In our last post, we talked about some of the indications that may point to you needing a bar exam tutor. In case you’re still not sure, here are five more reasons that may convince you to get some help with the bar exam.
You tend to spend time focusing on minutiae rather than the big picture
A thick treatise on twelve to fourteen subjects is impossible to memorize word-for-word in two or three months. Worse, if you get bogged down in the first few chapters, that is really tough to come back from. Studying for the bar is all about seeing the big picture. There are so many details, nuances and distinctions in the black letter law that you can’t possibly learn them all—and you really don’t need to in order to pass. If you find it difficult to glean from a stack of books which law is important, or if you’re the kind of person who will flash card all of Negligence in excruciating detail but then never finish the section on Strict Liability, you might want to talk to a tutor about how to see the forest for the trees and use your time in the most efficient way possible.
You get burned out easily
Burnout is a real and serious problem when studying for the bar. Particularly for law students who performed well in school. It’s easy to think that you can just treat the bar as one big final exam and the bar study process like one very long reading period. It’s not, and if you try to work 12-15 hours every day for months at a time, the chances that you will either have a melt-down, get sick, or otherwise incapacitate yourself are pretty high. Having a tutor can help you avoid burnout by keeping your study time balanced and can serve as a reality check when you’re not getting adequate rest, nutrition, breaks or exercise—which let’s face it, is hard to do when you’re studying for something as big as the bar.
You suspect you might have issues with anxiety
The bar exam can be one of the most anxiety-provoking, stress-inducing academic experiences imaginable—even for students who have never had any anxiety issues before. If you’ve ever written a completely stream-of-consciousness final exam because you were too nervous to outline your answer and coherently structure your essay, or if you’ve ever had your mind just go blank because you freak out before or during tests, you might want to work with a tutor on how to get your nerves under control. A tutor can talk to you about strategies you can practice to stay calm and focused and can help point you in the direction of a therapist or other professional help if needed.
You struggle with a negative mindset or depression
If you think, based on past experience, that you might get the blues when confronted with the mounting pressure and time constraints of the bar exam and study process, you might want to consider getting a tutor. You can’t afford to lose time because you don’t want to get out of bed and face the world. And, those days will happen. You should make sure you have some accountability and encouragement so you don’t fall off the radar altogether. A positive attitude is important when studying for and taking the bar, and sometimes it can be really tricky to be our own support system. Every single person who studies for the bar has negative thoughts about failing once in a while—it’s impossible not to. If you think you’re at risk of negativity taking over, though, a tutor can be a fantastic way guarantee check-ins and get positive reinforcement from someone who knows what they’re talking about and has been through the process before.
You’re on a budget
Individual bar tutoring is often less expensive than working with larger mass-produced programs. Obviously, though, pricing depends on the tutor or tutoring company you decide to work with. Before going it alone or signing up for an expensive, less-tailored bar prep. experience, consider the kinds of help you think you want and need and compare prices if budgeting is a concern for you.
You’ve failed the bar before
If you’re a repeat taker, then studying for the bar is a completely different academic, psychological and emotional pursuit for you. Failing the bar can absolutely shatter a test-taker’s confidence, and it can be really frustrating to try to figure out on your own what went wrong last time and how to fix it. Having a tutor can be an excellent way to discern what your stumbling blocks have been in the past and he or she can work with you on how to overcome your particular challenge—whether that is the multiple choice, the essays, the performance tests, or all of the above. If you’ve failed the bar before, you are still absolutely capable of passing!
But, keep in mind, you now have evidence that what you did last time didn’t work out well for you. Don’t repeat the same mistake. You should honestly assess your own performance and the tutor or program you utilized, and think about changing your approach. Passing the bar as a repeat taker is largely dependent on finding and committing to a strategy that can work for you personally, and a tutor can be a great ally in that process. Obviously, passing also involves a lot of hard work on your part too, but you can do it! Hang in there!
Ariel Salzer is a California Bar Tutor with the Bar Exam Toolbox. If you are interested in learning more about bar exam tutoring, click here.
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Did you find this post helpful? Check out some other great articles:
- Winning the Bar Exam Game: Should You Consider Getting a Tutor?
- Why I Hired a Bar Exam Tutor
- Slaying the Dragon: A Hard Look at What it Takes to Conquer the Bar Exam
- 5 Things I Did Differently the Second Time to Pass the Bar Exam
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