You’ve made it to the night before the bar exam! You’ve studied hard, taken care of yourself, downloaded the bar exam software, and packed for exam day. You’re ready right? So what do you do with yourself, on this last night, to set yourself up for success over the next two days? [Read more…] about What to do the Day Before the Bar Exam
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As I’m sure you’ve heard me say a few thousand times already, I failed the bar the first time. The difference between my first bar prep experience and my second, couldn’t be any farther apart. This was a purposeful design, as my first attempt was spent with a giant cloud of anxiety hanging over my head, and I decided for my second attempt that I could not live like that any more.
The first time I studied for the bar, I took the first month to get my bearings, realized my bearings were wrong and I needed to study how I studied, not how the commercial bar prep program told me to study, and spent the last month doing just that. Basically, I spent that last month cramming in as much information as I could, practicing here and there, and panicking 24 hours a day.
During my second attempt, I learned how to use my time more wisely and was able to spend my final month practicing essays and going through multiple MBE questions – practices that I think influenced my bar score more than reading long outlines could have. Below I’ll outline what I think you should do in your last month before the bar to give the bar your all.
Studying for the bar exam is among the most challenging academic experiences you’ll ever endure. Most first-time takers begin bar study immediately after finishing three rigorous years of law school. And for repeat takers, preparing for the bar exam typically begins after getting the difficult news that a prior bar exam attempt was unsuccessful.
The process of fully preparing for the bar exam takes months, and many people start to feel burnt out in the last month of bar study. If you’re experiencing burnout as the bar exam nears, you can take steps to combat these feelings and restore your energy before you walk into the testing center to sit for the exam.
Here are five ways to beat burnout in the last month of bar study.
At orientation on the first day of law school, I remember an important-looking man standing at the front of the room and telling people that law school was stressful, so maybe it “wasn’t a great time to stop smoking…if you’re a smoker.” That was, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the stupidest advice I’ve ever heard. It’s literally always the right time to stop smoking cigarettes. The guy speaking at my orientation had a point, though: He believed that we each have a limited bucket of discipline, and that we ought to spend it wisely.
In my house we call this “will power bandwidth,” but in the world of psychological research this idea is called “ego depletion.” This is a theory that we each have a limited reserve of self-control, and that using that self-control or discipline for one task (say, for example, dieting) will impact our ability to remain disciplined on some other task.
If you’re scrolling through Instagram or pretty much any social media outlet, you’re likely guaranteed to come upon some variation of self-care activity being promoted by the bevy of social media influencers hired to promote the latest self-care craze. Whether it be taking an exotic vacation to clear your mind and decompress, attending a baby goat yoga class, downloading an app to speak with your own personal therapist in the palm of your hand or my personal favorite, trying out the latest K-Beauty product, the opportunities for self-care are endless, and I love every minute of it! Self-care was essentially the millennial mantra of 2018 and I eagerly hope that this craze will bleed into 2019 and become a permanent lifestyle facet for all generations alike.
So what do you do when you’ve perfected your favorite self-care routine, but you’re unable to squeeze it into your bar prep study schedule? In the alternative, what do you do when you have no idea what self-care is but your bar prep mentor tells you this thing should be an essential part of your preparation? In theory, the answer is pretty simple, you adjust your self-care routine to meet the demands of your bar prep schedule or you Google the definition of self-care and piece together a practical routine that works for your hectic lifestyle. However, in reality, this answer is easier said than done considering that during bar prep, a 24-hour period feels like an hour and 30 minutes at best. Furthermore, if we’re keeping it all the way real, a self-care trip to ride elephants in Thailand or a weekly massage appointment, is not typically within the average bar prep budget. But no need to worry because I’ve already done the heavy lifting for you. Below I’ve pinpointed 10 self-care activities that are efficient, uplifting and necessary for the soul, but most importantly, cheap!
I’ve talked before about how to develop a study schedule. This is one of my favorite (and simultaneously most frustrating) tasks here at the Bar Exam Toolbox. I love looking at the time that our students make available to me and providing checklists for how to optimize their study time. But even the best schedule is useless if the student doesn’t follow it. Obviously, this happens to everyone, but sometimes when people fall behind on their study schedules, they get too overwhelmed to realize that they can make things work. [Read more…] about Bar Schedules: How Can I Catch Up if I Fall Behind?