The 5 Best Strategies To Pass the Bar as a Foreign Lawyer

Nov 24, 2021

#1: Fully Commit Yourself to the Preparation Process: Make Studying Your Full-Time Job

Taking the bar exam is a grueling endeavor: to pass, there is no magic formula but hardwork and dedication. In order to prepare yourself for success, you need to make studying your full-time job. If you are distracted by university studies, part-time employment, or other professional/personal commitments, you are only doing yourself a disservice, and your score on the exam will suffer as a result. Do your best to eliminate distractions, let family and friends know that you may be hard to reach, and find a secluded study space where you can maintain focus. Understand that two-months of diligent study is sufficient to pass. Most importantly of all, be willing to dedicate this amount of time so you can succeed and reap a lifetime of benefits from your admission to the bar in the United States.

#2: Stick to a Disciplined Study Schedule to Maintain Balance in Your Life

Maintaining a disciplined, consistent study schedule is absolutely essential to succeeding on the bar exam. You need to establish a routine that best suits your strengths as a student. If you are a morning person, then begin your studies early on in the day, if not, then begin and end later. Identify an environment that is conducive to intense focus, and put in a consistent 8+ hours of studying each and every day for at least a two month period. Stacking days on top of one another will allow you to tackle the vast amount of material you need to memorize in a steady, methodical fashion. Moreover, a disciplined schedule will grant you the freedom to still do the things you love even during your bar-prep. By consistently studying a specified number of hours each day -- say 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. -- and by avoiding procrastination and distractions, you will still find time to go out for a nice dinner, exercise, watch a movie, or enjoy some relaxation time. To study maintain your sanity during bar-prep, you must organize your days diligently, stick to your schedule, and make time for the things that bring you enjoyment in life. 

#3: Study Smart

Studying hard and putting in the necessary hours is of course important when preparing for the U.S. bar exam, but the need to study smart cannot be over overstated. Make sure you are devoting more time to the most highly-tested subjects as you prepare. Invest in great study materials and commit yourself to the learning process: you cannot be passive and merely skim over outlines, lectures, and readings. Use your time actively engaging with the subjects you will be tested on -- especially those that give you trouble -- and educate yourself on the nuances of the law. Furthermore, once you start feeling comfortable with the material, it is imperative that you put yourself under exam-like conditions. Practice multiple choice tests and essay writing under strict time constraints in order to acclimate yourself to the stresses of a testing environment. By taking timed exams throughout your preparation process, you will be able to identify areas of weakness and actively make adjustments to your study plan. Compare your essays to samples and get them graded by bar-prep experts to ensure that your English is good, and that your responses are organized, logical, and well-written. Carefully review incorrect questions or responses. Halfway through your bar-prep, perhaps consider taking a complete mock-exam in order to gauge where you are at in your studies. Make the best use out of your allotted study time each day and use the study practices that best fit your strengths as a learner.

#4: Prepare On-Site

Preparing in the United States -- perhaps at the university you completed your American legal studies at -- is always preferable to studying for the bar exam back home in your country of origin. Studying with your fellow law graduates will put you in the mindset you need to succeed: they will hold you accountable. Around them, you will be highly motivated to put forth 100% effort in your studies. If you go back home, it is much easier to become undisciplined and stray away from a rigorous study routine. Surrounding yourself with dedicated and ambitious individuals who have the same goal as you will only amplify your study efforts.

#5: Study for the Bar Exam as if Your Career Depended On It

Many foreign trained lawyers take the bar exam in the U.S. seeking dual accreditation but knowing that they will return home to their country of origin to practice law. This mindset is a recipe for failure. To adequately prepare for the bar exam, you need a sense of urgency to succeed. If foreign lawyers approach the bar as something that is not absolutely necessary for their career prospects, then they simply will not put forth the effort needed to pass. You need to trick yourself into thinking that your career rests on you passing the bar exam. This pressure is necessary, and will drive you to study as you never have before.

Our blog is an awesome library of resources for foreign lawyers interested in taking the Bar Exam.

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