Published: May 18, 2021
The bar exam is only a few months away, which means it’s time to start prepping. Bar prep seems like a daunting time, but it does not have to be. With a schedule customized to fit your learning style and daily routine, bar prep will be easier to endure. This article will give you the tools you will need to create the perfect bar prep schedule.
The first step is to look at your bar prep resources. Take into consideration how much time you have until the big day and the amount of information you will have to learn. The earlier you start studying, the more time you will have to review any topics that you have a hard time grasping. It is important to carve out some time at the end of each day as well as a one day a week to review information so it will remain fresh in your memory come the big day.
If you purchased a bar prep course, the company will have a schedule prepared that will outline what to study and when. This schedule is a great starting point. You can follow the schedule or tailor it to study more or less depending on your goals and personal study preferences.
Are You a Morning Bird or Night Owl?
Another important thing to take into consideration is what time of day you study best. If you retain information better in the morning, then your schedule will start earlier than someone who performs better late at night. The amount of time you’ll need to reserve for bar prep each day is significant, so mapping out your peak study times may help boost your efficiency.
How to Handle Working While Prepping.
If you will be working during bar prep, then your schedule will be drastically different. Most people who work while studying, carve out time either early in the morning before work or late at night when they’re done with work and dinner. If this sounds stressful, try not to worry. People have studied for the bar while working and still passed! You can study longer on the weekends to ensure that you are staying on track and at the same speed as everyone else.
Revise When Needed.
Figuring out the right schedule will be a trial and error situation. What may sound like a great schedule on paper may actually be hard to follow in real life. Allow yourself a week to find the right rhythm and discover what does and does not work for you. You may have been overambitious in creating your initial study goals and can’t keep up, may realize you need additional time for practice questions, or are having trouble balancing the various subjects as scheduled—adjust the schedule until you hit your groove.
Carve Out Some “Me Time.”
It can feel like you have to forego any free time and not be able to have time to relax. This is false. Too much stress can hinder your performance. By practicing time management, you will be able to carve out time to relax. Have a set time each day where you stop studying. Having a cut off time each day will allow you to focus better on the material because you will know that you are only studying for a certain amount of time. Of course, there will be some days where you will want to continue studying because you do not feel like you have grasped that day’s topics. That is fine. But it is important to allow yourself some time to unwind and relax so you will feel refreshed and ready to study the next day.
Binge watch your favorite tv shows, have a spa day, or nap! Do what you enjoy and allow your mind to relax. After all, the bar exam is a marathon, not a sprint.
It is important to not compare yourself and your schedule to anyone else. What is working for someone else may not work for you. If you hear someone talking about how long they are studying each day, remind yourself that quantity does not equal quality. It is normal to second guess yourself and feel like the bar exam is an impossible exam to pass. Just like how some people in law school studied better with flash cards while others preferred to reread their outlines, people have different preferences for bar prep. Focusing on yourself and not what your classmates are doing will decrease unnecessary stress and will allow you to remain focused on performing your best.
The bar exam is a stressful rite of passage to a legal career. But with a schedule tailored to you, you will be able to perform your best on the exam. Good luck!
If you are a 1L, don't miss this chance to hear from experts at top law firms as they discuss legal careers, law school advice, and diversity initiatives!
It’s never too early to start planning for your legal career—even if you are only in the first semester of your 1L year.