By Saurabh Aggarwal, Guest Blogger and BARBRI Legal Coordinator
I recently sat the New York State Bar Exam. It was an experience like no other for me. If you are preparing to enter the uncharted waters of a U. S. state bar exam, it is my hope that what I share here will help ease the apprehension and uncertainty you may be feeling toward exam day.
As a foreign-educated attorney with roots in Toronto, Canada, I looked to the New York Bar Exam as a way to expand my horizons and heighten my legal competency. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully immersed in my work within BARBRI. But, the additional qualification will serve to enhance what I have to offer my employer and the legal field.
Because I am a full-time working professional, I knew I would need flexibility in my bar exam studies. I chose the BARBRI Extended U.S. Bar Preparation course over six months because it allowed me to weave in studies with my other commitments. There are options with BARBRI, so finding the right path to prepare for the bar exam is highly individualized and simplified.
With BARBRI, I had one-on-one support from a tutor that was invaluable in keeping me focused where I most needed to be. Since I’m not usually a high-performer on multiple-choice tests, the tutor understood it would be beneficial for me to practise tons of multiple-choice questions under timed conditions to best prepare for the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE).
FAST-FORWARD TO THE EXAM
The first tip I offer you is to book your lodging accommodations early. If you will be traveling to a test location, take it from me, you don’t want to wait until the last minute to book a hotel. I chose to stay near my family in Toronto and drive to the Buffalo, N.Y. test location the day of the exam. Even finding a hotel in Toronto proved to be rather difficult, and I ended up with a 30-minute commute.
Here’s what else I learned during my bar exam experience:
- The testing centre gets really busy, so arriving early is smart to avoid unnecessary delays in check-in and seating.
- I didn’t waste hours worrying about the exam the night before. Instead, I found it worked well to do a quick read over my notes and to get a good night’s sleep. (After all, I had prepared well with BARBRI.) I went into the first day’s Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) and Multistate Performance Test (MPT) quite rested and relaxed, and the exams went smoothly as a result.
- Although lunch may be purchased before sitting the exam, I chose to eat out nearby to give my mind a break and enjoy a change of scenery before the afternoon MEE. Additional snacks and water are a must to have on hand as well. Quiet snacks helped me stay focused without being disruptive to anyone and the water kept me hydrated.
- The exam portions are quite long and lengthy, and time is of the essence. I found it worked best for me to briefly read through the questions and plan out my answers to those with which I was most comfortable before diving in. I completed all of my essays within the time allowed and was able to review my answers before submitting them.
- Hypotheticals for the MBE especially require time and good attention. I highlighted the key issue in each hypo, took the time to really comprehend it, and then chose the best answer from the options provided. Remember, I had to work a lot of MBE questions during my studies to gain confidence in doing so for the exam―but it was totally worth it.
Only you know what will work best for you when it comes to preparation and exam day. So adopt a study and test strategy that will best suit your individual desire for success. A bar prep provider that offers the services you feel will be most beneficial and that tailors a programme to meet your personal study goals can make all the difference. Go wisely, and best of luck on the bar!
For further support, visit BARBRI International for tailored advice on the New York Bar Exam process.