Passing the bar exam is the light at the end of the tunnel for many law school students, but how should you prepare for such an important exam? Lucky for you, we can pick the brain of an attorney who has passed the bar. Here are Avery’s five tips for passing the bar exam.
1. Create a study schedule – Instead of just sitting down and cramming as much and as often as possible, you’ll actually feel better and retain more information if you create a studying schedule. Block off a few hours each night when possible, and although you won’t want to, set aside some time on the weekends to hit the books. Write your schedule down so you’re more likely to stick to it. If you miss a session, make a plan to make up that missed time.
2. Stay focused – Studying only matters if you are focused while you’re doing it. Luckily for me, I didn’t have Facebook or Instagram to distract me when I was studying for the bar. Studying hard for 2 hours is better than half-assing it for 6 hours. When you plan on studying, stay off of social media sites, turn your phone and TV off, and concentrate on the material.
3. Don’t overdo it – On the opposite end of the above spectrum, it is possible to do too much intense studying. If you try to study for 25 hours in a weekend, you’re going to wear yourself down, and you’re not as likely to retain all that information. Block off time to study, but also work in time for yourself. Even if it’s just taking the dog for a walk or running on the treadmill for a half hour, giving your mind a break can help it retain more information in the future.
4. Proper practice – Practice tests are a great way to prepare for the bar exam, but again, there’s a strategy to it. For your first practice test, feel free to take your time and reference your study materials as needed. That said, as the exam approaches, start to mimic exam conditions. Close your book, set a timer, and work with the test perimeters. Finally, make sure you take a full-length practice exam so you get comfortable with how long you can expect the test to be. This can help you figure out some time management strategies.
5. Rest and Destress – Studying for the bar exam is going to take a lot out of you, and yes, there will be late nights, but it’s also important to get enough sleep. Not only will a good night’s sleep help you stay awake during your next study session, but adequate sleep actually helps you retain information. As for life outside the exam, do what you can to minimize distractions and stress. You’ve got enough to worry about while you’re studying for your exam; you don’t need any personal or family drama complicating manners. Let friends and family know about your studying schedule, and ask that they be respectful of it. That said, as point #3 notes, don’t cut them out of your life completely. Venting to them about the test or some issues you’ve encountered can help you relax and uncover new solutions.