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Getting Ready for the New Jersey Bar Exam  

Last Updated: Dec 13, 2016 URL: http://libguides.law.rutgers.edu/content.php?pid=702814 Print Guide RSS Updates
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Study Aids & Practice Materials

These materials are designed to help Rutgers Law School graduates pass the New Jersey Bar Examination.  Keep the usual caveat in mind: A good resource for one may not work well for another.  Use what you think will work best for you depending on your learning style and how you prefer to study.

Print Resources:

The following print materials are on Reserve and are available for special check-out at the Circulation Desk.  Nota Bene:  All Rutgers Law graduates are entitled to alumni borrowing privileges from the Library.  To activate your new account you will need to update your record at the Circulation Desk.

  1. Sara Berman, Pass the Bar Exam, KF 303 .B45 2013.  Commentary: A comprehensive overview of the bar exam.  This is a lot of material to cover so you will need to be selective about which parts of the book to read in depth depending on how you view your strengths and weaknesses.  Even if this is your first attempt at taking the bar exam, I recommend that you read Chapter 11 – Why Didn’t I Pass the Bar Exam?  Look at the ten-point list on pp. 279 – 282 to see common reasons why people don’t pass and what you can do to avoid those pitfalls.

  2. Keith Elkin, MBE: Beginning Your Campaign to Pass the Bar Exam, KF303 .E428 2011. Commentary: Chapters 2 and 3 are worth the price of admission with this book.  Elkin takes a “broad lens” approach to legal analysis and a “narrow lens” approach on reading the exam fact patterns.  In Chapters 4 and 5 he then provides a series of exercises – not practice exams but actual exercises – aimed at sharpening your ability to take the exam. 

  3. Mary Campbell Gallagher, Scoring High on Bar Exam Essays, KF303 .G35 2006 (two copies on Reserve).  Commentary: This is the recognized classic on how to handle essay questions on the bar exam.  Closely review pp. 3 – 73.  There are some practice exams with sample answers.  Some are geared to New York law.  Read Appendix A on legal analysis.  Look for the exercises that will help you sharpen your analysis skills.  If you don’t remember what IRAC is you are going to want to read this book.

  4. Rosemary LaPuma, If I Don’t Pass the Bar I’ll Die, KF303 .L3 2008.  Commentary: Despite the somewhat flakey title, this book is a real gem.  There are brief suggestions on how to budget your time before and during the bar exam and how to improve your essay and multiple-choice test-taking skills.  Topics covered: (a) mental toughness, (b) unmanaged stress and worry, (c) intellectual and physical endurance (d) psychological endurance, and (e) improving test skills.

  5. Suzanne Darrow-Kleinhaus, The Bar Exam in a NutShell, 2nd ed., KF303 .D37 2009 (two copies on Reserve).  Commentary: This is the classic nutshell treatment on taking the bar exam.  Look for comprehensive (too comprehensive?) coverage of all issues concerning the exam. Getting through all of the material might be worthwhile if you have the time.  If not, choose wisely my friend.  Read pp. 1 – 16 and review the Table of Contents before tackling the rest of the book.  We also have the 1st edition from 2003 – still worth the read if you have time.

  6. Riebe & Schwartz, Pass the Bar!, KF303 .R54 2006.  Commentary: Yet another comprehensive book on the bar exam.  If you are a 2L some of this material will be very interesting.  If you are in your final preparations for the bar exam you will not have time to review everything – choose what you review depending on how you view your strengths and weaknesses.

  7. Friedland & Shapiro, The Essential Rules for Bar Exam Success, KF303 .F75 2008.  Commentary: If you are stressed for time consider limiting your review to the first 69 pages.  Then go on to the chapters on Critical Reading, Critical Thinking and Critical Writing.  The authors do an excellent job of explaining the difference between a law school exam and the bar exam.   

Practice Resources:

  1. New Jersey Bar Examination (Essay). CAVEAT #1 - The NJ Supreme Court recently decided to adopt the Uniform Bar Examination beginning with the February 2017 examination.  It seems likely that past essay questions set out below will be become irrelevant at that time.  Regardless, until February 2017, the bar exam essay questions should look like past essay questions.  Follow this link to the NJ Board of Bar Examiners examination archives at, Questions & Sample Answers, https://www.njbarexams.org/bar-exam-questions-and-sample-answers  These are free.  CAVEAT #2: The answers should NOT be considered “model” answers.  These are “sample” answers to the NJ essays “drawn from passing candidates who earned very high scores on the essays selected.”  Please note the form in which the answers are to be provided and you will see why a refresher in IRAC might be a good idea. 

  2. Practice MBE exams from the National Conference of Bar Examiners.   Their website is here at, http://www.ncbex.org/  The practice exam page is at, http://www.ncbex.org/practice-exams/ or you can go right to the NCBE Study Aids Store here at, http://store.ncbex.org/.   You can buy the online practice exams 1 – 4 for $50 each.  From the NCBE site:  “Examinees can take the practice exams timed or untimed and receive feedback on their answers, including annotations and a customized score report designed to help identify strengths and weaknesses in the six MBE subject areas.”  Considering your overall investment in your legal education paying $50 to take a practice exam is a bargain.  Have your credit card ready.

  3. Free sample MBE questions and answers are available on the NCBE site here at, http://www.ncbex.org/about-ncbe-exams/mbe/preparing-for-the-mbe/.   There are answer keys but no analysis of why any answer is right or wrong.

  4. A free Practice MPRE exam with an answer key but no analysis of the answers is available here at, http://www.ncbex.org/assets/media_files/MPRE/MPRE-Sample-Test-Questions.pdf .  The NCBE sells an online practice exam for $35.00 on the NCBE Study Aids Store.  As with the MBE online practice exam the MPRE online exam comes with feedback.

  5. Steven Emanuel, Strategies & Tactics for the MBE, 5th ed., KF303 .W345 2013 and Steven Emanuel, Strategies & Tactics for the MBE 2, KF303 .E46 2013.  Both are on Reserve.  Commentary: If you are worried about the MBE (and you should be), you will want to review the many practice questions and taking the practice exams in these two books.  Why are these books so good?  To see why, review the analysis that follows each question.  It tells you why one answer is right and the other three are wrong. 

Good luck!

Revised by Lee Sims – June 2016

      
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