If you took the July 2022 exam, CONGRATULATIONS! YOU MADE IT! As much as you may want to move on, without your scores it is hard to know whether it’s a good idea to officially throw out your notes or keep on reviewing slowly and steadily. The results may come out as late as November, which seems like a painstakingly long time to sit around and wait for results.
You may have received your scores already and have decided to take the next exam. Perhaps you skipped the last administration and are having a tough time getting started.
Wherever you may be, it is understandable to be struggling. The thought of continuing to start the bar exam may seem exhausting, daunting, and impossible.
Should I Start Studying?
There is no harm in reviewing daily and committing to a weekly goal so that you can make progress and keep the information fresh in your mind. Instead of seeing the long run ahead, mentally break up the larger picture so it is more manageable.
Are you having a tough time getting started?
You may be hindered by what preparation should look like instead of starting no matter how imperfect or unpleasant. It reminds me of running outdoors and waiting for right weather and conditions—it is simply better to start where you are.
Here are some ways to get started:
Make a goal
Start with committing to 10-15 hours a week of study, and slowly increasing it to 20 hours over time. Where to start? Maybe begin with reviewing an area of law that you are interested in so you can bring your enthusiasm into your studies. For example, if you think you want to go into criminal law, why not start with organizing and refreshing this information first to get your momentum going.
Refresh on topics you like
Start with refreshing on strengths and then moving into weaknesses. One thing you want to avoid is having a strength become a weakness because you haven’t visited the topic in a while. Since you have ample time, you don’t need to prioritize one subject over another.
Often, as we approach the exam, we must make difficult and realistic choices to move forward to cover more ground. However, are there topics you completely glossed over, and have less than the minimum of understanding? Commit to understanding that subtopic once and for all. Were there questions on the bar exam that are still haunting you or any gaps you didn’t get to master? If so, it is not a bad idea to review these topics and subareas first.
You likely have realized by now that you don’t need to master everything, and there is a way to study smarter and not harder. For example, focusing first on patterns instead of getting into the weeds of a topic. Try approaches and tips that may work for you based on your needs and learning style.
For example, you can try some of the following techniques:
- Map or draw out the concepts, adding onto this as you continue your studies
- Organize the information into charts and revise as you go
- Keep a running document of facts that tend to trigger certain rules
- Rehearse content in your own words, and record it like a lecture and play it back to yourself
- Analyze concepts that come up across several topics such as civil procedure “domicile” concepts that arise in family law, corporations, partnerships
- Consult with bar prep programs that utilize interesting and innovative techniques that may suit your needs
We have all heard of the concept of balance. Balancing studies with other aspects of life such as family, self-care, our jobs, etc.
Another way of looking at it is to create cadence and integrate this concept into your studies. For example, if you find yourself feeling guilty when you are not studying, then you may want to learn about working with intentional productivity so that you can work with purpose and focus. This concept will also help you to avoid burnout and develop healthy habits for studying and for life. One way to learn more is to check out podcasts and try to apply cadence to your long-term bar studies.
Get the Ball Rolling
You may find that as the exam gets closer, you will thank yourself for planning ahead so that you can fully focus on your studies later.
To keep your eye on the bar exam prize, also take steps that will make the road ahead easier regarding unavoidable tasks. There are inevitable things you will have to face on the bar exam road, and now is a good time to plan. For example, if you already know where you will be taking the exam and need to travel, you can start planning that now. If there are additional bar application requirements you need to take care of, such as taking a state-based test, then get started on that.
Lastly, a quote that may help inspire you to keep the momentum going daily: “the only way to get a thing done is to start to do it, then keep on doing it, and finally you’ll finish it”- Langston Hughes.
We’re rooting you on!