Bar Final is just like other examinations, it is a test of knowledge acquired in classes and engagement in court and chamber activities. it is is not different form what you have experience over the last half decades in your universities.
HELPFUL TIPS TO BAR FINALS
These are helpful tips I used while I was preparing for Bar Final Exams. I am sure you will find them useful.
i) PAST QUESTION! PAST QUESTIONS!! PAST QUESTION!!!
Anytime I have the opportunity to talk to a candidate of Bar Final Exams, I always emphasize the importance of Past Questions. Love your past question, romance your past question, be very familiar with your PQ. Study your PQ extensively both MCQ and essay.
When you do this, you become familiar with the kind of questions they ask, how they present their questions and how you are required to answer them
It’s not really about how many times you have finished the syllabus, but about how much you can put what you have read in use. It is about reading wisely and well, not necessarily reading hard.
I must say that one of the primary things that helped me during Bar Finals was my familiarity with PQ.
It helped streamline my reading; my reading was with direction. Thus, my advice is that if you have not been using your PQ well, you can pick them up and become very familiar with them, and if you have been using it keep the good work.
When I say be familiar with your PQ, I don’t mean merely reading it. I mean practice the questions. Get your jotter and pen, time yourself and get it marked. This would make you know where you are in your reading.
Most of what I read and practiced the morning of exam was PQ, and it indeed did me for well.
ii) DRAFT! DRAFT!!DRAFT!!!
Hope we are working on learning and mastering the drafts. If you’re yet to do that, please start working on all the drafts. We have from now till April to practice them, please make use of the time you have. Intentionally dedicate days to practice your drafts.
The idea is not about memorizing your drafts, but rather consciously practicing them. Get your jotter, your pen and practice those drafts!
It is easier than you think. Remember, practice makes perfect. I’ll never advice someone to read under pressure; don’t try to rush when exam is up close. Make use of the time you have now.
Also, one essential step you can do is that you can get a jotter, list out all the drafts in the five courses.
Let us use Civil Litigation for example, you can list out all the topics from the first week to the last week, then list out all the drafts. After that, you can try to practice all the drafts before going into the exam hall.
Don’t forget to practice Charges extensively for Criminal Litigation. This will definitely come out. For Professional Ethics, practice how to calculate Professional fees using the Scale of charges, Bill of Charges, Drafting Letters….on and on.
If you don’t understand any topic or draft, ask questions. Ask your colleagues, seniors or lecturers. It helps. Most times we spend time trying to understand a topic, when we can simply ask for explanations on them.
iv)Know the reading pattern that works for you
Some people are diurnal while some are nocturnal. What I mean by this is that some people strive well reading during the day, while some others strive reading at night. Know what works for you, and don’t compare yourself with others.
I’m more of a ‘day person’, so I ensured I used my day very well. I read from the time I wake up(after devotion) till when I sleep(always around 12). I read and read.
But, I had a roommate that was more active at night. So, I made it a duty not to compare myself with my roommate. I slept well at night(I hardly did anything like overnight because I read very well during the day).
However, looking at the tight calendar when you resume, your day might be very busy. So it would be good to know what works for you.
V.EAT WELL, REST WELL EVEN AS YOU READ WELL
My advice is that when we resume in January we should not try to starve ourselves of food and good rest. You need your body to do well.
I ate well! I rested well, even as I read very well. You can take a little break to eat and rest well. Don’t play with your health. Health is Wealth.
Especially during Bar Finals Week, please eat and rest well. You need it. It would help you process well during the Exams.
Try to make your handwriting legible. This makes it easy for the the maker of your script.
I know trying to rush during the exam to pen down everything you intend to write makes this difficult, but let us try to be conscious about this.
Your handwriting does not need to be fine, what is important is that your writing/work is legible, neat and clear
WORK ON YOUR TIMING
Start consciously practicing how to allocate your time while answering Bar Final questions.
During the exam, share your time wisely. Start practicing and working on your timing, even as you make use of the PQs.
Let me give an example: The time frame for essay question is 3hrs, and we are expected to answer 4 questions. What I did during the Bar Finals Exam is that I used 30 minutes for each question. Even if I don’t finish a particular question within 30 minutes, I leave it at a convenient point and start answering other questions.
Bearing in mind that there is one extra hour remaining, then I would revisit the questions I left out. And where I still have extra time, I ensure I go through all my answers.
This helped me, and I always finished on time.
NB: Know what works best for you. There is no hard or fast rule
We can employ the use of acronyms while reading. It makes reading faster and easier. It helped me a lot.
It is no news that when school resumes, there would be so many activities. There would be lectures, simulated externship program, rehearsals for mock trial and mock trials itself.
It is however my advice that you appropriate your time wisely. Don’t be carried away with the numerous things you need to do. Ensure you dedicate yourself to studying well.
Let us know that Bar Finals is not insurmountable. Rest, don’t fret. Ensure you read very well, prepare very well, pray well and trust God well. The Lord would definitely see you through. Bar Finals is actually the simplest exam you would ever write, my script felt so scanty(I dear not try this during my undergraduate days).
I remember Miss Grace(one of the lecturers at Enugu) saying that Law School syllabus is like an Ocean, but what they end up asking is just a Bucket of Water. I found this to be true during the exam.
Lastly, over confidence is not faith. Faith connotes trusting and relying on God.