That said, I think many law school graduates get overly stressed out and obsessed about taking the bar, and spend too much time studying. Most bar exams are primarily just tests of memorization. They’re not much of an intellectual challenge, and require far less thinking than most law school exams.
Most important, all you have to do is pass. Unlike on the SAT or the LSAT, there is no need to maximize your score. As one of my law school classmates put it, every point you score above the minimum needed to pass is evidence that you spent too much time studying. I took this excellent advice to heart, and saved a lot of time and aggravation as a result (primarily by not attending any Bar/Bri lectures, and confining my preparation efforts to reading the books and taking some practice tests). If you’re reasonably good at managing your time and memorizing legal rules, you can probably do the same thing.
There is some disagreement in the comment thread….
The more interesting question is the one he addresses in the post’s initial paragraph: what is the purpose of the bar exam? And, by extension, should they even exist?
Well, yes, they can exist if they are part of a voluntary credentialing system that attorneys could use to some competitive advantage and that consumers could use as part of their attorney selection process. But, as Somin notes, current bar exams are little more than another barrier to entry put in place by a state enforced monopoly.
As such the consuming public would be best served if they were eliminated.