Bar Exam Study Tip

Bar Exam Study Tip: The Pomodoro Technique

Studying for the bar exam requires weeks of intense focus. Many exam takers feel overwhelmed by the amount of material and some even have trouble starting. Some exam takers study furiously during the first few weeks, only to become exhausted and burnt out before test day arrives. Don’t do this!

Along with making a bar exam study schedule, one helpful way to manage your time and stay focused is to use the Pomodoro Technique. The Pomodoro Technique is a productivity tool that will help you stay focused on studying while minimizing distractions and providing space for breaks.

Bar Exam Study Tip: The Pomodoro Technique

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique was created by software developer and consultant Francesco Cirillio. The Pomodoro Technique establishes work periods, with intermittent short breaks. Each work period is called a “pomodoro”. The name comes from the Italian word for “tomato”, after the tomato-shaped timer that Francesco used in developing the technique.

The Pomodoro Technique involves six steps:

  1. Choose your task (for example, practicing MBE questions or studying substantive law with flashcards)
  2. Set a timer for 25 minutes
  3. Work on the task, without switching over to anything else
  4. Once the timer goes off, make a checkmark on a piece of paper
  5. Take a break for five minutes, then return to Step 2
  6. After four pomodoros, take a longer break of about 15-30 minutes

If you are interrupted in the middle of a pomodoro, you will either try to reschedule the interruption to deal with it once the pomodoro is over, or attend to it but restart the pomodoro when you get back. Try to make your pomodoros an uninterrupted period of work.

You can use the five minute breaks between pomodoros to stand up and use the bathroom or get some water. The 15-30 minute break is useful for reviewing your progress and strategizing for your next task.

How will the Pomodoro Technique help me study for the bar exam?

By concentrating your mind on one task in 25-minute stretches, the Pomodoro Technique will help you focus on that task and improve at it. The Pomodoro Technique also schedules in breaks, so that you won’t find yourself running out of steam. If you are working in the middle of a pomodoro and get tempted to check social media or get a snack, the Pomodoro Technique will encourage you to finish up the pomodoro and wait for one of the scheduled breaks. This technique will both help you get more studying done and help you sustain your study pace for the long haul.

Are there tools to help me use the Pomodoro Technique?

Francesco Cirillio suggests a low-tech approach, with a mechanical timer, pen, and pencil. But there are plenty of apps and websites that you can use too, like Marinara Timer and TomatoTimer. If you have Google Chrome, you can install the Strict Workflow extension. Not only does it serve as a pomodoro timer, it also blocks certain websites while you are in a pomodoro, so you won’t get distracted. This is perfect for those that find it too easy to check social media while studying. And remember, the Pomodoro Technique is only useful if you, well, use it. Go ahead and customize it to fit your study habits. If you use the Pomodoro Technique with our 25 Best Bar Exam Tips, you will have the focus you need to prepare for the bar exam!

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