For law students, passing the bar exam is one of the last hurdles they need to clear before they can truly start their career in law. Studying for the bar exam will be a little different than studying for other tests you’ve taken in high school and undergrad, but if you know how to attack it, you’ll be in a great position to pass the test. As someone who has taken and passed the exam here, are five tips to consider when preparing for the bar exam.
Passing The Bar
Keep these tips in mind as the bar exam gets closer.
1. Set A Study Schedule – This is likely a very busy time in your life, but don’t just work in studying when it fits into your schedule, carve out some time designated for studying each day. If you get into a regular routine, it will be easier to stay in that study rhythm as the exam approaches. Make sure you’re studying during the week and during the weekends. If something comes up and you have to miss a study session, make sure you make that session up down the road.
2. Quality Study Time – You can “study” for six hours, but if half that time is spent checking Facebook, texting your friends, making a snack or playing games on your phone, you’re not getting much quality study time. Silence your phone, stay off social media sites and make sure you minimize the distractions around you so you’re getting good study time. That’s not to say that you need to study for six straight hours without a break, but keep your breaks short, and when you are studying, make sure you’re solely focused on the material.
3. Take Good Breaks – What you do when you’re not studying is almost as important as how you study. A recent study found that individuals who exercised after studying retained more information than individuals who played video games or relaxed outside. Individuals who played video games had the worst retention, as experts believe the stressful game caused their body to focus more on the perceived threats on screen and less on remembering the information it had just absorbed. We’re not saying you need to go for a run after every study session, but give the information a little time to sink in before you turn on the TV or fire up the Xbox.
4. Take Practice Tests – Practice tests are great because they can give you an idea of what to expect during the exam. They are good study tools, but as the exam approaches, treat these practice tests like the real thing. Place time constraints on yourself and strive to finish in the allotted time with quality answers. If you don’t practice under similar circumstances, you may find that your time management skills aren’t where they need to be when the exam rolls around.
5. Find A Support System – Studying for the bar exam is going to be physically, mentally and emotionally draining, so make sure you have a good support system in place. Let your friends and family know that you’ll be a bit of a recluse over the next couple months, and that you may not be able to commit to obligations as freely as before. Studying needs to take priority at times, but still try to carve out some time for leisure activities to let your brain de-stress. Your friends, family or coworkers will realize that you’re not blowing them off, you just need to study for your exam. By being open about your commitment to study, you’ll ensure that those closest to you will understand where you’re coming from, and they’ll be more likely to go out of their way to help you or give you the space you need at this crucial time in your life.
Avery Appelman is a criminal defense attorney in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the owner and managing partner at Appelman Law Firm.