Can I Take A Day Off During Bar Prep?
Studying for the bar exam can be demanding, exhausting, and stressful. There is no doubt that applicants spend massive amounts of time completing their study materials, memorizing the law, and practicing questions. Likewise, many students find that maintaining a bar prep study schedule that’s too robust can be difficult and lead to burnout. In order to maximize efficiency, your study schedule should be realistic, keep you organized, and incorporate regular breaks. So, the answer to the question at the beginning of this post is, “Yes, you can take a day off during bar prep!”
Can I Take A Day Off During Bar Prep?
Take a Full Day Off
Bar exam candidates should incorporate breaks (including days off) into their bar prep study schedules. For example, if you took every Saturday off during law school, and it served you well, you may want to also consider taking Saturdays off when studying for the bar exam. It goes without saying that if you take a full day off from bar prep each week, you should be sure to accomplish all of your study goals during the six days that you do plan to study. Likewise, if you plan to take a day off each week, be sure to build that day off into your study schedule so you can relax knowing that you deserve a break!
The Benefits of Taking a Day Off
Breaks can keep you energized
Breaks can keep you energized and focused during intense study periods. In contrast, if you study for long periods of time without taking breaks, it is likely that you will experience diminished returns and thus waste your time. For example, consider setting aside blocks of study time (i.e., 1-2 hours) with mini-10-minute breaks in between, for greater focus and enhanced productivity. When you take these mini-breaks, try to do something active or healthy, like playing with your dog, listing to your favorite music track, going for a walk, or eating a nutritious snack.
Breaks can help you refocus.
Breaks may help facilitate clarity in understanding the law. If the material doesn’t initially “click” or you find yourself trying to memorize the same concept over and over again without making any progress, taking a break could help clear your mind and allow you to return to your studies with a better grasp of the information. A break can give your brain the chance it needs to sort and organize new areas of law.
Breaks promote mental health
Taking breaks can help you reduce bar prep anxiety. This is important because anxiety blocks the receptors that you need to understand and internalize the information you need to know for the bar exam.
Other Types of Longer Breaks
Half-day or a few-hour break at least once per week
If taking a full day off each week sounds too daunting, you should at least consider incorporating a half-day study break or a couple of multiple-hour breaks each week. This might be especially helpful if you have a full-time job while studying and do not have the opportunity to take a full day off on a weekly basis. Also, in the event that you just don’t want to take a full day off because you are not used to doing so, taking longer breaks could serve as positive reinforcement and help you stay motivated.
Take a break at the end of each study day
At the end of each study day, you should plan to do something that you’ll look forward to doing. For example, plan to watch a couple of episodes of your favorite television show, exercise, have dinner with your friends or family, or just do nothing. ‘End of study day breaks’ will keep you rejuvenated, and will also help to keep your bar-related anxiety at bay.
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