Academic and Bar Exam Success Program (ABES)
Cometria Cooper, Assistant Director
The Academic and Bar Exam Success Program (ABES) begins for all students the first day of orientation and ends after students take the bar examination.
The Academic and Bar Exam Success (ABES) Program offers comprehensive support services to help all students succeed in law school and on the bar exam.
Faculty in the program provide students with formative assessment, online resources, workshops, and one-on-one meetings. Our goal is to equip students with learning theory, study strategies, testing techniques, and non-cognitive factors to excel.
First Year: During orientation week, ABES faculty introduce learning-style and note-taking techniques to help students prepare for the first week of classes. Throughout the first year, all students learn outlining and exam strategy skills and participate in weekly exam rehearsals. A consulting tutor is available to all students for each substantive class. The tutor holds office hours to answer questions and works with the ABES director to offer special sessions on problem solving and legal analysis. Individual counseling is also available for all first-year students.
Upper Division: After the first year, upper division students who have been identified as needing extra assistance after their first year of study can partner with an ABES faculty member to develop a plan for academic improvement. Consulting tutors are also available for specific bar classes.
Meeting one-on-one with the ABES professors is incredibly valuable. I appreciate their feedback on my writing and how to structure exam answers, as well as the supplemental resources they provide. The ABES class tutors also helped me succeed in my 1L classes."
— Angela Roze ’20
Second Year: ABES encourages students to understand that mastering the skills learned in the first-year exam rehearsals is essential to passing the bar examination. By starting bar preparation early, students gradually review the law and strengthen their study and test-taking strategies while in law school rather than cramming and experimenting with learning preferences after graduation.
The ABES upper division bar preparation program begins with a workshop focusing on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), connects previous lessons to the skills tested by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), and introduces students to the major bar preparation companies.
As 2Ls, students are also eligible to take bar preparation classes to improve their substantive knowledge and performance test (PT), multiple-choice, and essay exam-taking skills. The bar preparation classes include Legal Drafting and other advanced classes.
Third and Fourth Years and After Graduation: During the third and fourth years of law school, ABES offers two programs for first-time bar exam takers. The first program, Early Bar Prep, covers different testing formats, the goals of the drafters, how to study for the bar exam, and challenges encountered by graduates preparing for the exam, including time and stress management, maintaining stamina and confidence, and reducing the effect of stereotype threat. Early Bar Prep also introduces students to the actual components of the bar examination with PT, essay, and Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) in-class simulations. Each simulation normally includes a subsequent review of the sample answers, individual feedback, and self-assessment homework.
The second program is Bar PaS (Bar Prepare and Succeed), which supplements bar review courses. Bar PaS provides exam simulations in real test-like settings to provide students with a bar-like experience. It is tailored to each bar studier’s study plan and is coordinated with their major bar prep company’s schedules. There are four exam simulations and a separate exam bank. Each essay is graded and given detailed feedback to improve student performance.
Individual Meetings: All upper-division students can arrange individual meetings with ABES faculty members to discuss their bar preparation plans anytime during the second, third, and fourth years. If a graduate does not pass the exam on their first attempt, ABES provides support to repeaters through intake counseling sessions that help students identify their strengths and weakness and focus their study strategies.
Jamal Atiba, Assistant Professor and Hamill Fellow
Zief Library, 006