There are countless study plans out there, sharing tips, tricks, and study techniques for how to master material in ten weeks leading up the bar exam. But what I really needed when I was studying was a list of things NOT to do.
Everyone tells you that bar exam studying will be excruciating, but no one can tell you exactly what makes the process so painful. There’s the panic and stress anticipating potential failure. And then managing bar study finances, the lack of self-care, the burden of securing/maintaining/losing post-graduate employment (have I missed anything)? But the resounding truth that probably everyone will attest to, but no one can properly articulate, is the constant state of confusion.
As law students, we always took comfort in what we did and didn’t know. If you knew the material, you focused on throwing it on your outline and then mastering it. If you did not understand certain topics, you invested in sleepless nights before an exam, dedicating yourself to learning what you need to in order to pass. It’s how we all got through. But while studying for the bar exam, the amount of material is insurmountable. Regardless of whether you have the best study resources on the market or were born a master test taker, the inevitable truth is that you can’t know everything for the bar exam. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but the sooner you accept this, the better equipped you will be to prepare efficiently for exam day. [Read more…] about “Am I Actually Learning?”
We all have experienced a version of this story, but when I was first introduced to the concept of networking as a 1L, I actually considered dropping out of law school. That’s not even an exaggeration. For someone who gets nervous in crowds, the concept of meeting people at large events, making small talk enough to secure a connection, and having it lead to future opportunities seemed impossible.
But graduating in a pandemic meant that doors I had entered countless times before suddenly closed with sincere apologies, and new doors were locked and secured with a large “HIRING FREEZE” sign. The hallway I was left standing in was a long stretch of isolating darkness. Although there are multiple ways to job hunt while waiting for bar results, I wanted to share how I learned how to network during a pandemic and how it led to opportunities. [Read more…] about The Art of Networking
Before the last month of bar preparation, I had a pretty solid idea where I stood. Having scribbled copious notes and made ample flashcards in the extended first few months of bar prep (see: pandemic), I was pretty confident that only 2% of the substantive law was in my head (if even that). But 30 days before, and leading up to exam day, THAT is where you really need to have an effective plan in place to review your MBE questions and essays. [Read more…] about How to Properly Study MBE Questions and Essays
One of the biggest struggles I have faced while studying for the bar exam during the COVID-19 pandemic has been remembering substantive law. Like many 2020 bar exam takers, I was scrambling to figure out What to Do When Exam Dates Were Pushed Due to Coronavirus. Suddenly my 8-10 week preparation window was pushed to 14-18 weeks. Like many of my classmates, I was already 50% into my commercial bar exam course when the cancellations were announced. Ultimately, a series of unfortunate events in my personal life forced me to take 3 weeks off of studying, so I was grateful to have a little breathing room. But having reviewed all of the federal material prior to the break, I came back to studying with over 500 flashcards I had previously made but no memory of the learning I did while actually making them. No matter how many times I reviewed my flashcards, nothing stuck. And I was getting bored. [Read more…] about Using Anki Flashcards to Study for the Bar
The October online administration of the bar exam, bringer of heightened anxieties, first of its kind, was painful. That might have been the understatement of the century (see: woman goes into labor during the bar exam for more details). I wanted to do a quick debrief immediately after the exam. Given the state of the pandemic currently, it is possible we will have more online administrations in the future. I was one of the lucky ones: apart from a few pre-exam hiccups, I did not face technical difficulties like some of my fellow examinees. Here’s what it looked like for me.