How much time is needed to study for the bar exam?

Ashley Heidemann is the owner and founder of JD Advising, a law school and bar exam prep company offering services ranging from LSAT tutoring and application assistance to bar exam tutoring, courses and seminars.

How much is the bar exam? What does the bar exam cost? 

The bar exam is definitely not cheap. On average states charge applicants $300-$800 to take the bar exam, plus $100-$150 for the privilege of using a laptop.  It does vary state by state and to find out exactly how much it will cost you to take the bar, click here. 

How much time is needed to study for the bar exam?

That depends. In this article, we tell you the total number of hours, days, as well as the total number of weeks, you should study for the bar exam. We also give you some important things to keep in mind when determining how much time you should spend studying for the bar exam. 

How many hours total should I spend studying for the bar exam?

If you were an average law student, then studying for the bar exam for about 400 hours will likely be sufficient. About 200 hours should be dedicated to learning the law and memorizing your outlines. The other 200 hours should be spent completing practice bar exam questions.

Keep in mind that this recommendation may change depending on your circumstances. For example, if you did really well in law school (especially your first year), you may be able to put less time into studying for the bar exam. On the other hand, if you really struggled in law school, you may need to put in more time. Further, if you graduated from law school years ago, you may need to study longer than if you just graduated. Be sure to take into account your personal circumstances when determining how much time you need to study in order to pass the bar exam. 

When should I start studying for the bar exam?

The answer to this question will change depending on whether you are studying for the bar exam full-time or whether you are balancing other obligations. Generally, students who are studying full time (e.g., 40-50 hours a week) should start studying, at a minimum, nine weeks ahead of the bar exam. You should spend the first seven weeks learning the subjects and completing practice questions. You should spend the last two weeks reviewing the law and taking timed exams.

If you have other major obligations such as a job or family to care for, aim to study about 20 hours per week and start studying earlier than the traditional bar prep period. Many part-time students will start studying about 15-20 weeks prior to the bar exam.


What does it take to pass today's bar exam? Find out here.


How many hours a week should I study for the bar exam?

If you are studying full-time for nine weeks, plan on studying 40-50 hours per week. Treat it like a full-time job. However, make sure you are actually studying during your study time. This means you should not count the time you spend driving to the library, eating meals, talking to friends, etc.

It's wise to make yourself a bar exam study schedule you can stick too. If you are not sure how much time you are studying for each day, use the stopwatch on your phone. Press “start” when you begin studying the bar and pause the timer whenever you take a break. This will give you an accurate idea of how long you are studying for the bar exam each day. 

When should take the bar exam?

Many students tend to focus too much on the amount of time they study for the bar exam rather than how well they study. Make sure that you spend your study time efficiently. If you find yourself mindlessly filling in the blanks on a lecture handout or reading an outline without concentrating on it, you are not studying efficiently!     

To maximize your efficiency, take a few minutes every week to ask yourself: Am I learning the law? Are my scores improving on my practice bar exams and questions? What helps me increase my knowledge and improve my scores?  

By focusing on the quality of your studying in addition to quantity, you will maximize your chances of passing the bar exam. You should take the bar exam when you are confident and ready. 

How long is the bar exam?

The bar exam lasts about 2 full days. 

Passing the bar exam

You can pass the bar exam on your first try! The key is to make sure you are well studied and prepared for the test. Do it right the first time so you don't have to go back a second time. However, if you do fail the bar exam the first time you can always take the bar exam again. 

I've listed 10 more bar exam study guides for you below, so that you will be as prepared as possible. 



You Can Beat The Bar Exam. Here's How.

Maximize Your Bar Exam Essay Score In One Step

Three things you're doing wrong in bar prep when you’re doing everything "right"

Using The "Four T’s" To Achieve Bar Exam Success

How To Memorize Bar Exam Outlines

How To Stay Motivated During Bar Prep

3 Steps To Improve Your MBE Score

How much time is needed to study for the bar exam?

How to avoid the 3 biggest mistakes first-time bar exam takers make

A three-step plan for those who fail the bar exam


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