The bar exam is stressful for several reasons. Some of these reasons include how it is easy to feel like your whole life depends on your results, how there is a lot of material to cover, and how you will need to spend a lot of time preparing. In this post, we wanted to help you make a roadmap for your bar exam plan by outlining what you need to do and when you should probably do it.
Get And Stay Ahead
Your top priority for bar exam prep should be to get ahead and stay ahead. So if you are a first semester 3L reading this and thinking, “I will just bookmark this post for next semester,” don’t stop reading! This post is especially for you! Your first semester of 3L year should be the latest you start prepping though the summer leading up to 3L year is the perfect time to get ahead with bar prep.
Organization You Can Do Now
Believe it or not, there are several “non-studying” things you can do to get ahead with bar prep. For example, you can start looking into bar review providers. There is a crazy number of bar review providers out there. Out of all the providers, you have to choose the one program that is right for you. Here is a helpful link that can give you tips on choosing a provider.
One not obvious thing you should really start doing is looking into your state’s admission requirements. It is likely that applying to your state’s bar will require a lot of paperwork that you won’t have time to fill out while studying. Completing these tedious forms now rather than later will save you time. It would stink to not be accepted to the bar because you forgot to turn in a form!
Thinking You Can Do Now
Before you fill your head with legal concepts and review diagrams, you should take a step back and reflect on your learning experiences. What are your study habits, stress management methods, and time management skills? How can you improve? Using this last year to change small things or practice new study methods will make you an even better studier when you actually start bar prep. Taking time to think about these things now rather than in the middle of bar prep will save you both time and stress.
Related to study habits, test anxiety is also something you should think about. Improving your skills to deal with stress is really important for preparing for the bar. It is perhaps the most stressful test you will take in your career. If test anxiety is something that you have found really paralyzing, now is the time to seek out professional help.
Studying You Can Do Now
Did you know that there is a test you have to take in addition to the bar exam? The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) is a requirement for all but four U.S. jurisdictions. It needs to be studied for, and it’s never too early to start. You could start studying and take the MPRE early in your first semester of 3L. It is possible to fail the MPRE so you want to plan well ahead just in case you need to retake it.
As you can see, there are plenty of things you can do to prepare for the bar way before you actually start preparing for the bar. You can make significant and important progress toward the bar exam in the summer leading up to your 3L year and during your first semester of 3L. Remember: get ahead and stay ahead!
What is most important is to be aware of everything you will have to do so that you can make a schedule for yourself. You don’t want anything to fall to the way side. It is especially easy to forget to do things when the busyness of your 3L semester starts up. If you take care of the tedious things, spend time choosing a provider, and fine tune your study habits and stress management techniques, your bar exam prep will be smooth, effective, and productive.