Note to future bar takers: DON’T OVER STUDY! I didn’t, and I still passed.

As someone who just passed the Virginia Bar, I will take a moment to stand on a soap box and rant.

If you are taking the Bar next year, DO NOT OVER STUDY!

This past summer I worked 30 hours a week at DoD General Counsel.  I took Bar/Bri every morning for 4 hours or so. That’s it. I just paid attention in class, and skimmed the conviser at night. I did not do any of the practice questions, practice essays, or any of the other garbage Bar/Bri told me to do. If you do everything Bar/Bri tells you to do, you will be stuck doing 12-14 hours of work a day. Totally uncessary.

The last 10 days I crammed 18 hours a day and did all 20 topics, starting with the topics most frequently tested. Every day I did 20 mulitple choice, and 1-2 essays per topic.  Here was my schedule.

My Study Plan. Goal? No Fail!

My Study Plan

[/caption]My Goal? No Fail! Mission Accomplished. I keep this schedule taped to my bookshelf as a reminder of the purgatory I went through.

Bar/Bri’s job is to scare you to death so you study so much you can’t possibly fail. The more people pass, the better Bar/Bri looks, and the more they can charge. Those essays they grade? They are graded much tougher than the actual Bar. They do it to scare you. Just do the absolute minimum and you’ll be fine.

Now I know you will all ignore my advice and work yourself to deaths. And I’m sure some commenters will say you have to study. But if you did marginally well in law school, and can follow and memorize a few basic concepts, you’re fine.

Update: On the advice of a friend who recently pass the Virginia Bar, I issue the follow disclaimer. WARNING! Do not try this at home. If you take my advice, and do not study, and fail the bar, that’s your problem. Don’t sue me.  There I said it. If you are worried about passing, study hard.

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7 Responses to “Note to future bar takers: DON’T OVER STUDY! I didn’t, and I still passed.”

  1. Jessica Says:

    Could not agree more with you! I did basically the same schedule for the Feb. FL bar and passed. I think you end up doing more harm by freaking yourself out if you expect to stay on BarBri’s schedule. It is so unrealistic you are basically setting yourself up for failure.

    Either way, congrats Counselor!

  2. Ben Abbott Says:

    Josh, I suspect you benefited from an innate cognitive ability to conceptualize law … as opposed to the many for whom the concepts are elusive and the only option is memorization … Kudos!

  3. Adelle Says:

    Oh Josh, you could have avoided studying all together and likely passed with flying colors. For those who love the law, the bar should come pretty easily. For those of us who are just suffering through law school so that we can move on to the land of policy, however, it may require having the fear of god beaten into us. 😉 Congrats on your success!

  4. C Says:

    This Article should probably come with a “WARNING: Do Not Try This At Home” label. Otherwise, some poor stupid sap will read this, not study, fail the bar, and sue you. When that happens, call me because stupid kids who study pass the bar too 😉

    • Josh Blackman Says:

      LOL. Good point C. I should probably add a disclaimer. I may set up a claim of promissory estoppel. At one point, I knew if that was a valid claim in Virginia. But fortunately, all of that useless information has evanesced from my brain.

  5. B Says:

    Problem is, not everyone can get away with that. Everyone has different abilities when it comes to taking exams and understanding/analyzing the law. Another problem is that one never knows if he or she is studying too much/too little until AFTER the bar exam. Hindsight is 20/20. Better to be safe than sorry. However, I did study far less than many of my friends. This was a gamble I took, but I still don’t know if it has paid off.

  6. P Says:

    Thanks for this advice. I’ve recently decided to take the Virginia bar exam in February 2010. Are you willing to sell your Bar Bri books?


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