I am starting to study tomorrow.
I appreciate the determination! But studying three months before the bar exam may not be a good idea for everyone. What do I mean by this?
Studying longer than the prep period (8 to 10 weeks) may make you feel overwhelmed, anxious, and actually over-prepared.
Is it possible to over-prepare for the bar exam? You bet! Remember this exam does not require expert knowledge of the law. Also, for most people, they didn’t fail the bar because they didn’t study the law enough. They may not have studied in the right way, or they may have gotten lost in the details, but law study time alone is not the issue most students struggle with.
Because of this, studying longer may actually cause you to get so obsessed with learning all of the law that you forget to study and get feedback.
Keeping perspective during bar study, especially after a failure, is critical. Dedicating every waking moment to studying from the day you learned you failed to the day you take the exam may be unwise. It is likely to build up this exam into more than it is—just one really big test.
Think of the bar exam as a marathon.
I am not a runner, but I have friends who train for marathons. And the training can’t go on forever; their bodies can’t handle it! Think about the bar exam in the same way. How many months can you, realistically, sustain studying full time? Are you going to burn out? Are you going to be so depressed and exhausted that you won’t be able to focus?
Who should be studying early?
You should be studying early if you are not going to be able to study full time. This is specifically for students who are working while studying. So if you can study only 15 hours a week because of your job, you want to study for a longer period of time in order to give yourself as many study hours as possible. You also want to be smart about how you plan your study. If your jurisdiction’s bar exam includes the performance test, you might want to start working on that part first. Why? Well, you don’t need to memorize any law! So practice these tests, get your plan of attack down, and then you can do just a few to keep your skills fresh through the rest of the prep period.
When are you planning to start studying? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.
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