The last time I had a proper suit on was when I sat for my Kenya School of Law Oral exams which, as I shared here, didn’t quit go well (but i still aced the bar exams in the first round!!). The next time I had to think of a suit was when I was preparing to be admitted to the bar. None of the suits I owned fit me due to weight gain (which I have totally embraced) and so I got in touch with a number of known suit makers in town. I settled for David of Shytess Fashion a week to the big day and other than his previous works, I was drawn by his energy right when he picked up my call. He made me laugh the first few seconds and I knew this was the guy who would make my suit! There is something about people with positive energy and meeting David came to be a blessing. In that one week he changed my perspective in how I view life. You would have to contact him to understand exactly what I mean..but for today, let me share with you 5 tips on acing those bar exams!
Watch my Kenya School of Law Experience here
Watch Wig review here
My journey in the legal career has not been as smooth but I am grateful to God that I finally got admitted to the bar. If you follow my instagram posts, I summed up a series of emotions that I experienced as a newly admitted advocate on the 28th June 2018. (Click Here). A number of law students currently at the Kenya School of Law have contacted me ever since for support in terms of advice. As I write this, I know some have already had their oral exams whilst some are finishing. If you watched the video my friend Daki and I made on our Kenya School of Law experience, then you pretty much know what I’m going to write here. As you prepare for the bar exams, here are five tips that can help you pass those exams,
There is no short cut! You have to really put in the effort and prepare by studying for the exams. There is a lot of information that you need to know but the time is often very little . I remember studying for the exams and having to forgo a few parties here and there. It goes a long way if you actually sacrifice and study for the damn exams. As they say, hard work pays 😉 It’s true. You reap what you sow.
2. MEMORIZE THE RULES BUT UNDERSTAND THEIR APPLICATION
There are many laws and as much as it is hard to cram, you need to know the rules in order for you to apply them. By ‘memorize’, I mean that you should know them as well as understand what the rules actually mean. Once you memorize it, you will remember them and you will know instances where you need to apply them. Many of us are busy cramming the rules without understanding what they mean per se. That’s what I am discouraging. You need to understand what they mean and what scenario needs their application.
3. DOING PRACTICE QUESTIONS
This is particularly important after you have read the law and understood what it means. It will be easy for you to read a practice question in any past papers and immediately know exactly which law or legal principles are applicable. Do not ignore the past papers because the questions will help you practice your analytical skills. You need to analyse the facts and then be able to apply the rule of law required. In fact, in answering your questions, it is a good tip to follow the FIRAC rule i.e Read the Facts and then understand the Issues arising from the facts. Narrowing down the Issues helps you recognize Rule of Law applicable in that case; Analyse the facts vis-a-vis the law then draw a well reasoned Conclusion. This FIRAC rule helps you save time and articulate issues clearly; a tip that goes in handy during the actual bar exam.
4. GROUP WORK V INDIVIDUAL READING
I am aware that we all have different tactics when reading for an exam so whilst group work might work for some, it may not work for everyone. However, my experience while preparing for the bar exams taught me that it is extremely important to strike a balance between the two. The benefits of group work include:
- People help you identify hidden issues that you would otherwise not have recognized.
- You are able to cover a topic you otherwise didn’t know exists through exchange of knowledge.
- It’s easier to study with people when you feel a bit tired than it is to do the same alone. (So it helps you manage time you would have otherwise wasted)
My approach to deciding the approach to take was first to draw a plan i.e. work with a course outline to know all the topics I am expected to cover. I then read on my own so that then later on when I met my group members, I am equally valuable to the other members. A week to the exam I dedicated more time to personal study to cement what I already knew as well as read and internalize new concepts that popped up during group discussion. So it goes without saying that you definitely need to strike a balance between the two.
5. TAKE BREAKS WHEN YOU NEED TO / EAT WELL
It goes without saying that you need a looooot of energy to read for bar exams. In Kenya, the bar exams are scheduled everyday and in as much as your time is constrained to read for the next paper, it is necessary to take short breaks and naps to rest and rejuvenate. It’s also easy to neglect your health so please remember to eat so that you can have energy to read. I remember leaving the exam room feeling worn out yet I needed to prepare for the next day’s paper. I had to force myself to nap for two to three hours right after the paper so that I could reset my brain to read for the next day’s paper. I also forced myself to eat proper meals because I needed it. It’s easy to neglect your body because you will definitely be exhausted but please remember to take a short break because you need it! Take a good cup of coffee if you are a coffee lover to boost your energy level. (side not; Connect Coffee Roasters have really good coffee so try them out)
6. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND DO YOUR BEST
As you approach the bar exam, the tension levels go up and so do the stress levels. It’s usually a very difficult period and self doubt and anxiety can take the best of you. You have to affirm yourself that you can do it! Push yourself! Encourage yourself! Your mind is a very powerful tool. You have to believe that you can do it. Tap into you inner strength to continue even when you feel like giving up. It can be tempting to quit and walk away but I encourage you to face the exams and ace them! At some point, I actually felt like giving up because I wasn’t confident and ready for one paper (Advocates Accounts). But I pushed myself to go on and do the exam and give it my best. I was at peace knowing I did my best. Even if you feel like you have not read enough, do your best because at the end of the day, there is a lot of information to be processed and it’s very normal not to be able to read everything. What matters is that you did your best.
That’s all my loves. If you have time, watch the actual video covering my Kenya School of Law Experience here (…And subscribe to my channel 😉 and let’s connect more via my instagram page or facebook page where I share snippets of my life and try to be wise sometimes. 😉
I wish the best in your bar exams. Ace them!
Love and light,