One of the things that many people don’t consider when studying for the bar exam is how to make sure their life is ready for the bar prep period. It is important! You want to make studying your priority and eliminate potential distractions. Here are some things you may want to consider:
- Have you figured out your finances? Issues relating to finances can be a huge distraction while studying for the bar exam, especially since most of those students preparing are not working. Get your finances in order so avoidable issues don’t come up during the bar preparation period. I know some people even pre-pay a lot of their bills (like rent, utilities, car payments) so they don’t have to keep up with things like that while studying.
- Have you turned in your moral character application (if your state requires one)? I know that some students leave the moral character application to the last minute and then realize they need to complete it during the bar prep period. Do not do this. This is not something that can be rushed through (because it is incredibly important) and it can take a lot of time (if you live in a state that makes you report a large amount of information). Complete your moral character application before or after the preparation period, not during.
- Do you have any travel planned? Life does not stop for the bar exam (shocking) and you may have some commitments during the prep period (your best friend’s wedding or your dad’s 60th birthday party). Should you not go? Not necessarily, but think about how you can balance that event with your studying so it doesn’t hinder your bar preparation.
- Have you talked to your family/friends/significant others about how important these two months are? In a way, I was very lucky. My parents are both attorneys and both sat for the California bar exam. They understood what it was like to study and were a great sounding board for me. But that is because they had lived through it! If your family/friends/significant other don’t know much about the bar exam, try to talk to them about it so they know what to expect (long study hours, limited free time and reduced availability). They know how important becoming a lawyer is to you and they will understand. Also, to soften the blow you can plan specific time-off with them. I took every Sunday off from my bar prep and my now-husband and I made sure we did something fun that had nothing to do with studying. It was a great break for me and gave us quality time together.
Keeping these questions in mind will help you stay focused during the bar exam preparation period.