Starting Each Day of Bar Prep

Five Tips For Starting Each Day Of Bar Prep Well

Studying for the bar exam is challenging, but very manageable.  Starting each day of bar prep on the right foot is important so that your studying is as effective and efficient as possible.  Here are 5 tips to get the most out of each day!

Five Tips For Starting Each Day Of Bar Prep Well

1. Start early.

Fight the urge to procrastinate!  There is no use putting off your studying (you will eventually need to do it), and if you procrastinate for too long, you will need to rush to get everything done for the day (resulting in unnecessary added stress).  By starting early, you are starting each day of bar prep on a high note that can set the tone for the rest of the day.

If you’re not thrilled about the idea of getting up early to read outlines, start with something else.  While some students are laser-focused and enjoy reviewing outlines first thing in the morning, others practice questions or writing an essay first thing in the morning.  Working in the morning is beneficial for three reasons.  First, there are fewer distractions in the morning.  Second, the bar exam begins in the morning, and it’s useful to simulate the exam conditions (especially if you’re not a morning person) to better prepare for the exam day.  Third, memorizing or completing questions and essays first thing means that you’ve accomplished something before your day has really even begun.  That feeling of self-accomplishment will help motivate you to start on your next task of the day!

2. Have a plan.

Have a study plan pre-prepared for each day!  It is so important to stay organized with both weekly study schedules and daily study schedules because there is a lot of material to cover over the course of a few months.  This is especially true if you plan to work while studying for the bar exam.  Having study plans pre-prepared means that you can start off with bar prep right away each day.  Without a plan, you’ll waste time and energy the morning of trying to come up with tasks—decreasing your motivation and focus by the time you actually do start studying.   Trust us when we say that having pre-prepared study plans will make your day much less stressful!

3. Focus only on the day ahead.

By starting out each day of bar prep by focusing only on the tasks and material for that day, you are much less likely to feel overwhelmed.  We know it’s hard, but try not to think about the material that you’ll need to review tomorrow or the next week or the next month….  Take it a day at a time.  Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t plan ahead (remember, weekly and daily schedules are important!), but it does mean that when you start bar prep each day, your sole focus should be on that day.  There will be plenty of time to plan out tomorrow’s material after you finish your studying for the day.  Maintaining a focused mindset will help you to study more efficiently and effectively!

4. Don’t beat yourself up if you have an off day.

Just like with anything else, you will have good days and not so good days during bar prep.  It’s impossible for athletes to be the MVP of every game, right?  The same is true for bar prep—everyone has off days.  But chances are your day wasn’t as bad as you think it was, so try to keep things in perspective!  For example, maybe you had in your daily study plan that you wanted to answer 100 practice questions, but you only were able to complete 75.  Is it because you spent extra time reviewing the questions you got wrong? Because that’s still productive (and highly recommended)!  Or maybe reviewing a property outline took you longer than you anticipated because you just really struggle with the subject. Again, still very productive because it’s important to understand the material—especially the highly tested material (check out these posts on the highly tested MBE topics and highly tested MEE topics).

Or maybe for every essay you practiced that day you got the rules completely wrong.  That’s okay too because bar prep is a learning process, and there’s still time to learn the rules you missed!  Bar prep is a marathon, not a sprint.  So don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t accomplish as much as you planned to or didn’t do as well as you hoped on any given day!

Also, remember that your study plan is an important guide, but you need to be flexible with your schedule and realistic with your goals (i.e., don’t get upset if you planned to complete 4 full-length practice tests and were unable to).  Your study plan can and should be adjusted as needed to best meet your needs.  With that said, if you find that you are continuously struggling with a part of the exam or a particular subject, seek help!  Most bar prep courses, including JD Advising, have tutoring services available that you should take advantage of to stay on track!

5. Switch up your routine to stay motivated.

This last tip is key to starting each day of bar prep on the right foot.  Motivation is vital to bar prep success!  It can be hard to stay motivated though if you’re doing the exact same thing day after day after day.  Don’t be afraid to switch things up to avoid getting bored or burned out.  If you’re tired of spending your days in the library, try a new venue such as a coffee shop instead.  Or if you’re too exhausted to answer practice questions after reading pages and pages of outlines for hours on end, switch up your schedule by incorporating more practice questions earlier in the day and reading smaller sections of the outline at a time.  Or if you’ve been studying on your own all week and you’re struggling to grasp a concept (or even if you just need some social interaction), try working with a small study group.  Whatever you need to do to stay motivated, do it!

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