Uniform Bar Examination
A high-stakes standardized test like the bar exam can be both mentally and physically challenging. As you begin to think about your test preparation, consider not only the study demands necessary to learn and memorize a large body of substantive law, but the burden of producing your best thinking under testing conditions. This Bar Success Workbook provides both advice and information to get you into the right mindset for the exam.
Delivering your best performance during the actual bar exam takes practice. Even if you are well-skilled with the material you need to know, you will still want to be introspective about yourself as a test taker. Learn about your own testing style, your strengths, and your challenges. The UBE tests not just your substantive knowledge and analytical skills, but your ability to manage your time and to make sharp strategic choices while answering questions.
Bar Study FAQ
How much time should I spend studying for the bar exam?
Every test taker is different and comes to this test with their own set of skills, strengths, and knowledge. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. But as a general rule of thumb, you may want to take on your bar preparation as if it is a full time job, spending perhaps 8 hours a day for a period of many weeks, ideally the three months leading up to your test. If you know you cannot put in that many hours a day, you may want to increase the length of time you have available to study by starting earlier. It is reasonable to spend between 300 to 500 hours studying for this test.
Should I enroll in commercial bar prep?
Yes, for the vast majority of students targeted bar prep is essential. This test requires a significant amount of substantive law be learned, understood, and memorized. If financial considerations are a concern for you, please reach out to our team for help thinking through alternate options for free and inexpensive support; no one should try to go it alone.
Must I complete my whole bar prep course? And if I do, will that be enough to guarantee I pass?
Your commercial course is neither sufficient nor necessary to ensure bar success. Your course will likely prepare you with all the substantive law you need in all the key areas tested and especially in the most tested areas of law. However, there is no substitute for you doing some active practicing on your own. Completing or substantially completing the course lectures and learning modules is very important, but make sure you are also doing practice questions on your own - including some practice essay tasks and many practice multiple choice questions.
Some of my friends have huge stacks of books, flashcards, outlines and other materials. Is all that necessary?
Maybe. But probably not. Any high quality commercial bar review course is likely to provide you with enough excellent material from which to study. If it suits your style to supplement your course by purchasing or creating additional study guides and materials, do so. Consider, too, whether you may want or need extra support on certain areas of the law with which you are less familiar.
Should I create my own outlines?
Your commercial prep course will likely provide you with outlines that cover all the content you need. However, in some sense they may even provide you with too much. It may be helpful to distil down, paraphrase, and synthesize, the material, so you have less black letter law to memorize.
Do I have to take practice tests?
You absolutely should do at least some practice test questions. Some bar prep programs encourage students to sit for practice test questions with an open book and loosely structured timing, others suggest you always work with strict timing and no cheats. Regardless of how you do it, make sure you do plenty of realistic active practice. You should progress toward at least some test-day-like testing practice to familiarize yourself with what the test is like and make sure you practice your time-management skills.
After I take a practice test do I have to spend the time to review it?
Reviewing your performance is an important part of test preparation. You want to make sure you understand why you got questions wrong, or right. Self-assess so that you can address whatever issues are impacting your performance. The more you know the substantive law, the quicker your review will go. Remember, just because you missed a question on a practice MBE doesn't mean you didn't know the relevant rule being tested. There are many ways to get a question wrong. Similarly, there are many reasons your written work might not have received a high score. Review any feedback from your practice tasks, that is how you improve.
Engage in self-regulated learning until you achieve passing scores on practice tests.
The UBE is administered by NCBE but delivered at jurisdiction-managed test sites. In Arizona, it is given in-person at the Convention Center in Phoenix. Test takers should plan ahead for the additional burdens that may be presented by needing to travel to Phoenix to sit for the exam.
Takers may elect to perform the written portions of the test (MEE and MPT) on a computer. Read about Computer-Based Testing on the Arizona Supreme Court's website. Takers must register their laptop, pay a $125.00 fee, download software, and complete "trial exam" if they wish to use their computer. Everyone else will hand write the written exam tasks. All test takers will complete the MBE (multiple choice) section in a paper/pencil format with a scantron score sheet.
A full set of examination regulations can be found here, but some basics:
- no cell phones or other electronic devices are permitted
- no back packs, book bags, or purses are permitted
- no food of any kind is permitted
- no headwear is permitted, except religious headwear
- no ear plugs may be brought by the test taker; but earplugs are provided
- no writing utensils may be brought in; pens and pencils are provided
- no visitors or family members are allowed at the test center
- no weapons are permitted
- there are many additional requirements related to writing on testing materials, taking testing materials from the center, and continuing to work after time is called. PLEASE review the full set of regulations
You are allowed to get up, for instance to use the restroom, without permission, but no one may get up 15 minutes prior to the end of the session or while instructions are being given.
You are presented with all the test items in the given section (i.e. all six MEE tasks, both MPT tasks, or 100 multiple choice questions) at once. You may work on the items you have available to you in any order you wish.