened to spend 8-7 hours on a topic, oh well. I did not stress about it.
Soon you will notice that some topics are a lot easier than others. When that happens you can cut down the amount of time you designated to it. Once I felt confident enough that I knew the material well enough to attempt essay questions. I added an essay question to the end of my studies. Then compared my answers the best-selected answers. NOT BARBRI ANSWERS. They are way too long and you don’t have that much time to write all that.
By the last week in a half of my studies, I was literally doing full old bar exam. Telling myself if I took 2013, 2014, 2015 Texas portion I would have passed.
STUDYING FOR THE MBE
I wish I can tell you I was this amazing MBE wiz. But I struggled on the MBE. Which is why I knew I had to score damn near a perfect on the other portions. Remember it is a numbers game.
My best advice for the MBE is to don’t focus too much on doing as many questions as possible if you are not understanding why you got those questions wrong. I know a lot of people who felt just because they did 3000 questions that means they should have passed the MBE portion.
Honestly, the MBE just does not work like that. It is multiple choice questions that really test whether you truly (1) know the rule; (2) understand the rule; and (3) can apply the rule. I think this post does a great job telling you what you need to do to pass the MBE portion.
Other Study Materials
I highly suggest supplemental material. I know, more money. But honestly, these two things I mentioned below really helped me understand the material a lot better. I also know this blog post will not be the first time you heard of these items because these are like gold in bar prep studies.
Critical Pass Cards – I highly recommend these if flash cards were you thing in law school. These are cards are perfect for the States that have the Multistate Bar Exam, all but Louisiana.
Emmanuel Strategics and Tactics – Honestly, if you can not purchase any other supplemental aid, get this book. This book will teach you how to master MBE Questions by literally breaking down the type of questions that are asked.
Think of it like the time you took a standardized test and you where taught how to approach each question to make sure you understood what the question was asking. In addition, this books comes with real MBE Questions. This is major because the MBE Questions in your bar prep courses are not created by the NBCE which is the organization that creates the MBE and UBE Questions. Therefore you get a full exam of real MBE Questions, plus additional ones for practice.
If I did not purchase this book, my score would have remained in the low 80’s. I bump my final MBE score to 132. So as you can see that is a huge jump. My only regret was that I waited so late to purchase the book. If I had it when I first started studying I know my score would have been a lot higher.
THAT IS IT!
Hopefully, this post was helpful enough to you feel confident about taking and passing the bar exam. If you have more specific questions, please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.