Are You Freaking Out About the Bar Exam Now That It’s July?
Are You Freaking Out About the Bar Exam Now That It’s July?: As the calendar turns from June to July, you’ve probably realized that the bar exam is now less than a month away. You’re also probably freaking out about it. You might feel like you’ve accomplished absolutely nothing, or that there is still way too much to do. You’ll wish you could just stop time, even for a short while, just to get a break.
But instead of wasting energy by freaking out over the bar exam, now is the time to step back and think about how far you’ve come. It is also time to reevaluate your study plan to make sure that the next few weeks are as productive as possible. In this post, we tell you some steps to take now that it is July.
Are You Freaking Out About the Bar Exam Now That It’s July?
Just because it is now July, doesn’t mean the test is tomorrow! There is still plenty of time for you to learn the things that you don’t know yet. If you feel like your performance thus far isn’t where you want it to be, that’s okay! You still have a few weeks to improve. The key is understanding how best to use your remaining time. So if you’re freaking out about the bar exam now that it is July, here are a few things you can do:
1. Think about how much progress you’ve made.
Back in April, did you really know this much about Torts? Secured Transactions? Evidence? Probably not as much as you do now! Had you ever been exposed to MBE questions? Written concise, to the point essays geared to your state’s law? Tried to absorb material on 25+ subjects all at the same time? Not likely. But now you have! You’ve spent countless hours trying to absorb all of this new material, and you’ve made it so far! The bar exam seems like such a daunting, impossible task, but you’ve already learned so much. All you have to do is keep up the good work for a few more weeks.
2. Review what strategies have worked the best.
Now that you’ve progressed so far in your bar prep, it’s time to evaluate what learning strategies are actually helping you the most. Are you absorbing more by listening to lectures? Or maybe by reviewing your outlines? Do you find that the personal homework your prep class is assigning you is helping? Are you doing enough practice problems?
If you have made 1000 flashcards and find that they don’t help you and that you don’t review them much anyway, stop using this as a study technique! Give up whatever is not helpful.
Take some time now to weed out the ineffective strategies so that you aren’t wasting your time these last few weeks moving forward. Utilize the activities that are benefiting you the most. Each day is precious!
3. Identify your weakest subjects and/or topics.
If you are freaking out about the bar exam and how much you don’t know, try identifying what your weaknesses are and concentrate on those more in the next few weeks. A lot of prep courses have tools that can help you figure out your weak areas and then offer strategies to target them specifically. If there’s a subject you feel you know well, then don’t spend as much time on it as you would something else. The bar exam was not created equally – certain topics are emphasized a lot more than others. If you struggle in something that is highly tested, focus more of your energy there.
4. Update your study plan.
If you created a custom study plan back in May, it’s very likely that you’ll need to adjust it significantly. After you’ve identified your weaknesses, create a new study schedule that emphasizes those topics. You don’t necessarily need to stick to the same schedule you’ve had from the beginning. You need to adapt to what you have learned about yourself so far. A key goal of the next few weeks should be to not waste time. Revisit your study plan and your priorities. Add in more practice on tough and/or highly tested areas. Eliminate anything that is ineffective.
If you are wondering how to create an effective study plan at this point in your bar prep, please see this post.
5. Don’t panic and overwork yourself.
It’s perfectly understandable that you’re freaking out about the bar exam at this point. But the worst thing you can do is panic and start working yourself too hard. It is just as important as ever for your body to be getting the rest and nourishment it needs. Continue to take breaks, eat good meals, and get a decent amount of sleep. If you panic and feel like you need to be pulling all-nighters from now until the bar, your brain will never make it that far. Taking care of yourself is critical. Know your limits, and don’t exceed them just because the test is coming closer. Create a plan and stick to it.
The day of the bar exam is going to come – unfortunately there is nothing you can do to stop it. What you can do is make the best possible use of your time from now until then. If find yourself freaking out: stop. Take a few breaths. Take a short break, even. Come back refreshed and ready to work. You can make it!
Laura Sigler, a JD Advising bar exam essay grader, who graduated cum laude from Wayne State University Law School wrote this post.
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