Emond Exam Prep: 8 Tips and Tricks for Passing the Paralegal Licensing Exam

When a high school teacher announces that an upcoming test is going to be open-book, the class generally erupts into cheers because they think they don’t have to study. The same cannot be said about the LSO’s new expanded Paralegal Licensing Exam. Open-book exams are often more rigorous, detailed, and tricky than closed-book exams because they don’t just test your ability to memorize and regurgitate information, but your ability to understand, analyze, and apply it. These eight tips will help you pass the daunting, 7-hour, multiple choice licensing exam:

1. Create a study schedule

If you want to pass your paralegal licensing exam and begin your career, it is imperative that you take this exam seriously from day one. The LSO gives you approximately 700 pages of study materials that you must read, so budget your study time accordingly and stick to your schedule. This article offers more detailed advice on how to create, and stick to, a study schedule.

2. Memorize the key concepts

Study aids such as indices and outlines are best understood as supplements to your general knowledge, and should not be used to answer every single question. On the exam, you will only have about 90 seconds to answer each question, and you don’t want to waste valuable time leafing through your materials for answers to basic questions. Developing the knowledge to answer simple questions quickly will give you more time to figure out the difficult questions.

3. Become familiar with the layout of the licensing materials

Pay close attention to headings and sub-headings in the LSO materials, and make your own index or outline. This will help to reinforce the structure of the LSO materials in your mind. Tab, highlight, or colour-code your materials, whichever way makes the most sense to you. For more information on how to create an index, refer to this article.

4. Write a practice test

Writing a practice exam under timed conditions is a great way to test yourself and identify areas that you need to focus on in your final days of your studying. Practice exams also provide an opportunity to practise using your index and study aids. After writing the practice test, take the time to look over the correct answers and devote more study time to the subjects in which you made the most mistakes. Also pay attention to the question structure, as there may be certain styles or types of questions that routinely trip you up (such as questions requiring calculations, or questions with similar answer choices that vary only slightly.) You can begin by writing Emond’s Paralegal Practice Exam here.

5. Pack early

Find out exactly what you are/are not allowed to bring in on exam day, and pack the items that you need the day before. This will limit the amount of stress that you experience on the morning of exam day. Click here for a list of surprising items that are prohibited on exam day.

6. Read carefully

Although time is of the essence on this exam, it is crucial that you take the time you need to carefully read the question and all of the answer choices before diving into your materials to find the answer. To avoid misreading the question and making careless errors, you can circle or underline keywords in the question. This will help you decipher what the question is asking. Pay close attention to negatives (not, none, neither), superlatives (most, best), and qualifiers (generally, usually, often, occasionally)—these can offer valuable clues to the correct answer, or at least to eliminating the blatantly wrong answer options.

7. Use process of elimination

Narrow down the answer choices to increase your chances of getting the right response. Eliminate the answer choices that are obviously incorrect. If two answer options are similar to each other while the others do not sound as similar, the answer is likely one of the similar ones. Additionally, if two of the answer choices polar opposites of one another, there is a good chance that one of them is correct. Grammatical cues can also be an indicator of the correct answer. For example, the question language may point to a plural or singular answer, or if a fill-in-the-blank question ends with “an” versus “a” you would know that the correct answer begins with a vowel or consonant, respectively.

8. Do not leave any questions unanswered

On this exam, you are not penalized for incorrect answers, so if you are down to your last two minutes, choose a letter (a, b, c, or d) and fill in all of the unanswered questions.


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