How many hours a day should I study for the bar exam? This is a tough question to answer. Generally speaking—you need to study a lot. However, there is more to consider when looking for an answer to this question, primarily if you are a first time or repeat taker.
How Many Hours a Day Should I Study for the Bar Exam?
1. First Time Takers
Are you a first time taker and will your only focus will be the bar exam? If so, you should treat studying like a job. Plan to spend at least 40 hours a week studying. Keep in mind, quality matters just as much as quantity. This means just because you sit in front of your computer for 8 hours a day, does not mean that it was a productive 8 hours.
Or are you in the situation where you are a first time taker and working part-time? If so, studying 40 hours a week many not be realistic. You should look into a bar prep tutor or program that allows you to start the studying process earlier. You should also plan on studying a few hours each day after work and then full time on the weekends. We also recommend that you take some time off of work (i.e. the last two weeks) prior to the exam so that you can focus more of your time on studying.
2. Repeat Takers
Are you in the situation where you are a repeat taker? For most repeat takers the key is to not listen to all of the lectures all over again. This is especially true if you are planning on working during your study period. You should start studying early and come up with a plan before you get started. Figure out your weak spots and allot more time to those subjects—as you may want to listen to those lectures again.
If this is the position you are in, start early and treat it like a job as much as possible. That means if you are working—get a few productive hours in each day and full time on the weekends.
If you are not working, starting early is a little less important. However, you should still put together a plan that is focused on what you personally need to do, and you should spend about 40 hours a week studying.
Regardless of your position, make sure that the time you allot for studying is productive. Take frequent breaks and reward yourself to stay motivated!
What about my friends that study 14 hours per day for the bar exam?
Students that say they study ridiculous amounts every day are either:
- (1) lying or exaggerating
- (2) counting a lot of their breaks (going on facebook, complaining about studying, eating lunch, etc.) as “study time”
- (3) skipping sleep to study more (and doing themselves no favors in the process!)
- (4) being highly unproductive when they study (i.e., spending hours making flashcards but not actually thinking about them or reviewing them, reading the same sentence over and over again, watching lectures but not focusing, etc.)
The human brain is an organ.Even if you are naturally a very focused and productive person who aims to study several hours a day, your last hour will not be nearly productive as your first hour. That is why it is best to spread out your studying, take frequent breaks, and maintain a realistic study schedule.
This post was written by our law school tutor, Meagan Jabbori, who has helped several students succeed in law school and on the bar exam!
Ms. Ashley Heidemann graduated as the number 1 law student out of over 200 students in her class of 2011 at Wayne State University. She now works as a tutor for law students and the bar exam. She also offers a Law School Preparatory Course for students interested in learning the skills necessary to achieve a high GPA in law school.