How Not To Burn out When Studying For The Bar Exam
Studying for the bar is almost as hard as taking the actual exam. It is a daunting task that you put so much of your time and effort into. Applicants study dawn to dusk, pushing themselves to do more so that they will pass. It is no surprise that many applicants burn out when studying for the bar exam. Luckily, you can easily avoid this with the right steps.
How Not To Burn out When Studying For The Bar Exam
To avoid burnout when studying for the bar exam, you have to think of yourself as a studying machine. Yes, you will spend the majority of your time and energy studying but just like any machine, you need to take care of yourself to make sure you are performing your best.
Think of a car. There is a lot you have to do to keep it running. If you don’t fill it with gas, change its oil, fill its wiper fluid, or keep up its registration you aren’t going to get really far in it. The same is true for yourself as a study machine. You need to see to your physical and mental needs so you can go mile after mile. Or should we say outline after outline?
You almost guarantee yourself a burnout when you ignore your physical and mental needs when studying for the bar exam. Denying yourself sleep, food and even breaks is like driving with the check engine light on. You may be able to push a lot farther than you think but eventually, the car breaks down.
You don’t want to find yourself broken down on the side of the road to the bar exam and be unable to go any farther. Follow these four simple steps below to not burn out when studying for the bar exam and you can drive straight on through to the bar exam.
1. Take care of your body
It’s amazing how you can forget to take care of your body when you are studying non-stop. There are days where you forget to eat and nights where you don’t get to sleep. But this will practically guarantee you will burn out when studying for the bar exam.
There is a horrible misconception out there that the more hours you put into studying the better you will do. This is not true. It is a simple quality over quantity situation.
You are not going to do your best studying and you cannot retain information as well if you’re weak from hunger or drowsy from lack of sleep. Your brain is simply not going to do as well compared to someone who is well fed and well rested. Take care of your body and you can tackle your studying refreshed and taken care of and you can avoid burnout while studying for the bar exam.
If you are struggling to take care of your body while studying it may help you to work body care into your study schedule. If you forget to eat then add each meal to your to-do list. Typically go to bed late? Set a bedtime for yourself so you still get the recommended hours each night. Add walks, workouts, or stretches to your study schedule so you do not spend the whole day hunched over studying.
2. Take care of your mind
Your mind is taking a big hit when you studying for the bar exam. You spend each day trying to learn and retain mountains of information. It is no surprise that many applicants find themselves burning out when they study.
There are several ways to take care of your mental health when you study for the bar exam. You can keep a journal to write down everything that is stressing you out or you can lean on your support group to rant about everything that is stressing you out. Just do not keep it all bottled up.
You also may find that breathing exercises or your own calming rituals may help you feel less stressed. For example, you may find it helpful to start each morning with a hot cup of coffee and slowly sip with it. Appreciate its warmth and how it wakes you up. Think of your breathing and how grateful you are for your mind and what you have already learned. Then you can tackle the day.
Or you might prefer something more active to take care of your mental health. Maybe you prefer a boxing workout. Whatever works for you then do it! Don’t keep your stress and worries bottled up. Be in touch with the stress you are feeling and handle it in whatever ways work best for you.
3. Take breaks
It cannot be said enough: quality over quantity! You are not going to fail the bar exam just because you take breaks. In fact, taking breaks will help your studying and help prevent you from burning out before the bar exam.
Your breaks can be anywhere from 10 minutes to a whole day. Take however long you need to reset. After you take a break you come back to your bar exam studying fresh and ready to do more work instead of just dredging through.
If you realize you need a whole day then make sure you are prepared to take it. Try to get more work done the day before so you do not fall behind in your study plan. You could even do a little bit of studying in the morning before your day off.
For your day off, try to get away from where ever it is you study; be it your living room or law library. Get away from the books and reenter the world for a day. It will help remind you that there is life after the bar exam and give you something to look forward to at the end of it. You will get a much-needed break and maybe even some new motivation to get through the grind and not burn out when studying for the bar exam.
4. Treat yourself
Sometimes days are exceptionally hard when studying for the bar and a break out seems imminent. Go ahead and treat yourself. You definitely deserve it. You are studying for one of the hardest professional exams in the country and the hardest exam of your life. So if you are having a rough day – or you just need the pick me up! – then go ahead and treat yourself.
Order takeout, rent a movie, go shopping, or whatever way you chose to treat yourself. Enjoy the break and you’ll be able to return to your studies later without suffering from a burnout. Good luck!
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