How Much Time Does it Take to Prepare for the Patent Bar Exam?
Everyone likes to ask it, so we will address it here. Just how much time do you need to prepare for this exam?
Well, it varies all over the board, but one thing to keep in mind is that the PTO actually posts some previous Patent Bar exams (these were from before the computerized exam era, but many of the questions are still in the Patent Bar question bank). You can and should use these to study with. They will be your best gauge in determining when you are ready.
How long it will take you to be prepared is anyone's guess. Maybe 150 hours or so over a few months. Maybe much more. Maybe you are a Patent Law genius, but just didn't know it and will race through the material. Whatever you do, don't fall into the same trap many people get caught up in. Like for example, our friend Joe.
Joe (like many other Patent Bar examinees) mailed in the admission packet much later then he should have. To make matters worse, he put off purchasing any Patent Bar prep materials or reviewing any Patent Law books until he received his acceptance letter.
Now, the interesting twist on the new, computerized exams is that once the PTO receives your completed application form and sends you an acceptance letter, the clock is triggered. You only have a 90-day window within which you must schedule and take the Patent Bar exam.
So Joe has gotten himself in the unfortunate position of only having 3 months to prepare for and take the exam. So, the day his acceptance letter arrived, Joe ran out and bought a Patent Bar prep package. Five days later, the package arrived. Joe is now left with exactly 85 days at the most to prepare.
"Should be plenty of time for this multiple choice, open book exam", Joe thinks to himself.
He even waits part of another week to open the prep package. Finally, he opens the box and begins checking out the material.
80 days and counting...
"Wow, it sure is a lot harder than I expected and there's a lot more in here than I thought there would be," Joe mutters to himself after spending a few hours on the course over the next few days just flipping through the manuals.
So he begins, but with work, family, and friends, Joe has only made it halfway through his study materials in 40 days.
40 days and counting...
Motivated by a little panic, Joe steps up the pace a little. He finishes reading and working through his outlined materials in the next 30 days.
Now he has 10 days left to review previous exams.
Should be easy, right?
Well, Joe starts in with some questions organized by topic. The questions are tough and even though he's read everything and has a pretty good comprehension level, he definitely needs to use the MPEP to look all the answers up. Even then it's slow going.
Joe spends about 15 minutes/question and remember, he's still just answering the questions organized by topic. That's not how they're going to be organized on the real exam! At that rate, he might answer 24 questions right in 6 hours.
Obviously this is not enough to cut it. Joe puts everything on hold at this point. He calls in sick from work a couple of days and spends the next couple of weekends working though test questions.
It is now one week before his scheduled test date (yes, he managed to take it out to the very last day possible).
Joe decides to attempt old exams under test conditions, with the time limit imposed. Two days before the exam, he has taken a few tests, scoring right around 70% each time. Sometimes he scores as low as 61%, other times as high as 76%.
At this point, Joe is feeling pretty stressed. He resigns himself to reviewing only the tougher questions in the hours he has left. The day of the exam, Joe wearily and tentatively arrives. Somehow, he passes!
How many "Joe's" do you think there are in any given exam?
While no statistically accurate study of this sort have been performed, we would guess that about half the people taking the exam for any given test date struggled through it and barely made it, just like Joe did.
You can prepare like Joe, push it, and maybe you'll pass, but maybe you won't.
The point is that no one can accurately guess how long it will take you to learn this material. We sure can't guess for you and neither can anyone else. So why not make it easy on yourself and start a little early?
The PES-System Lesson Plan revolves around a 12-week (estimated 15-20 hours/per week) schedule that can easily be adjusted to fit your time-frame. Please review our Patent Bar exam course to decide if it is a good fit for you and get started sooner rather than later.