More Than a Quarter of Law School Graduates Feel Unprepared for Bar Exam

By Catherine Groux
Posted October 25, 2012 12:00 PM

About one-quarter of law school students to not feel prepared to pass the bar exam.
About one-quarter of law school students to not feel prepared to pass the bar exam.
When students graduate from law school, one of the biggest obstacles they face is passing the bar exam. In order to legally practice law, these individuals must pass their state's exam, which tests their knowledge of state laws, U.S. common law, legal ethics and a variety of other topics over the course of two or three days.

Today, while most students praise the quality of their law school education, many do not feel it adequately prepared them to take this strenuous exam.

Many Students Are Unprepared

A new Kaplan Bar Review survey of more than 700 law school graduates from the class of 2012 shows that a majority value the time they spent in school. About 37% of these individuals said they would give their law school education an "A" grade, while 53% would give it a "B."

However, despite how much these students praised their law school education, about 28% said their graduate courses did not prepare them to pass the bar exam, which is crucial for new Juris Doctor (JD) holders.

"From the new JD's perspective, passing the bar is critical because many employers will not consider applicants until they have a license to practice law," said Steven Marietti, vice president and general manager of the Kaplan Bar Review.

Properly Preparing for the Bar

According to the Florida State University College of Law, it is never too early for students to start preparing for the bar exam. Throughout the course of their law school careers, they should familiarize themselves with the format of the test, as well as what it covers, and then craft their course schedule around those topics. Students want to avoid learning about subjects included on the bar exam for the first time during prep courses, so they should ensure they are picking courses that cover these topics. If students tend to struggle academically, they should consider taking extra courses on subjects included on the bar exam, even if they are not required for graduation.

Additionally, law school graduates should take bar prep courses, which are offered through a wide range of state institutions.

"Preparation courses are not optional; you need to take one to pass the bar exam," Southwestern Law School's website states. "There are many good courses out there, with many different teaching styles."

Overall, students should keep in mind that preparing for the bar can be extremely time consuming and expensive. Therefore, it is crucial for them to plan their schedules and finances accordingly from the moment they enroll in law school. 

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