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What to do when you don’t know a Virginia Rule

You probably want a straightforward easy answer to this issue, but the bad news is that there isn’t one.  You have probably heard quite often that if you don’t know a Virginia rule for an essay, then make it up.  However, it cannot be stressed enough that your goal during Bar prep should and must be to memorize Virginia Black Letter Law in every subject that the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners may test on.  DO NOT rely upon the notion of making up a rule during the Virginia Bar Exam.  If you want to become a Virginia lawyer, then the VBBE expects you to know Virginia law.

Here is a very important tip –  on Virginia Bar Exam essays, every sentence that is part of the essay is there for a specific reason.  The sentence is there to either trigger a rule or an exception to a rule — this is what you need to figure out.

Therefore, the amount of time you dedicate to memorizing rules and their exceptions is crucial.  Memorizing rules will help you understand what is being tested on the essay and how to then answer the question.

Not only should you memorize rules but look at previous essay questions to understand how the rules have been tested in the past.  This is probably one of the best ways to supplement your essays!!


Thus, there is no general answer or guidance on how you should handle an essay question where you don’t know the rule.  Your Bar prep company may even tell you not to start memorizing rules in the first week of Bar prep.  However, the sooner you start memorizing rules the better off you will be.  Additionally, you won’t be stressing as much as your peers two weeks before the exam in trying to cram all of the rules into your short-term memory.

If you are cramming rules that may be an issue.