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Law School Bar Skills Foundation 2019 Resources



To: Law School Academic Support Faculty

Start your own bar exam skills foundation effort at your law school.  Such an effort could increase your school's pass rate and send the positive message to the students, faculty, and alumni that bar exam performance is important at our law school.  This movement is becoming more prevalent as students and accreditors focus on success metrics to justify the high cost of a legal education.  The November 2011 National Jurist at page 24 identified a law schools' bar pass rates along with costs as the most important factors students look at in deciding which school to apply to and attend.

Law students assume their law school will prepare them for a legal career.  That includes teaching them the information that is necessary to pass the bar exam and get admitted to the profession.  Student class action lawsuits complaining of this deficiency and no jobs for students have recently been filed against more than a few law schools.  See  Lack of bar exam passage is a better student claim against their law school than the scarcity of legal jobs after they graduate over which the law school has no control.  Forward thinking schools realize proactivity is necessary.  Yale Law School professors are suggesting "Any student who has less than a 50% chance of passing the bar in three years' time, based on the statistics, should have to sign waivers acknowledging the risks of their education investment."  Click here to see the full article.  Some affirmative program is desirable to demonstrate your law schools committment in helping your students pass.

ABA OKs Required Law School Bar Exam Foundation Courses for Graduation

More Law Schools Offer Their Own Bar Prep Resources

Part of the reason why students struggle with passing the bar is that these exams are unlike a traditional law school exam.  It is multiple exams and covers numerous subjects in rapid fire that law schools teach in depth in many separate courses.  Further, knowing the law is not sufficient without experience working thousands of bar-exam style and degree of difficulty questions.  The questions should relate to legal issues popular with bar examiners, which may differ from law school exams and law school hornbooks.  The Rigos UBE texts all have question maps that make this cross-relationship quite easy.

Upon graduation your students are thrown in the deep end of this new complex exam format without a good grounding in the necessary bar exam skills and without enough time to practice working thousands of questions. Traditional bar review courses need to cram the depth and breadth of all the substantive coverage and exam strategy into a few weeks' time.  This may overwhelm many students because they simply can't get through it all in such a short time.  Start early.  In comparison, New York Law School recently introduced a law school "bar prep" foundation program aimed at the bottom third of the class and raised the school's pass rate from 58% to the mid-80s.  See November 2011, National Jurist 19.

One fundamental misperception that perpetuates use of the "cramming" technique is students have already studied these topics in law school, so Bar preparation is really just a "refresher course."  This philosophy is dead wrong.  What students learn in law school courses bears only a passing resemblance to what they must deal with on the Bar.  The tricks, red herrings, and fine-line distinctions that are the hallmark of bar exam multiple-choice questions are not usually included in the traditional Socratic law school teaching and learning method.  The bar exam emphasis and depth of essay questions/answers and performance task questions is also much different than what most students learn in law school.

Many law schools now see they need to develop their own "bar foundation" resources independent of post-graduate review courses.  In truth to raise your law school metrics you need to do more and better.  This may be the only way to really move some of your students up the grading curve.   Independence also helps credibility.  But they are not mutually exclusive and there are many students using Rigos as a second source to the traditional "Big 3" courses.  Law students often use more than one horn book to prepare for exams.  The whole may be greater than the sum of the parts.

There are various law school bar foundation approaches and possible ingredients we identify below.  Start modestly, but any effort is better than none.  Usually it is best to approach this effort on a student year-to-year basis as follows:

First Year Students

  • Horn Books Companion to Case Books:  An easy start is to focus on only one bar subject such as torts or contracts while the students are taking the related law school class.  Your students can buy our inexpensive (under $35) hornbooks on-line from Amazon or directly from Rigos.  Go to
  • Assessment Helpful:  We have a free 50-minute multiple-choice exam to establish student's beginning competency in the basic seven MBE topics.  You can give the students the full answer rationales as they leave the room or collect their bubble answer sheets if the law school wants to grade the exam.    They can also just be assigned to do on their own.  See our on-line MBE Assessment Exam.
  • First Year Final Review:  1L's can use our inexpensive hornbooks for succinct review of first year topics and to prepare their course outlines on our powerful software for their spring final exams.  Outlining is critical to condense the rules for memory.  These can be ordered at
  • Spring Law School Exam Resource:  Our MBE Volumes build students' knowledge from the ground up.  First, students learn and memorize the MBE-tested substantive law using our innovative, interactive teaching tools.  Second, students can work practice questions using our unique optional software that allows them to (1) create their own subject outlines, (2) focus their practice on challenging issues from subjects where they are weak, (3) practice at random in question set sizes of their choosing, and (4) culminate their hard work in two full 3-hour final mock MBE exams.  This focus tracks their mistakes and allows them to identify any remaining weak areas.

Second Year Students

  • MPRE Course:  Many 2Ls sit for the March MPRE exam right after their law school PR class. Your PR professor could present the MPRE material in a few sessions after the course or work the MPRE coverage right into his class.  This resource produces high MPRE scores and introduces your students to the multiple-choice MBE question style and characteristics, and makes a huge statement with 2Ls that the "bar exam is important."  These scores identify students at risk on the upcoming post-graduate bar exam.
  • MPT Course:  As a supplement to a legal writing class, the law school may give the students a chapter or whole of our MPT Volume.  Your writing instructors can introduce the NCBE's Performance Task questions covered in the book.  Some schools present a chapter in the MPT book per class, assign two tasks, and then hold a second class two weeks hence.  This second class begins by reviewing the two assigned tasks and suggestive improvement.  Grades can be assigned.  This writing course could go beyond the Task answers style and apply writing principles to the MEE questions or your Bar's state essays.

Second to Third Year Students

  • MBE Course:  2L's can use the Rigos UBE Series over the summer before their last year to gain a head start on the real bar review and a refocused review of the 1L subjects tested on the MBE. A law school could require this summer project of 2L students in the lower third of the class and offer/require the 3 hour final exams when they return for their final year.  If an actual grade was assigned to each student's performance (v. Pass - Fail) the law school should expect better bar exam results the next summer.

Third Year and Post Graduation

  • MPRE Course:  Students should pass this exam no later than March of their third year.  It is usually a mistake to wait and take the August MPRE exam just after the students have completed the full bar exam in July.  The lawyer disciplinary rules are tested in some performance and essay questions, and after the two day actual bar exam the students may be too burned out to "get up" for another UBE test a short two weeks later.
  • Individual Subjects:  Many law schools start their MBE 3L foundation course in the spring semester and cover at least two or more of the seven MBE topics, a week per subject. Our tort subject hornbook is an easy start.  Property and contracts are also important subjects because these subjects contain so much testable law.  In these classes the students learn how to outline for the bar exam and practice working bar exam style multiple-choice and essay questions.  Our "MBE Secret Weapon©™" question sequence system takes practice to perfect.  Our subjects modules contain all this and more, such as acronyms and detailed Question Maps that cross-reference the text to the bar questions.
  • Home-Stretch Sprint: The law school provided resources are also helpful after the students graduate and prepare to write the real bar.  3L's can actually complete their own MBE preparation using our inexpensive material as their total resource.  Their previously learned knowledge base will provide an advantage and allow them to spend extra time on the non-MBE sections of the exam.  Students can also use your law school introduced Rigos resources as a companion or second source to a traditional review course.
Law School Full Course
  • Your Law School may also start its own full review course and charge market prices.   We don't recommend you start this full-blown effort right away, but after you try the above components it might naturally develop in a few years.
  • We can help your foundation spark plug person organize your own course using the Rigos material and our "seamless process" student learning system.
  • ABA Standard Interpretation 302-7 now allows accredited law schools to offer bar preparation classes for academic credit.

LOPR "Seamless Process"

Primer Series UBE Series Foundation products use a systematic four-ingredient approach that helps students achieve the below four necessary LOPR elements to improve their chances of successfully passing the bar exam.

LEARN THE LAW: Our texts provide succinct yet thorough exposition of all subjects tested.  This includes integrated practice "learning questions" to reinforce the legal rules.   By pointing out common MPRE and MBE pitfalls, nuances, and fine-line distinctions, students learn how to select the best answer on difficult and uncertain multiple-choice questions.

OUTLINE THE LAW:  The Magic Memory Outline prepared by the students on our software accomplishes both the understanding of the law and necessary issue memorization (see MPRE Magic Memory Outline Example).  Acronyms and Mnemonics help candidates quickly and accurately recall information, and Magic Memory Outlines® aid candidates in memorizing the material.

PRACTICE:  Built into our text is over 75 multiple-choice "learning" questions in each MBE subject's chapter. This read and practice method reinforces the law just covered and helps show students how the examiners test the subject.  The MBE volumes also have over 1,500 questions and full answer rationales.  Practice questions are presented at all levels of challenge, including some that are more difficult than the average actual MBE. All have detailed analyses/rationales explaining each alternative. Students can thus receive feedback on error rate and by topic.

REVIEW:  Students must continually review their Outlines and missed questions as they progress through the subjects tested.  Our "Learn Your Mistakes" technique helps avoid past mistakes and reinforces the ability to score high on the most difficult questions.  The last 10 days should be a "review of the review."

Other Bar Exam Synergism Tips

SUPPLEMENT TO TRADITIONAL COURSES: Our review books have over 1,700 different MBE questions and 100 essays, which make them a great source of additional practice questions for your students enrolled in a traditional bar review course.  The advantage is considerable because they became exposed to our helpful approach in your law school's Foundation program.  The acronyms-mnemonics and issue boilerplate statements are in both our hornbooks and UBE books.  They are also very helpful.  Go to

START EARLY:  From our 40+ year experience in both the BAR and CPA exams, we have learned the effort that students must make to improve their bar exam results is easily made if not restricted to an 8 to 10 week period.  Your law school foundation courses could make the difference because your students already will have gained some of the bar exam knowledge and skills.  Law schools are currently using our resources in their foundation classes and/or recommending our books to their 2L students during the summer of their second year.  If they follow this program, the students will review and relearn the black letter law that they studied as 1L's, not in the Socratic method, but rather in the way it is to be tested on the MBE.  It rounds out the law school academic experience.


If  your law school uses our learning tools in your foundation course you will give your students a head start on bar preparation and an increased awareness of the high level of competition they will face on these all-important exams.  Students will gain an early appreciation of the bar exam's fine-line distinctions and question tricks and traps.  This creates a student enlightened foundation for the commercial live or home-study bar review course students will take after graduation.


A law school may purchase our full 12 volume UBE and 1L hornbook series for $600.  Put these inexpensive "dynamic dozen" books on reserve in your law school library.  Encourage your faculty to review same.  Also send an email to the students letting them know of the availability and your check-out rules.  This is a helpful quality resource base for a low price that sends the powerful message to your students that their law school supports their bar exam foundation.


Don't take our word for it. Evaluate one of our Volumes for yourself.  To receive your free copy of a new 2019 edition of our hornbooks please send an email to with your name, address, email and choice of subjects.   Ask your professors to conduct a detailed review on the quality and suitability of using our hornbooks.  Send us an email at or call 1-800-636-0716 today to get more information on how we can help you raise your law school's bar passage rate.

Last updated on 10/1/2018 12:28:19 PM