Step Eight of How to Pass the Bar Exam:
Prepare Yourself Mentally and Physically for the Bar Exam
Preparing mentally and physically for the bar exam can be just as important as learning the substantive material. In this post, we provide tips for how to prepare for the bar exam both physically and mentally!
How to prepare yourself mentally and physically for the bar exam
Make exercise a regular part of your routine
It is a good idea to take breaks while you are studying for the bar exam. An even better idea is to utilize those breaks for physical exercise! There are many benefits to exercising while you are studying for the bar exam. For instance:
- It can help you feel more energized so that you can continue studying
- It reduces stress
- It helps you focus
- It helps you understand difficult concepts
- It helps you sleep better
If you are worried that you won’t have time to exercise, be sure to pencil exercise into your schedule. If you are planning on taking a break anyway (which you should!) pre-planning to exercise during that break will ensure that you have time to fit in physical fitness! Check out The Importance of Exercising During Bar Prep for more information on how critical exercise is!
Eat healthy food
Rather than using junk food to reward yourself for good performance on a practice exam or for completing your weekly list of tasks, instead, reward yourself with a break during which you can cook yourself a healthy meal!
Eating unhealthy food for three months as you prepare for the bar exam can quickly catch up with you. Chances are, you will regret eating junk food as soon as the exam is over. Furthermore, eating unhealthy for months can make you start to feel sluggish and tired, which can adversely affect your performance on the day of the exam. Staying healthy will help to ensure that you have the stamina to focus for hours on the day of the exam!
Another idea for incorporating healthy food into your diet is to utilize your support system to encourage healthy eating. For example, if your parents or friends want to help support you during bar prep, ask them to pre-pay for gift foods to healthy restaurants (or a food delivery service, where you can order healthy meals). Or, even better, if they cook, as if they will make a healthy meal. This is a great way for others to support you physically and mentally as you prepare for the exam!
For more information on staying healthy as you prepare for the exam, check out How to Stay Healthy While Studying for the Bar Exam!
Even when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, try to stay positive during bar prep! One way to remain positive is to practice daily positive affirmations. Check out Bar Exam Daily Affirmations for some affirmations that you can borrow and repeat to yourself on a daily basis, or feel free to write your own!
Some examples of affirmations that you may use on a regular basis during bar prep are:
- “I am making great progress in my study plan.”
- “I will continue to learn and memorize the law.”
- “I am a dedicated learner.”
- “My life will go on no matter what result I get on the bar exam.”
- “I will make a great lawyer.”
- “I will always try my hardest.”
Affirmations can be empowering. If you say them on a regular basis, you may notice a real change in your attitude and your confidence!
Visualize passing the exam
Visualization is one tool that professional athletes frequently use before a game. Visualizing can put you in the right mindset. And, it primes your brain for success.
Some students walk into the bar exam telling themselves things like, “I won’t pass,” or “I just know I’ll run out of time,” or “I know I will get an essay question that will stump me.” And often, these statements become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Instead of engaging in negative self-talk, visualize success. Picture the testing center in as much detail as possible. Visualize yourself confidently sitting at your desk. Visualize yourself knowing the answers (or being able to figure them out). And picture yourself finishing the test in time. You will be priming your brain for success and using a tool that athletes and many professionals swear by!
Obviously, visualizing passing the bar exam will not be sufficient to pass. You have to put in the work too! However, visualizing success can help put you in the right mindset to pass.
Visualize each part of the exam, from walking into the room, to leaving at the end, and visualize each part of the day going perfectly smooth. For more information, check out How to Use Visualization to Pass the Bar Exam.
If you are feeling anxious about the exam, try a few of the following techniques:
- Begin by thinking about why you feel anxious. Once you write down and dissect your anxieties, they may not seem so bad.
- Think about the worst that could happen. Failing the bar exam is not the end of the world. Once you accept that the bar exam is not nearly as big a deal as you are making it out to be, you may be able to reduce your anxiety surrounding the exam.
- Try techniques to help relax your mind. For example, try meditation, running, journaling, or a hot bath. What has worked for you in the past in helping you conquer anxiety will work for you now too.
- Also, remember to lean on your support system of friends and family to help relieve stress and anxiety.
For more tips regarding conquering anxiety, check out Four Ways to Conquer Bar Exam Test Anxiety.
Go to the next topic, Step Nine: Get Ready for Bar Exam Day.
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