On the one hand, the bar exam is just another test. You’ve been taking and passing tests your entire academic career, and the study skills you’ve developed over the years should continue to serve you well during bar prep. On the other hand, the bar exam is like no test you’ve ever taken before – vast quantity of material, multi-day, extremely high stakes, etc. To deal with the unique challenges of the bar exam and get the most out of your preparation, make sure you’re following these 6 simple tips:
Stick to your study schedule.
If you’re working with a reputable bar prep company or tutor, you’ve probably been provided a study schedule or plan. Put your social arrangements aside for a few weeks and do your absolute best to keep pace with the assignments on your schedule. A lot of thought goes into creating these schedules, which are designed to make you engage in the spaced review and repetitive practice that is crucial to retaining vast amounts of information. The bar exam demands consistent, methodical preparation. Sticking to your study schedule is the best way to achieve that level of preparation and ensure that you are putting in the hard work and practice necessary to have a successful result.
Make sure you are getting feedback on your written work, like practice essays. Time is precious during bar prep and getting feedback (whether from a bar prep company, tutor, or professor) will let you know where you need to focus your efforts.
Go to the lecture site.
I know it’s tempting to watch those live streamed lectures at triple speed on your laptop while laying on the couch in your pajamas, but try to resist. Whenever possible, watch the lectures in person at the lecture site. You’ll be more focused and attentive, which will lead to better recall later on. Getting up and out also makes it more likely that you will stick around and do some additional studying. If live lectures aren’t a component of your bar prep program, consider scheduling a time to watch the lectures with a study group. The group environment will motivate you to attend consistently and replicates the feeling of attending a live lecture.
Take all practice questions under timed conditions.
Whether it’s the MBE, the essay, or the MPT, take every practice set under exam-like conditions, i.e. closed book and timed. Be sure to write out your essays with complete analysis – don’t just issue spot or outline answers. Practicing under exam-like conditions will not only help you deal with the stress of time constraints on exam day, but it is the only way to give you an accurate look at your performance and gauge your progress.
Study during exam hours.
Make an effort to study during the same hours when the exam is held. You need focus and stamina over the course of the exam, and should start training your mind and body to get used to performing at its best during these hours. If you are working or have other obligations that prevent you from studying during the day, devote a couple of weekends to daytime study so that you can get used to the exam hours.
Look for progress, not perfection.
It can be easy to get discouraged during the first few weeks of bar prep if you’re practice scores are not living up to your expectations. But remember that the Bar Exam doesn’t require a perfect score, only a passing score. No one will spot every issue or get every MBE question right (despite what they may say). The goal throughout bar prep should be to steadily improve your scores as you memorize the rules of law and practice your exam taking skills. Don’t let a few disappointing scores demotivate you. Instead, focus on the progress and improvement you’re making each week.
Keep these tips in mind to help you get the most out of your bar preparation, but don’t forget to also use the study strategies that have brought you success in the past. The Bar Exam is just another test, and with the right amount of hard work, diligence, and self-belief, it’s one that you can pass.
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Did you find this post helpful? Check out some other great articles:
- Steps to Making Your Own Bar Exam Schedule
- Why Really Wanting to Pass the Bar Exam Isn’t Enough
- What You Can Do Now to Prepare for the Bar Exam
- Train Like an Athlete for the Bar Exam
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