If you are studying for the July 2021 exam, you are likely in your early weeks of studying. You might already be navigating moments of panic in your study schedule. You have loads of time to learn everything you need to conquer the bar exam! But the intensity of the stress and panic during your bar preparation ebbs and flows, and at times it can be overwhelming. So here are some healthy habits and routines that may help in these crucial moments. Also, check out Seven Do-able Strategies for Staying Healthy During Bar Exam Prep.
Take Time Reflect on What Worked for You in Law School
Listen, you got this far because you survived law school. Something worked for you to get you this far. Now is NOT the time to reinvent the wheel. You only have 10 more weeks of studying ahead of you, so stick with what you know. Did you outline in law school? Plan to outline for each MBE subject. Did you make flashcards? Make them for topics and subtopics, or use commercial flashcards like Critical Pass. If you are a visual person, make diagrams or draw on marker boards. Create a method that helps you learn and master the material. And try not to stray from this foundation. Check out “Am I Actually Learning?” to learn more about how to do this.
Figure Out Your Daily Routine
Find a place to study that works for you. For me, it was a room with a large desk and lots of sunlight. When I couldn’t get work done there, it was a local tea house that had excellent desserts. I used to spend full days there ordering tea and reviewing my lectures. Associating a place with your study mode will help you relax when you have done a full day’s work there. Your study location also plays a huge role in your mental health during your bar preparation. When you leave that spot, you can learn to decompress and take time for yourself.
Get a Bar Exam Mentor
Sometimes students preparing for the bar exam make the mistake of completely disappearing for 10 weeks. They cancel their streaming accounts, block YouTube from their devices, deactivate social media, and basically live in a cave. While isolating from the world is important in order to focus on preparation and remove any and all distractions, it can also prove to be a giant disservice. However, talking to your peers who are also taking the bar exam will only stress you out, since everyone will have random advice to share. And you have no idea of knowing what will guarantee you pass the exam.
That is why it is important to have one or two people in your life during this time who have: (1) taken and passed the bar exam in your state recently, and (2) can be the mentor and hype person you need to stay motivated and headed in the right direction during the course of your studying. Try to find a bar mentor who is generous with their time and willing to talk you through some of the toughest slumps in your preparation. Whether it is advice on how to tackle a certain subtopic or just encouragement to get you through the next day of studying, having a bar exam mentor to support you is an excellent way to guarantee you pass the bar exam.
Find Something Mindless to Help You Decompress
Keep up with a hobby that you love to do. It will help keep your morale up during bar preparation. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. For me, it was Instagram and a T.V. show that was airing while I was studying for the bar. The show would only come on once a week, and it was the perfect way to wind down at the end of a tough week of studying. Incorporating various methods of self-care in your study schedule each week is a great way to take care of your mental health in your rigorous preparation period.
Keep Your Body Healthy, Your Mind Healthier
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is take care of your body. If your body is not healthy, then your mind will not perform at its full capacity. Stay hydrated, work out, make sure you are getting all your nutrients. Because of the long hours studying, if you study at a traditional desk, it is very easy to stay indoors and avoid the sun for much of your bar preparation time. Try to go for a walk daily to get some Vitamin D.
Your mental health is also a crucial part of bar exam success. Bar preparation is a taxing time, and it will inevitably impact your mental health. Study at your own pace and incorporate mindfulness and therapy into your study schedule. There are many healthy habits you can practice during your bar exam preparation, but make sure to do what works for you. In the end, the key to your success is unique to you. Find what works best, and good luck!