Five Tips For Passing the California Bar Exam
Studying for the bar can become stressful and overwhelming. The key to managing these feelings is having a plan and following it. In this post, we break down five tips that are vital to passing the California the bar exam!
Five Tips For Passing the California Bar Exam
1. Don’t panic.
Let’s face it, California has long had a reputation for having one of the most difficult bar exams in the country. But that’s no reason to panic. It is normal to get stressed, especially when the exam is approaching. We understand it might be intimidating just imagining yourself walking into the exam hall and trying to get the information out of your head and onto the exam. Panicking during the bar exam is very common, so like anything else, try to prepare for it. Here are our tips to remind yourself of in case you panic during the bar exam.
Also, know that not feeling totally ready for the bar exam is completely normal! Of the students that fail the bar exam, it is often those that were completely “confident” they were going to pass that did the worst. Check out these tips to help reassure yourself that it’s okay to not feel 100% confident and still pass the exam.
Lastly, staving off exam panic can also be done through exercise. Exercising during the bar study period is very important. It not only energizes your body, but it also kick starts your brain. Research shows that physical exercise releases proteins in the brain that can actually help improve your memory and increase your cognitive performance!
2. Treat studying like a job.
Just as you set an alarm to wake up for work, set an alarm to start your bar prep. Treat your bar as your favorite short-term job that’s going to change your life forever. Don’t spend your entire day studying. Take your 30-minute lunch break along with 15-minute breaks every 4 hours just as you would at a regular job. It’s okay to study more than the normal workday would allow, but don’t do it very often. You don’t want to exhaust your brain.
In treating the bar exam like a job, it’s also important to have a schedule you can follow every day and week. Here are our tips on how to make a bar exam study schedule. Having a schedule will also help to manage your exam anxieties discussed in tip #1 above because you are taking control over your study plan and can be confident you’ll be ready in time!
3. Prioritize your studies and share your schedule with loved ones.
Friends and family who do not have a legal background may not understand that the bar exam is more than just an exam. It requires a lot of studying, and will probably occupy most of your time. So, make sure you talk to them before your studies begin and explain your plans and schedule to them. Having family and friends understand that your priority must be studying for the bar exam will help them to manage their expectations and potential disappointment when they can’t see you as often as they’d like.
Likewise, it’s important to communicate about what events you will be at! (We’re not advocating that you be a grinch!) Enjoy the holidays and other big events while studying for the bar exam. Be sure to schedule them into your study calendar so you don’t displace precious study time or decide between attending an event and studying for the bar.
4. Gain a deeper understanding of the test.
In order to understand what the Bar Examiners expect of you, pull out the past exams. Go back at least 10 years, and make sure to practice as many essay questions as you can from those exams. Write them out and compare them to the sample answer. That is the only way you will understand how the Bar Examiners think and want you to approach every single topic on the bar. It is recommended that you practice at least 2,000 MBE questions, which is roughly about 33 questions a day – not too bad right? So try to do at least 30 MBE questions a day. Refer to Where Do I Find Real MBE Questions? to discover the importance of doing the real past questions, before proceeding to commercial MBE questions.
5. Develop a firm belief in yourself to help your confidence on test day.
Do not doubt yourself and the hard work that you’ve put into studying. Be confident in the hours that you logged and all of the practice essays and PTs that you completed. Claim your success. Know that you can pass! This positive mindset will keep you motivated throughout bar prep and help passing the exam become a reality.
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