If Charleston School of Law graduate Player Long had to sum up his experience with the bar exam it would be: hard work pays off. Long passed the exam on his first try in February and recently accepted a position as an assistant solicitor in South Carolina’s Second Judicial District.
His advice for others preparing for the test is simple. “Just do the work. If you do it, put in the sweat and tears — and there will be tears — it’s going to pay off.”
Long, who graduated in December 2019, is one of 31 Charleston School of Law students to pass the South Carolina bar exam in February. On their journey to passing the exam, most of those students relied on the Office of Academic and Bar Success to map out a plan to address their personal situations, strengths, and weaknesses.
Marc Mambo, who graduated in August 2019, says knowing his strengths and weaknesses was crucial for creating a study strategy.
“You need to know what works for you and find out the right way to study. Don’t do what everybody else is doing,” he says. “And spend lots of hours studying. There are no shortcuts.”
While Mambo had a part-time job after graduation, he gave it up in December in order to study full-time for the test. Despite the hours of preparation, he still had test-day jitters. “There’s a sense of insecurity that you can never know enough,” he says. “I knew that I knew a lot and you can do very well on the test at school, but you never know on the day how it will go down.”
Dyann Margolis, assistant dean for Academic and Bar Success, says, “My goal is for students to walk into that room knowing they have done everything they can to put themselves in the best position to pass.”
Logan Davis, who graduated in December, credits Dean Margolis with helping motivate him. “She does a good job, I don’t want to say of scaring you, but of being realistic about it being a tough exam.”
Davis’ intense schedule included going to bed at night with his phone to practice with flash cards after a full day of study.
As testing day drew near, Davis took advantage of dedicated study spaces at the law school for graduates studying for the bar and worked with a study partner. “Once the BARBRI prep and workshops were done, my study partner and I would get together every single day and go through essays — we would write them out and do practice answers and then compare and discuss at the end and then go through a sample answer.”
Charleston School of Law is committed to every graduate’s success on the bar exam. Through a partnership with BARBRI, every student takes a post-graduate bar prep review course. The Office of Academic and Bar Success complements bar review with supplemental writing workshops, additional simulations, and individual mentoring. Faculty also support students through Bar Boot Camps, final high level reviews designed to answer questions that arise during study.
These post-graduation services cap off three years of programs and resources from the law school. Dedicated courses in the first, second, and third year help students learn the skills needed for success in the classroom, law practice, and the bar exam, respectively.
Michael Zinszer, who graduated in December and studied every single day between graduation and the bar exam, didn’t feel stress following the law school’s program for bar exam prep. “I just felt every day I needed to get done as much as I possibly could until my brain would say I can’t absorb anything else and I would stop,” he says
Zinszer’s hard months of studying paid off. “[The day the results were posted] I put my phone next to me and said, if I start getting text messages, I assume I passed,” he says. For four minutes his phone was excruciatingly quiet and then the pings started coming with congratulations from fellow students. He not only passed but scored high enough to practice law in 35 out of 36 jurisdictions. “It’s definitely nice to be on the other side,” he says.