Whether you purchase a patent bar review course or try to navigate the Manual of Patent Examining Procedures on your own, the patent bar exam encompasses many subjects and is difficult. It is manageable. Like any other test, your time invested in learning the material determines whether you will pass or fail the exam.
The needed amount of preparation varies from one individual to another. The average time devoted to study is 15 to 20 hours per week for three to four months. Focusing on material that will be tested is the key to maximizing study time.
Knowing what is most heavily tested makes a big difference. The 3,000+ pages of material is more information than most people can absorb. Therefore, it’s best to narrow down the material to that which is typically the most likely to be tested material.
Learning the material and repeatedly taking practice exams is the best method to ensure passing the exam. You can use the MPEP to search for facts and answers when taking the exam, but the time limits will prevent you from looking up everything.
Since this exam is difficult and covers more material than most exams cover, we’ve put together some helpful time management study tips.
1. Create a Plan of Study
You need to prepare a study schedule months in advance of taking the exam. With such a time frame there will be allowances and changes as you progress. Many people who have passed the exam recommend around 200 hours of preparation for the exam.
The best approach to study for the patent bar exam is creating a plan of study that guarantees time for all sections of the most likely to be tested material. Stay on a steady path to gain the required knowledge.
Schedule the hours and monitor your progress. Have an idea of the number of practice exams you plan to take. Taking 10 practice exams is not an unrealistic goal. Practice exam results are a useful tool to determine how well you are progressing.
Set time frames that are short and focused. Sessions of long marathon study are tiring and over-time cause individuals to lose concentration. Set short, concentrated spans of time.
Shorter segments enable the mind to adjust and respond to information that is being processed. Short time frames give individuals systemic power to conduct trials on learned concepts.
2. Break Down the Material into Manageable Pieces
Commit to a specific number of hours per week and be faithful to the commitment.
The MPEP is a huge monstrosity. To avoid being overwhelmed, break the content into manageable portions. Make lists of things you want to accomplish in an hour or more. Completing the list shows you are making progress and helps you to feel in control.
Set a time limit for every goal on the list such as reading 40 pages of material between six and seven o’clock. You might read more or finish early. Results like that are a bonus. Use small amounts of time like traveling to or from school or work or waiting for a meeting or class to begin. Carry the review materials you are working on with you or if you’re preparing online, bring your notes.
3. Study Smart
Do more than simply putting in the time during a study session. If you waste time by being ‘zoned out’ during your study session, that same material will just have to be covered again. Such a cycle gets you nowhere fast. Many people choose to study first thing in the morning because they are typically less stressed and brain cells are more alert.
It is also easier to remain loyal to plans set early in the day. A daily regimen that includes a block of time set aside to focus entirely on studying is required. If morning doesn’t work for you, what matters most is that you study at a consistent pace. One study session a week or a few spread out within a month will not do the job. You may need to commit to studying a minimum of 3 times a week.
Stimulate questions by previewing each chapter before reading it. Write notes and organize them. Summarize and outline each chapter’s content. Make diagrams like flowcharts when you can.
4. Take Advantage of Free Study Material Avenues
The United States Patent and Trademark Office provides such things as case law reviews and supplementary rules. However, you might consider using professional patent bar exam resources to save valuable time.
Courses are an excellent means of orienting yourself towards material that is most relevant. Trudging through the MPEP without guidance is too cumbersome. Alternating between the two methods is a good approach that aids in knowing where to find answers and being able to locate them.
5. Use Simulated Exams to Practice
Taking past exams is among one of the most helpful ways to study for the patent bar exam. Using exam source documents helps to understand the needs and requirements of the exam that maximize on basic patent law concepts. Time spent studying is focused on what is likely to be on the exam.
Taking time for practice tests puts you in a testing mindset. Looking up missed questions to determine why the answer was correct or incorrect familiarizes you with the MPEP. The first time or two you take a practice test don’t rush. It may take you 15 minutes per question when you’re starting out, and that’s OK.
6. Eventually Focus Tackling 50 Questions in Three Hours
People find it difficult to manage time and the number of questions asked on the patent bar exam. Each three-hour session has 50 questions to answer.
That means you will have about three and a half minutes per question. Take practice exams with the idea of spending no more than three and a half minutes per question. Some questions will not take that long to answer.
Review answers to questions that are missed. Work up to timing yourself and completing 50 questions in three hours. If scoring 70 percent or better on practice exams, you save time and money by skipping premium resources that can cost hundreds and thousands of dollars.
Mark out long blocks of time when taking practice exams. The exam will be two three-hour sessions having 50 questions to answer during each session. When you have read through all the questions and answered all you could in the given time frame, go back and address any questions that caused concern.
The passing rate for the patent bar exam is typically under 50% according to USPTO statistics. Knowing what to expect and how to structure study time increase the chances of success. Hopefully, these tips will be helpful.