motivation to study for the bar examIt is hard find motivation to study for the bar exam – especially if you are starting now (around the holidays), taking the bar exam at a different time than the rest of your law school class, or not following a traditional bar exam study schedule. Even  just generally,  it is difficult to find motivation to study for the bar exam once you’ve already completed three years of law school and probably want nothing more than a break from books and a tropical vacation!

If you are struggling, here are some tips to motivate you to study for the bar exam:

10 Tips to help you find motivation to study for the bar exam

  • Find a Bar Exam buddy. If you know anyone else taking the exam with you, see if they want to meet up once a week to review topics. If you are more of a solo studier, then maybe just arrange a phone date every so often. It helps to have someone who is going through the same thing as you. You can bounce ideas off of them and compare notes about what works and what doesn’t.
  • Get up early. There are very few distractions early in the morning. It is too early to text people and Facebook isn’t all that exciting at 6:00 AM. Getting up early can also give you a sense of accomplishment. So if you are having trouble motivating yourself to study, set your alarm (and coffee maker) a little earlier and see how it feels to accomplish so much in the morning!
  • Change where you study. If you are used to studying at home, try studying in a coffee shop or library once in a while. Sometimes it is helpful to be around people because it motivates you to work. Changing your environment can also be a great way to keep yourself motivated (and to make studying less boring!).
  • Start small. If you plan to study 10 hours a day, then it is no wonder you cannot motivate yourself. Instead, start small (and start early, if possible!) Make it your goal to do four or six hours of really good studying, then reward yourself. Slowly increase the amount that you study day by day.
  • Put it in your calendar. Make a bar exam study schedule. If you say you’re going to “study all day” but have no idea where to start, you are less likely to do it. Instead, make a monthly schedule, then break that down into a weekly schedule, and even a daily schedule. The more you have planned, the more likely you are to get it done! This bar exam study schedule link will help you if you do not know how to make a schedule!
  • Change how you study. If you are only staring at your outlines all day, try repeating them out loud or explaining them to someone else. Try making charts of difficult concepts or drawing diagrams. Changing how you study can keep you interested in the material and motivated to learn.
  • Do your most difficult tasks at your best time. If you struggle with memorization and you’re a morning person, focus on memorizing your outlines when you are at your best – in the morning. If you like to stay up late, focus on your most difficult task at night. It makes sense to work with (rather than against) your biological rhythms and do your best work at your best time.
  • Take breaks. If you plan on studying for eight hours straight, then you will never last! Your brain will need a break. A break is good for you — it can help energize and motivate you. So schedule a short break every hour or so, as well as a longer break during the day.
  • Reward yourself. I think it is a good idea to reward yourself at the end of each day (for your hard studying!) and the end of each week (with a half-day or full day off!). So, for example, promise yourself if you study Civil Procedure and Torts for the full 8 hours you plan to, that you will have a glass of wine with dinner and a good TV show. At the end of each week, plan a treat for yourself – taking Sunday off or sleeping in Saturday. This will keep you motivated and energized. (If you are interested, read how a took one full day off every week in law school. I think this was one of the best things I did to keep myself motivated!)
  • Get a tutor, if comprehension is your issue. Some students don’t like to study because they do not understand the material and it makes them feel bad. If you struggle with comprehension, it is worth it to look into getting a tutor. Understanding the concepts will motivate you to keep moving forward! It will also provide accountability.

If you have any other ways you have found to be a good source of motivation to study for the bar exam, please share below!