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Prepare to Pass the Bar Examination


To gain the best foundation for passing the bar examination, you must work hard and do well in all of your classes. Although the lockstep and advanced required courses cover many areas of law that are tested on the bar examination, Texas and other states also test on subjects that are not among the lockstep or advanced required courses. Therefore, you should plan to round out your course of study by taking additional courses to give you a proper foundation and minimize the number of subjects that you will have to learn for the first time in your commercial bar preparation course. In addition, as discussed in the final section on balancing your goals, students who are struggling academically should strongly consider taking more of these elective bar-related courses than the average student.

What areas of the law are covered in the Texas bar examination? Actual coverage in any specific examination will differ. Nevertheless, in Appendix A to the Texas Rules of Court, the Texas Board of Law Examiners lists the subjects that are generally tested on the Texas bar examination. We have included them here:

Multistate Subjects:

  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law
  • Evidence
  • Real Property
  • Torts

Multistate Performance Test: The Texas Bar Examination includes the Multistate Performance Test, a skills test that is designed to assess your ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation. During the test, you will receive a “file” of source documents and a “library” of cases, statutes, and rules. Using these materials, you will perform an assigned lawyering task, such as writing a memorandum to a supervising attorney, a letter to a client, a contract provision, a proposal for settlement, or a closing argument.

Texas Essay Subjects:

  • Business associations, including agency, corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, and professional associations
  • Trusts and guardianships
  • Wills and administration
  • Family law
  • Uniform Commercial Code
  • Consumer rights, including DTPA and insurance
  • Real property, including oil and gas

Procedure and Evidence Subjects:

  • Texas civil procedure and evidence, including jurisdiction
  • Federal and Texas criminal procedure and evidence

Cross-Over Topics:

  • Income, estate, and gift tax issues, to be included where appropriate, as an element of questions in other subjects, such as family law, oil and gas, wills, etc.
  • Bankruptcy, to be included where appropriate, as an element of questions in other subjects, such as family law, wills and estates, real property, etc.

Also, for your convenience, in Appendix A to this document, we have included an overview of the Texas bar examination. You can find even more information on web page of the Texas Board of Law Examiners: http://www.ble.state.tx.us/exam_info/gen_info.htm.

What courses should I take to prepare to pass the bar examination? Many of the lockstep and required courses will prepare you to pass the bar examination.  Listed below are additional courses that may help you prepare for the bar examination and that you should consider including in your course of study.  Because the courses listed below are not required for graduation, you have the option to take a certain number of them on a pass/fail basis. Students may choose to take a class pass/fail for a variety of reasons, including concern that particular subject matter might be especially difficult for the student.  Make sure you refer to the Student Programs, Policies & Procedures Manual, and follow the rules and limitations for electing to take courses pass/fail.

Core Curriculum Elective Courses Semester/Division Typically Offered
Administrative Law Yearly / Semester & divison vary
Advanced Torts Spring alt day & evening
Agency & Partnership Fall occasional / Spring alt day & evening
Consumer Law Fall alt day & evening
Family Law Fall evening / Spring day
Federal Income Tax Fall day / Spring evening
Marital Property Spring day / Summer evening
Oil & Gas Fall day / Spring or Summer evening
Remedies Spring alt day & evening
Sales & Leases yearly/semester & division vary
Texas Criminal Procedure Fall evening / Spring day
Texas Pretrial Procedure Fall evening / Spring day
Texas Real Property Yearly semester & division vary
Texas Trials & Appeals Fall day / Spring evening
Payment Systems Fall evening / Spring day
Secured Transactions Fall day / Spring evening

 

Please note that not every course listed will be offered at the times listed above.  As a general rule, courses that are considered core will be offered every year; indeed, these courses are often offered at least once per year in each division (day and evening). While some of these courses have direct relationships to bar examination subjects, others have either indirect relationships to or may overlap with multiple bar examination subjects.  You may also notice that a few of the courses listed above do not appear to relate to the list of generally tested subjects, but they are nevertheless valuable courses that you should consider taking.  For example, Administrative Law is tested on the bar examinations of many states (but not directly in Texas) and is important in its own right. 

Also, keep in mind that the faculty regularly re-examines the law school’s curriculum and sometimes offers new courses that relate to the bar examination.  An example of such a course added in recent years is the Preparing for the Bar Exam course, which is available for all students and required of all students in the bottom third of their class in the semester before graduation.  The class is a three-credit pass/fail course, and it is designed to familiarize students with the contents of the Texas bar examination.  The course also teaches exam preparation strategies, test-taking skills, and essay-writing skills—all of which are vital for success on the bar examination. Students who take the course examine selected material that is tested in each section of the bar examination and complete several writing assignments and diagnostic tests, some of which will simulate portions of the bar examination.  Students also receive feedback on their performance on assignments and diagnostic tests. 

A more exhaustive list of Texas bar examination related subjects and corresponding law school courses can be found in Appendix B.  Students who plan to take the bar examination of a state other than Texas should find out what subjects are tested in that state and modify their course of study to prepare for that bar examination.  Marta Miller, the Director of Academic Support, is available as a resource for all students who would like to begin early preparation for the bar examination in Texas or any other state. 

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