You may find it funny that I have posed this question here on my blog, but I am hoping that students studying for the bar exam will read on (and, besides, I use social media to spread the word about my blog).
I have been thinking a lot about how social media can help and/or hinder our bar studying. This topic came up while I was reading Jessica Klein’s interview with us last week. There she commented,
“[My] first [tip] for studying is to cut out as much, if not all, technology and social networking as possible while studying.”
When I first read this, I definitely agreed. Students need to remove distractions while they are studying and focus as much as possible to get the maximum out of their study time. So as far as that goes, turn off the cell phones and wireless Internet (if you aren’t using an online program such as AdaptiBar) and during study hours make sure your only job is studying (not chatting online, answering e-mails, or updating Facebook).
Now when I studied for the bar exam (oh, feeling old already), I didn’t have a Facebook account (was there even Facebook?) and didn’t have Twitter. But I was addicted to checking e-mail and chatting with friends on gchat. So I had to log out of my e-mail and turn it off during study times to keep myself productive.
But I would like to present the argument that social media can actually help you study for the bar if you use it outside of study hours. In what ways, you might ask?
- You can access many useful resources that can help you study! Blogs like mine (can’t help but self-promote a little bit) have tools and tips that may actually help your studying, productivity, or mental health (I have listed some of these folks at the bottom of this post). These resources can even help supplement a traditional bar review course or help you decide to purchase alternative tools to make sure that you are studying in the right way for you.
- If you are studying alone or feeling a lack of community, you can find one online. I work primarily with students who are repeat takers after at least one failure with the California bar exam. Frequently, my students are studying by themselves since many of their friends have already passed the exam. In addition, they are likely not taking a typical commercial bar review course (because that already didn’t work for them). This type of studying can be lonely! You don’t just want to talk to your bar tutor (I am fun to talk to, but not that fun); you need to be able to talk to other people going through the same thing.
For these students, I think social media can be helpful and comforting. All you need to do is type #barexam into Twitter and you can find an entire community talking about the exam and what it is like to study. You can even interact with people who help students prep (students will often message me questions on Twitter directly). Or what about Facebook or Google+? If you have friends who are studying, but you are studying in a different location, it can be a nice alternative to chatting in the library—you can check-in online instead.
Like most things in life, moderation is key. And balancing studying for the bar and your use of social media does test your discipline. However, don’t discount social media. Used properly it can be a way to learn tips and be part of the bar exam community that you wouldn’t have exposure to otherwise.
Have you found social media helpful during your bar prep study? Please share in the comments below.
Are you on Twitter? If so, check out these folks who are posting tips on the bar exam:
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Want information on other bar exam tips? Check out these posts!
- Can handwritten study materials help you learn the law?
- You must become an expert at reading the facts!
- Organize your materials using a bar binder.
- You should study using sample answers.