If you are planning on sitting for the July Bar Exam, now is the time you should be doing some serious studying. Whether you are a fresh graduate sitting for your first exam, or an attorney who has relocated to another state, there are some important considerations to keep in mind:
Schedule your studying. Determine where and when you will be studying, and stick to it. A routine will you stay on track, and also provide you with some much needed predictability for planning. For those of you taking commercial bar preparation courses, stick to the prescribed schedule.
Remove sources of stress. If you have not already, inform your family, friends, significant others, roommates, employers…everyone…about your upcoming need to focus on preparing for and taking the bar. Make the necessary arrangements you might need for and child or family care, and ensure that your finances are all sorted out. You don’t want to spend time explaining why you have been keeping to yourself when you should be studying.
Be diligent and focused. Stick to the set study schedule and do not let yourself slack off. Turn off any distractions (texts, etc.). Remember that this is important enough to merit your full attention. If you remain on track and focused, you will find that your test taking skills and legal knowledge will improve. You will need to be in this focused, present state to pay attention and retain what you are learning.
Know when you have had enough. Studying for the bar should be your full time job. This means that you show up, do the work—and that you also call it a day and do something else after. This helps you avoid burnout and retain necessary information.
Practice under test-conditions. Take practice tests and answer practice questions. Do these practices under timed conditions, and get a sense of what the location for your bar exam is like. Remember that you want to be prepared for what it feels like to test for a full day before going into it when it counts.
Take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. To keep your engine running, you will have to make sure it is maintained and cared for. Start adjusting your schedule to match the exam. You will be expected to perform your best between 8am and 5pm. Adjust accordingly.
Don’t let others freak you out. On test day, there will be some people who want to talk loudly about what they’ve done to prepare. After the test, there will be some people who want to talk about how they answered a question or spotted an issue. Get away from this (and make sure you are not that person).
Remember—you know what YOU need to do. You’ve already come this far. Now, just do it.