Tutoring

THIS THING CALLED THE BAR EXAM...

No matter what strategy you adopt or how well you know the law or ace standardized exams, you will never be 100% fully prepared for the bar exam. You are responsible for just too much material. The upside is that, to pass the bar exam, you don't need to know everything. You don't even have to ace everything. In fact, you can get quite a bit wrong and still muster a passing score. So why is preparing for the bar exam so daunting? Usually, the answer boils down to poor strategy.

WHAT IS MY TUTORING METHODOLOGY?

My approach to tutoring is different from the Barbri or Kaplan methods. My methodology does not try to learn every facet of law for which you will be responsible. The key to passing the bar is not about knowing everything; it's about knowing the right things. The material that actually matters; the material that is commonly tested and will rack up your points.

Also unlike Barbri or Kaplan, I collaborate with each student individually and customize every session to suit the student's particular needs and work and life schedules. I'm going to be tough on you, and I'm going to hold you to high expectations, but I will guide you through every step of the study process. Part of my tutoring will break poor study habits. It will also pull you out of your comfort zone with less common approaches to learning the law (e.g., audio stimulation, index cards, virtually no outlines, etc.). Then, from this baseline, I trim the fat from bar prep and emphasize quality over quantity. Gradually, we dig deeper, building off our work from the previous week, but only if you're ready. That's an important distinction from the commercial programs: I see no point in adding more material onto your plate if you're not comfortable with what's already on your plate. Put more simply: why attempt to learn the details if you don't even know the more important basics? I will work closely with you to develop realistic daily and weekly schedules.

I do not teach you the law, but I don't need to either. My role is that of a guide. With my methodology, you will learn how to study effectively, how to manage and maximize your study time, what to study and how to study it. That's how you pass the bar exam. It has nothing to do with trying to learn everything, or having unlimited time to study.

Ultimately, you have to choose a methodology with which you feel most comfortable and which you feel most confident will help you to pass. I believe in my methodology, and I have a stellar passage rate to support it. I also share a mutual interest with you: I want you to pass the bar exam as much as you want to pass the exam!

WHAT ABOUT LOGISTICS AND LIMITATIONS?

My focus is on the Virginia Bar Exam. But with some alterations, I can tutor for most jurisdictions. I also tutor for particular sections (e.g., only the MBE or only the essay portion). Moreover, the skill set that you will learn from my tutoring will prepare you for any future bar exam.

The majority of my students live in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, or are willing to travel here. I prefer to meet in person with each student for each session. Typically, we meet at the George Mason University School of Law campus in Arlington, VA. Occasionally, if I am traveling for work, we will have to meet by phone or Skype.

In the past, I tutored several full-time students exclusively by phone or Skype, usually because the student was geographically limited from meeting in person (e.g., Richmond, Virginia Beach, Texas, North Dakota, etc.).  After careful consideration, I recently decided to seriously limit the number of full-time "distance students" that I take on per bar exam season. While I do not think the quality of our sessions ever varied or fell short, "distance tutoring" did present some unique challenges and miscommunications that I previously did not appreciate. If you are a distant student, please reach out to me early on. If the right student or situation arose, I would be open to tutoring one or two full-time "distance students" per season, but these will be exceptions and no longer the norm.

Whether in-person or remotely, the student-tutor relationship needs to be a good fit for you and me. I have a limited number of openings for each bar exam (again, quality trumps quantity!). I accept students partly on a first-come, first-served basis and partly on a case-by-case basis. If you're not on-board with my methodology, then I'm not the right tutor for you. If you're not willing to put in the proper amount of time and effort, then you're not the right student for me.

Finally, this too applies to any prospective student: Even if my student roster is full for the season, I am always willing to hold a few initial sessions with you (in person or by phone, and at any point) to discuss my methodology in greater detail, design a new strategy for you, maximize the remaining weeks or months, and get you moving in the right direction.

WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS?

If you're interested in my tutoring services, please email me anytime at vabartutor@gmail.com. For simplicity and ease, you may also use the "Contact Me" tool on the right column. In your message or email, please include the following information:
  1. Why you are looking for a tutor? What compelled you to write to me?
  2. If you have sat for previous bar exams, please list your scores by section and the overall result.
  3. How did you prepare for your past bar exam(s)? Did you self-study or use a commercial program (e.g., Barbri, Kaplan, etc.)? Were you faithful to your plan? What was your schedule like, your practice scores, your routine? Did any subjects, issues, or sections (MBE or essays, or both) give you particular trouble? Did you have external factors that may have affected your study schedule or exam performance (e.g., working full- or part-time, death in the family, recently broke up with significant other, etc.)?
  4. Historically (i.e., in law school), how did you prepare for exams? Did you try different approaches, or stick with one approach? If the latter, why? Was it because you were comfortable with that approach?
  5. If you are retaking the bar, in retrospect what would what you change about your last study preparation? What didn't you like about it?
  6. Do you live or work in the Washington, D.C. metro area, or are you available to meet there?
  7. Please provide any other information that you think will be helpful to better understand your background or current situation (e.g., whether you will be working full- or part-time, etc.).
Let's do this!

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