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The Law School Toolbox Podcast: Tools for Law Students from 1L to the Bar Exam, and Beyond

The Law School Toolbox podcast is an engaging show for law students about law school, the bar exam, legal careers, and life. Each week, we offer practical tips and advice on academic matters, careers, and more. The Law School Toolbox podcast is hosted by opinionated law school and bar exam experts Alison Monahan and Lee Burgess. You might not always agree with us, but we guarantee you won’t be bored listening! Our goal is to impart useful, actionable advice in an entertaining manner. Join us! And, if you have an opinion on the show, please drop by and offer a review. We’re here to help, and we’d love to hear from you!
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The Law School Toolbox Podcast: Tools for Law Students from 1L to the Bar Exam, and Beyond
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Now displaying: Category: bar exam
Jan 15, 2018

Welcome to the Law School Toolbox Podcast! Today, we're talking about something that's incredibly important for everyone who's preparing for the bar exam, which is self-care. Because, let's face it, studying for the bar exam is stressful and, actually, so is legal practice. So, working on self-care during the bar exam study period is one thing that will probably help you pass and also help you in your career later.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Paying attention to your breathing, and using breath work for mental wellness and stress relief
  • Making time to exercise – it’s good for your brain and memory!
  • Laughter therapy – tricking your brain to produce more serotonin
  • Mindfulness: what it is, why it works, and how to incorporate it in your daily routine
  • Simple yoga poses for stress relief
  • Allowing yourself breaks – you’re not a robot
  • Real life ways of getting adequate sleep and nourishing your body with food and water

Resources:

Episode Transcript: Download the Transcript  (https://lawschooltoolbox.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Episode-129-Self-Care-During-Bar-Prep.pdf)

If you enjoy the podcast, we'd love a nice review and/or rating on iTunes  (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/law-school-toolbox-podcast/id1027603976) (or your listening platform of choice). And feel free to reach out to us directly. You can always reach us via the contact form on the Law School Toolbox website (http://lawschooltoolbox.com/contact). If you're concerned about the bar exam, check out our sister site, the Bar Exam Toolbox (http://barexamtoolbox.com/).

Thanks for listening!

Alison & Lee

Oct 30, 2017

Welcome back to the Law School Toolbox Podcast. Today we're  talking about alternative bar prep options outside of the big commercial programs. Turns out, not everyone learns the same way, so you want to make sure your bar prep will work for you!

Historically, most people studied for the bar exam the same way, taking a large commercial course such as BARBRI. Now, bar takers are fortunate to be able to explore different prep options, try them out, and put together a personalized bar program that is going to give them the best chance at passing.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Key elements necessary for any effective bar prep program
  • The importance of feedback, and making sure you understand the level of feedback your program offers
  • Is tutoring right for you?
  • Creating an effective and reasonable study schedule for you and your life
  • The pros and cons of a wide variety of bar prep resources
  • How to self-study and pass the bar exam

Resources:

Episode Transcript: Download the Transcript  (http://lawschooltoolbox.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Episode-121-Alternative-Bar-Prep-Options.pdf)

If you enjoy the podcast, we'd love a nice review and/or rating on iTunes  (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/law-school-toolbox-podcast/id1027603976) (or your listening platform of choice). And feel free to reach out to us directly. You can always reach us via the contact form on the Law School Toolbox website (http://lawschooltoolbox.com/contact). If you're concerned about the bar exam, check out our sister site, the Bar Exam Toolbox (http://barexamtoolbox.com/).

Thanks for listening!

Alison & Lee

Mar 27, 2017

Welcome back! Today, we’re talking with Ariel Salzer, tutor for the Law School Toolbox and Bar Exam Toolbox, about the upcoming July 2017 bar exam season! Change is in the air, especially with the new California bar exam format and new MBE scoring rules, so your strategy might shift a bit. But one thing remains constant: you can’t get through any bar exam without deliberate, focused, and practical studying—and a lot of it.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Changes to the California bar exam format from 3 days to 2 days
  • Potential winners and losers with the new format
  • The impact of reducing the California performance test to one 90-minute segment
  • Chatter about the exam changes and the debate over lowering the passing score in California—and why you should ignore all of it during your bar exam prep
  • Practicing active learning for the MBE and recognizing legally significant facts
  • The benefits of, and strategies for, starting your bar prep early

Resources:

Esqyr (http://www.esqyr.com/)
Esqyr 10% Off Coupon (http://www.esqyr.com/barexamtoolbox/)
SmartBarPrep.com (http://www.smartbarprep.com/)
State Bar of California Notice re: Modification to Format and Grading of the California Bar Examination Effective with July 2017 Administration (http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/4/documents/Examinations/NoticeTwoDay0815_R.pdf)
“California bar exam’s passing score should be lowered, critics say.” (http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/California-bar-exam-s-passing-score-should-be-10999240.php)
Sample 90-Minute Performance Test Instructions and File (http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/4/documents/specialNotices/2017_Sample_90-MinutePT_File_R.pdf)
Podcast Episode 78: Advice for First-Time Bar Exam Takers (http://barexamtoolbox.com/podcast-episode-78-advice-first-time-bar-exam-takers/)
Podcast Episode 52: Bar Exam Tips for Mastering the MBE (http://barexamtoolbox.com/podcast-episode-52-bar-exam-tips-mastering-mbe/)
Please Do Not Spend All of Your Time Studying the Law! (http://barexamtoolbox.com/please-do-not-spend-all-of-your-time-studying-the-law/)
Can Studying Early Help You Pass the Bar Exam? (http://barexamtoolbox.com/can-studying-early-help-you-pass-the-bar-exam/)
How to Become Great at Taking the Bar Exam with Deliberate Practice (http://barexamtoolbox.com/become-great-taking-bar-exam/)
Why I Hired a Bar Exam Tutor (http://barexamtoolbox.com/hired-bar-exam-tutor)

Bar Exam Workshops and Courses at BarExamToolbox.com:

Writing of the Week (WOW) Bar Essay Workshop (http://barexamtoolbox.com/writing-of-the-week-wow-bar-essay-workshop/)
California Bar Exam Tutoring (http://barexamtoolbox.com/california-bar-exam-tutoring/)
Florida Bar Exam Tutoring (http://barexamtoolbox.com/florida-bar-exam-tutoring/)
Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), MEE, and MPT Tutoring (http://barexamtoolbox.com/uniform-bar-exam-ube-mee-and-mpt-tutoring/)

Episode Transcript: Download the Transcript (http://lawschooltoolbox.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Episode-90-2017-Bar-Exam-with-Ariel-Salzer.pdf)

If you enjoy the podcast, we'd love a nice review and/or rating on iTunes (or your listening platform of choice). And feel free to reach out to us directly. You can always reach us via the contact form on the Law School Toolbox website (http://lawschooltoolbox.com/contact). If you're prepping for the bar exam, be sure to check out our Bar Exam Toolbox website (http://barexamtoolbox.com), too.

Thanks for listening!

Alison & Lee

Mar 6, 2017

Welcome back. Today, we’re talking with Chris J. Henjum, an attorney and social entrepreneur. Chris is the co-founder of Esqyr.com, a public benefit corporation devoted to providing credible, affordable test prep (starting with the bar exam). Chris is also an attorney and analyst with Flaherty & Hood in St. Paul, Minnesota.

If you're looking for bar prep options, or want to learn more about social entrepreneurship, tune in!

In this episode we discuss:

  • Why Chris took three bar exams, and then founded a bar prep company!
  • Why are most bar prep courses so expensive?
  • The challenges of balancing a side hustle with a full-time job and a new child
  • What's it like to be a social entrepreneur, and what causes is Esqyr.com working to support?
  • Chris and Lee discuss their favorite tools for organizing their lives and businesses
  • Tips for success in law school and on the bar exam
  • Why flash cards are terrible for learning the law
  • How to handle failure and react to criticism

Resources

Episode Transcript: Download the Transcript

If you enjoy the podcast, we'd love a nice review and/or rating on iTunes (or your listening platform of choice). And feel free to reach out to us directly. You can always reach us via the contact form on the Law School Toolbox website (http://lawschooltoolbox.com/contact). If you're concerned about the bar exam, check out our sister site, the Bar Exam Toolbox (http://barexamtoolbox.com/).

Thanks for listening! Best of luck on the bar exam!

Alison & Lee

Jan 16, 2017

Welcome back! Today, we're talking about the basics of the bar exam. This episode might send shudders down your spine if you're a 3L looking to take the bar exam next summer, or perhaps you're thinking, "Hey, I'm a 1L. Why should I be worrying about this so early?"

Well, the reality is the bar exam is a pretty big deal and is one of the final hurdles to becoming a lawyer. So whether you're taking the next bar exam or taking it a few years from now, you need to understand the basics, to ensure you prepare effectively and only have to take it once!

(We're pleased to announce our episodes now contain a transcript, which you'll find below. Enjoy!)

In this episode we discuss:

  • Bar exam basics, especially California and the UBE states
  • What the UBE consists of (MPT, MBE, MEE)
  • What the performance test covers and how to prepare
  • What to expect on the MBE and how to prepare
  • Being strategic and matching your bar exam planning to your career objectives
  • Questions to ask yourself as you decide which bar exam to take
  • The changes coming to the California bar exam
  • Should you wait to take the CA bar exam? 
  • Will CA be harder or easier after the changes?
  • Planning ahead for the bar exam as a 1L and 2L 
  • Other state bar exams you may encounter
  • Choosing the right bar review provider and whether you need to buy immediately as a law student
  • What are accommodations and how can you get them for the bar exam?
  • Should you take bar electives in law school?
  • The future of the bar exam

Resources

Episode Transcript: Download a copy of the transcript

If you enjoy the podcast, we'd love a nice review and/or rating on iTunes. And feel free to reach out to us directly. You can always reach us via the contact form on the Law School Toolbox website (http://lawschooltoolbox.com/contact).

Thanks for listening! Good luck on the bar exam.

Alison & Lee

Jan 2, 2017

Welcome back! Today we're sharing advice for first-time bar exam takers, to ensure you can take the test once and pass. Even if you're still in law school, and the bar exam is years away, it's never too early to get informed and chart a course for success, so tune in.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Mistakes first-time bar takers commonly make
  • How to evaluate what type of bar prep is for you
  • Do you need to take a commercial bar prep course?
  • The importance of knowing your strengths and weaknesses when studying
  • Alison and Lee share their experience as first-time bar exam takers
  • Avoiding burnout while studying for the bar
  • What to do if you sense that your bar prep course isn't working for you
  • What role minimum competency should play in your bar exam strategy
  • Ways to prepare for the MBE efficiently
  • Preparing for the day of the bar exam
  • How to prepare for emergencies that may arise as you're studying or on test day
  • The importance of targeted practice
  • Accommodations and how to get them

Resources

Download a copy of this transcript (http://lawschooltoolbox.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Episode-79-Making-the-most-of-second-semester.pdf)

If you enjoy the podcast, we'd love a nice review and/or rating on iTunes. And feel free to reach out to us directly. You can always reach us via the contact form on the Law School Toolbox website (http://lawschooltoolbox.com/contact). And we have lots of bar exam advice on our Bar Exam Toolbox (http://barexamtoolbox.com) site.

Thanks for listening! Good luck on the bar exam.

Alison & Lee

Nov 21, 2016

Welcome back! Today we're talking about a difficult reality – what happens when you don’t pass the bar exam. Ariel Salzer, one of our bar exam tutors, is here with Lee to share some advice.

If you got disappointing bar exam news, we have helpful tips in this podcast to help you regroup and get ready to pass next time. If you're in law school now, you can also find some useful information on how to be as prepared as possible so, hopefully, you only have to take the bar exam once. 

In this episode we discuss:

  • What should you do when you get bad news?
  • Does anyone really care if you failed (other than you)?
  • How to analyze what went wrong
  • Strategies for self-reflection
  • Why it's important to feel bad and take some time and space to be upset
  • Creating your bar prep mission statement
  • How to make sure you aren't setting yourself up for the same mistakes on your next attempt
  • How to hold yourself accountable during the bar study period
  • Avoiding self-sabotage
  • How to tell people you failed
  • Do you need accommodations and how to seek them?
  • Should you take the next bar exam or wait?
  • How to take a more active role in the correction, review, and rewrite process

Resources

If you enjoy the podcast, we'd love a nice review and/or rating on iTunes. And feel free to reach out to us directly. You can always reach us via the contact form on the Law School Toolbox website (http://lawschooltoolbox.com/contact).

Thanks for listening! And good luck on the bar exam.

Alison & Lee

Jun 27, 2016

Welcome back! Today we're talking about how to conquer the bar exam, specifically the MBE. Taking six hours of multiple choice questions is challenging for just about everyone. For some, however, it can be a major speed bump on the road to bar exam success. 

Don't let the MBE prevent you from passing the bar exam. We've got some tips and strategies!

In this episode we discuss:

  • An overview of the MBE
  • How to find out exactly what's covered
  • What to expect during the MBE on test day
  • Why is the MBE so challenging?
  • What is the best way to study for the MBE?
  • Lee and Alison share their MBE experiences
  • Why practice is so important
  • The right way to practice
  • How much should you worry about timing?
  • What to do if you are really struggling with the MBE

If you enjoy the podcast, we'd love a nice review and/or rating on iTunes. And feel free to reach out to us directly. You can always reach us via the contact form on the Law School Toolbox website (http://lawschooltoolbox.com/contact). And check out our Bar Exam Toolbox website (http://barexamtoolbox.com) for more bar exam advice.

Thanks for listening! Best of luck on the bar exam!

Alison & Lee

Resources:

Jun 13, 2016

Welcome back to the Law School Toolbox podcast! Today we are focusing on the bar exam performance test. Joining Lee is guest Doretta McGinnis, one of our highly experienced bar exam and law school tutors. 

The performance test portion of the bar exam can be challenging for people, but with these tips you can conquer it and score well. Good luck!

In this episode we discuss:

  • Why is the performance test so hard?
  • The importance of following directions closely
  • Is practicing enough? How should you evaluate your work?
  • Why do students put off practice or refuse to do it? 
  • Why you should have a performance test plan 
  • The link between legal writing and the performance test
  • Lee and Doretta share common mistakes students make
  • How to improve your time management
  • How to make the grader's job easy

If you enjoy the podcast, we'd love a nice review and/or rating on iTunes. And feel free to reach out to us directly. You can always reach us via the contact form on the Law School Toolbox website (http://lawschooltoolbox.com/contact). And check out our bar exam site: Bar Exam Toolbox (http://barexamtoolbox.com).

Thanks for listening! Best of luck with the bar exam.

Alison & Lee

Resources:

May 30, 2016

Welcome back! Today we have one of our most experienced bar tutors, Ariel Salzer with us to talk about the essay portion of the bar exam. Many students dread (and even put off) practicing for the essays. We dig into why this is and give helpful tips on how to tackle those essays and find bar exam success. 

In this episode we discuss:

  • Why are the bar exam essays so challenging?
  • The favorite strategy for preparing for the bar exam essays
  • Why is practice so important? 
  • Why students refuse to practice
  • Is re-writing worth your time? 
  • Why you need to do what makes you uncomfortable
  • Preparing yourself mentally and emotionally
  • Ariel and Lee share their bar essay experiences
  • The importance of self-evaluation
  • How to study the law to make your essays easier to write
  • What the graders are really looking for
  • How and why to take your timed practice tests
  • How to make the bar exam graders' job easy and get maximum points

Resources: 

Thanks for listening!

If you enjoy the podcast, we'd love a nice review and/or rating on iTunes. And feel free to reach out to us directly. You can always reach us via the contact form on the Law School Toolbox website (http://lawschooltoolbox.com/contact). And don't forget about our bar exam site: Bar Exam Toolbox! (http://barexamtoolbox.com)

Enjoy! And best of luck with the bar exam.

Alison & Lee

May 23, 2016

Welcome back! Today we're discussing the top five mistakes students consistently make when preparing for the bar exam, with special guest Ariel Salzer. Ariel is one of our most experienced bar exam tutors, so we’re very excited to have her here today to give us a rundown of the biggest mistakes she sees students making – so you can avoid them!

We'd like to thank this episode's sponsor, one of our favorite MBE bar prep products, Adaptibar (www.adaptibar.com). With Adaptibar, you can practice with licensed questions released directly from the NCBE and used on past exams, and the program will automatically adjust to focus on your weakest areas. Students also tell us that they love studying on their mobile devices and laptops, and leaving the heavy MBE books at home. Interested? Use code C8UX at checkout for a $55 discount. 

Let's get to the show!

In this episode we discuss:

  • The single biggest mistake students make when preparing for the bar exam
  • How to take a "training wheels" approach to bar study
  • Why you should do what makes you most uncomfortable
  • Why you need to outline your essay on scratch paper
  • Whether you should practice in exam conditions
  • What does "minimum competency" mean in relation to the bar exam?
  • Fixing your problem areas
  • How you should be tracking what you personally need to work on
  • Why it's valuable to come up with your own attack plans
  • Memorizing in broad strokes vs. finer detail
  • The importance of mindfulness 

Resources: 

Thanks for listening!

If you enjoy the podcast, we'd love a nice review and/or rating on iTunes. And feel free to reach out to us directly. You can always reach us via the contact form on the Law School Toolbox website (http://lawschooltoolbox.com/contact). And don't forget about our bar exam site: Bar Exam Toolbox! (http://barexamtoolbox.com)

Enjoy! And best of luck with the bar exam.

Alison & Lee

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