5 Reasons You Should Get a Head Start on Your LSO Exam Prep

5 Reasons You Should Get a Head Start on Your LSO Exam Prep

“When should I start preparing?” 

This is one of the most common questions from students looking to write the paralegal licensing exam or bar exams. While the exact answer depends largely on each student, starting exam prep early can help set you up for success. Even if you don’t have your LSO study materials yet, there are many ways you can start preparing early to ensure your exam strategy is efficient and effective.


1.  Get to Know the Exam Format to Avoid Surprises

The first thing you should do when you start preparing for an upcoming exam is to familiarize yourself with the format. It’s important to know how many sections are on the exam, how many questions you’ll have to answer, and how much time you’ll be given. For example, the paralegal licensing exam is a 4-hour open-book exam comprised of 160 multiple-choice questions covering 9 different topics. Therefore, you’ll have approximately 1 minute and 20 seconds to answer each question.  

Understanding this information can help you adapt your study strategy as needed when you start reviewing the materials. You should also make note of where and when the exam will be administered as well as what you’re permitted to bring with you on exam day. Make sure to check out Emond’s Comprehensive Manuals for Bar Exam Preparation and Paralegal Exam Preparation for more useful facts on exam formats. 


2.  Familiarize Yourself with the Content of the Exam to Reduce Stress 

Another benefit of starting exam prep early is getting time to understand the content of the exam, including what topics will be covered and what kinds of questions you can expect. For example, the barrister exam consists of five sections (civil procedure, criminal procedure, family law, public law, and ethics and professional responsibility) while the solicitor exam consists of four sections (real estate, estate planning, business law, and ethics and professional responsibility).  
One of the best ways to understand the contents of the exams is to use practice exams. Emond offers both Paralegal Practice Exams and Barrister and Solicitor Practice Exams, periodically updated for currency. The practice exams mimic the licensing exams to help you build confidence, knowledge, and efficiency. Emond also offers the option to try a free sample exam before buying the full practice exams.   
If you’re more of an auditory learner and feel that you study more effectively by listening, then exam prep review courses may be the perfect option. Emond’s Paralegal Review Courses and Barrister and Solicitor Courses consist of substantive lectures on the topics tested on the Ontario barrister, solicitor, and paralegal licensing exams. They also include an exam preparation strategy component to help you best prepare for the exams. 

3.  Gather Study Resources to Get Organized 

Organization is extremely important for both the paralegal and bar exams. Given the volume of material that students must review, it can feel overwhelming to begin studying without some support in place. These supports might include study groups, study resources (such as cheat sheets), tips from classmates or former students, or other exam prep materials. One of the most commonly used resources for the bar exams is a set of indices, which you may obtain through classmates or by checking Emond’s Free Indices Database.  

4.  Create a Study Plan to Save Time 

Building a comprehensive study plan well in advance can help ensure that you make the most of your time. For summer sittings of the barrister and solicitor exam for example, you may only have between four to six weeks to prepare. Ideally, your study plan will incorporate reading all the materials, making notes or highlighting keywords, and completing practice exams while considering other commitments and your own personal study habits during this timeframe. 
Ultimately, it is important to create a realistic study plan. Set manageable goals for reviewing materials, leave plenty of time to do multiple practice exams, and ensure you build in time for breaks and self-care.  

5.  Identify Your Strengths to Maximize Efficiency 

You’ve likely heard many people talk about the “best” way to study for the bar and paralegal exams. In reality, the best way to study depends entirely on your strengths. If you are an audio-based learner, you may want to integrate audio tactics into your study plan, such as reading aloud. Conversely, if you are an applied learner, you may want to make time to take notes as you read. Additionally, if you are familiar with certain subjects and less familiar with others, you can adjust your study plan as needed to focus on the latter. Identifying these study strengths early on will help you save time and work through the materials more effectively.  

In conclusion, the journey to success on your paralegal or bar exams begins with thoughtful and early preparation. By understanding the exam format, familiarizing yourself with the content, gathering study resources, and creating a strategic study plan, you set the stage for a more efficient and effective exam preparation process. Early preparation not only helps you avoid surprises on exam day but also reduces stress and builds confidence. It’s also important to remember that the path to success is unique for each student. Tailor your preparation to suit your strengths and preferences and utilize the great resources that are available. Practice exams, review courses and study materials will help ensure you are well-equipped.  
Best of luck on your journey and may your early exam prep efforts pave the way for a successful examination experience!