Four Effective Bar Exam Study Habits
While there is no perfect way to study for the bar exam, there are certainly ways that help your chances of passing – and ways that hinder your chances. Having effective bar exam study habits is the best way to ensure you are as prepared as possible for the bar! In this post, we go over four bar exam study habits that will ensure you are studying effectively for the bar exam. Try to work on incorporating these habits and strategies into your bar prep early on so you are making the most of your study time!
Four Effective Bar Exam Study Habits
1. Be flexible with your schedule.
It is very tempting to want to rigidly follow your study schedule all the way through bar prep, especially in a commercial course. However, one of the most beneficial bar exam study habits is to be flexible with your schedule as you work through the course. If you find that a certain technique is not helpful to you (maybe AMPs or pre-reading dozens of pages before lecture), then don’t spend as much time on those tasks! If you find yourself really struggling with a particular subject, add in some extra review time for this subject toward the end of your prep. And maybe spend a little less time reviewing a subject you’ve mastered.
Successfully completing at least 75% of your course is not what’s going to ensure you pass the bar exam. It is studying smart and utilizing effective bar exam study habits, one of which is to modify your schedule as you learn what is working and what isn’t!
2. Try different study techniques.
There are many different ways to learn the material. One effective bar exam study habit is to utilize many of them! Every study strategy has its own advantages, and varying your techniques allows you to benefit in different ways. When working on your memorization, experiment with different methods. One technique is to break your outline into chunks, memorize as much of a chunk as you can, and then try to re-write that chunk. Another technique is to have a friend or family member quiz you. If you’re an auditory learner, you might even highly benefit from joining a study group to talk through concepts and problems. Varying up your strategies will help you figure out what way you learn best and hopefully prevent your day-to-day studying from becoming boring.
You also want to vary how you approach practice problems. Some of your time should be spent working through MBE questions and essays slowly and methodically. This is an excellent bar exam study habit. When you do this, you aren’t concerned about timing. Rather, you want to make sure you can identify the relevant rule after reading the fact pattern, and then try to answer the question before you read the answer choices. This allows you to test how much of the law you have memorized. It also tests your ability to apply the law to the facts. But don’t ignore timing all together! Set aside some study time to work on improving your speed (without suffering in accuracy). Make sure you slowly build up to bar exam standards. You don’t have to be able to answer 100 MBE questions in 3 hours right away! Start with smaller chunks and master your ability to finish them on time. Then, gradually increase the number of questions you do at one time! This strategy is one of the most essential bar exam habits to utilize!
3. Track why you’re getting answers wrong.
One of our favorite bar exam study habits is to make a list of why you are getting questions wrong. After you complete an MBE question, evaluate your performance on it. If you got it wrong, ask yourself why. Didn’t know the law? Write the correct rule down on your list. If you made a mechanical error like rushing or overconfidence, write that down too. Even if you do something like miss a fact in the fact pattern, add it to the list. This allows you to identify patterns in what your weaknesses may be. If you keep making the same mistakes, then you know you need to spend extra time working to correct them. By the end of your bar prep, you’ll have a document with tons of complicated rules all in one place! This becomes a great last-minute study tool
4. Take breaks.
The last of our effective bar exam study habits is to make sure you take breaks while you study. If you keep overloading your brain non-stop with information, you will quickly get start and your ability to process the information will be compromised. You need to take care of your mind and body throughout bar prep to keep yourself in peak condition by test day. Take occasional breaks throughout the day so that the material can settle into your memory. And don’t be afraid to take a larger break once a week, perhaps even taking an entire day off! Your body needs this time off. Thus, if you build breaks into your study schedule, you can make sure you still have a plan to get through all of the information while making sure you are taking care of yourself!
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