Bar Exam prep During the Coronavirus

 Bar Exam Prep During the Coronavirus Outbreak

The coronavirus outbreak has led to our immediate futures becoming very uncertain. With things changing by the hour, there’s no telling what the situation will look like a month from now, let alone by the July bar exam.  To be clear, we have no inside information as to what may happen in terms of the bar exam. However, it is understandable that many prospective takers are looking for advice on whether they should go ahead and prepare for the bar exam during the coronavirus outbreak.

In this post, we discuss the best approach to bar exam prep during the coronavirus outbreak!

 Bar Exam Prep During the Coronavirus Outbreak

As of now, some states have postponed the July 2020 bar exam until the fall. Check out our updated list of states here. While life in March, April, and even May feels completely up in the air, we have no idea what things are going to look like by July. Since we cannot predict with certainty what is going to happen, it is best to just go ahead and operate under the assumption that the July bar exam will happen as scheduled.

This means that until we hear otherwise, you should plan to prepare for the bar exam during the coronavirus outbreak. You don’t want to risk halfheartedly studying (or not studying at all!), assuming that there will be no bar exam, and then have the bar exam go ahead as planned in July. It would be better if you were fully prepared and have it delayed, then to be completely unprepared for an exam that might happen on time. At this point, plan on starting to study just as you would if everything was normal.

Okay, so how should I prepare for the bar exam during the coronavirus outbreak?

Your health and the health of others around you is obviously the most important concern.  Thus, it is fair to assume that you might need to modify how you prepare for the bar exam during the coronavirus outbreak.  The first thing to consider is what kind of bar exam prep course you are taking.  There are two traditional formats: live vs. on-demand.  Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.  Those who require more structure and don’t feel that they are self-disciplined enough to study on their own might prefer a live option. Help learn whether a live or prerecorded bar exam course is right for you.

The difficulty with a live prep course is the degree to which it is actually “live” and how those courses might need to adjust.  While we might know that you should continue to prepare for the bar exam during the coronavirus since the exam is too far away to make any sort of conclusions, course start dates are approaching quickly.  It is certainly reasonable to think that the current health restrictions could still be in place in a month or two.  If a course was planning on meeting in person, this might not actually be able to occur.

What should I look for in a bar prep course?

Thus, if you want to ensure that you find a bar prep course that still offers a strict study regimen, make sure you look for one that still has a live streaming alternative.  For example, JD Advising traditionally does have an in-person option for our Michigan courses, but we also offer the option to live stream the course meetings. For both our Michigan and UBE courses, this still means that you are expected to “attend” the course at the designated time and you will have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the instructor.

If we do have to cancel our in-person courses, the live streaming option will still be available to everyone. This is an excellent substitute if you ordinarily would prefer in-person course instruction.  Therefore, to prepare for the bar exam during the coronavirus outbreak, be sure you are thinking about the style of course that you need and consider the company’s ability to provide that style.

Additionally, it is important to think about where you plan on studying for the bar exam. Studying alone in your house might get boring, and so a lot of takers might prefer mixing things up and studying “alone” while in public. Places like libraries are often common places for bar exam studying.  Again, however, it is not unrealistic to think that many of the current restrictions will still be in place in a month or two.  This would rule out virtually any sort of studying in a public place.

You need to, therefore, think about how you can safely and effectively prepare for the bar exam during the coronavirus outbreak.  Recognize that you might be confined indoors for a significant period of time, so prepare study spaces accordingly.  Make sure roommates and family members are aware of what you will need in your living space during this time.  Consider utilizing tools such as Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc. if you are the kind of learner who benefits from study groups.  Just because you cannot meet in person, that doesn’t mean you can’t have effective group study sessions!

What else can I do?

Even during more normal times, we place a significant emphasis on staying healthy while you study for the bar exam. We make sure to remind takers how important things like breaks for proper eating and sleeping, exercise, and social interaction.  Learn more tips on How to Stay Healthy While Studying for the Bar Exam.

Even while preparing for the bar exam during the coronavirus outbreak, these things are still going to be necessary!  You just need to get creative in how you accomplish some of them while still following the health restrictions. Start thinking about how you might be able to get some exercise indoors. Consider setting aside some time to communicate even virtually with friends or family so that you don’t mentally isolate yourself.  You need to be in strong condition, both physically and mentally, to succeed on the bar exam.

Here is our How-to Guide to Self-Care During the Bar Exam. You just might need to take a different approach to studying than you would have during a different time.

Start early!

If your jurisdiction has postponed its bar exam until the fall, that means you have more time to study! We encourage students, especially those who are worried about the bar exam, to start studying early. Keep in mind that all test takers will have this extra time to study, so you do not want to be behind by waiting to start studying!

If your bar prep course gives you the option to start the class early, take advantage of it! JD Advising offers an on demand course that starts earlier than most commercial courses. Also, if you get your bar prep materials and questions early, it never hurts to look those over.

In addition, you can sign up for our free early bar prep tips here! We send you questions and tips to help you prepare for the bar exam. We include coronavirus updates —so you will be the first to know about any important updates!

The July bar exam might feel far away. However, you need to start planning now!

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