How To Avoid Procrastination When Studying For The Bar
Take a minute and be honest with yourself: are you a procrastinator? In law school, did you end up cramming for exams at the last minute? If these questions ring true for you, follow these tips on how to avoid procrastination when studying for the bar exam. And remember, if you pass, you won’t have to study anymore!
How To Avoid Procrastination When Studying For The Bar
1. Follow a schedule
It’s much easier to avoid procrastination when studying for the bar if you know when and for how long you need to be studying. Many commercial bar exam courses will provide you with some guidelines around when to begin studying and how long things will take you. Make sure you give yourself enough time to complete the materials but not so long that you forget what you learned at the beginning. Beyond that, bar exam courses don’t tell you when to do anything else. We think things like eating meals, seeing friends, exercising, and sleeping are just as important! Here are some of our tips for creating a bar exam study schedule.
Having set study times and set non-study times helps keep those parts of your life separate. For example, tell yourself that you won’t be able to hang out with friends on the weekend unless you complete the bar prep module you have scheduled for the week. Creating a calendar to know when you’re falling behind, combined with a little discipline, is a must if you want to avoid procrastination when studying for the bar.
2. Focus on “active” studying
We think it’s possible to procrastinate even when you are “studying”. We have all done it. You tell yourself you’re going to study for an hour, and you end up watching Quimbee videos and reading one case while intermittently checking social media. There’s nothing wrong with watching helpful videos or reading a case, but they can’t be your only study tactics. These tactics are fairly passive, and at some point, if you want to avoid procrastination when studying for the bar you need to switch to active studying.
“Active” studying might look like taking a practice or diagnostic exam. It might mean trying to memorize an outline or writing down why you got a multiple choice answer wrong. These are the types of practices that make students actually remember the material they are learning. Ask yourself if the study habits you’re practicing are actually helpful. If they aren’t, you’re just wasting time that you could be putting toward improving your bar exam skills. Passive studying is much easier, but in the end, it can be just another form of procrastination.
3. Take time to memorize the rules
Memorizing the rules for the bar exam is not only effective it is necessary. Check out these tips for how to memorize your bar exam outlines. Learning the rules will help you issue spot essay topics; know the nuances of laws to answer multiple-choice questions correctly; write rule statements that will get you points; and will help you write correct analyses and conclusions. Basically, if you are going to procrastinate all the rest of your bar prep, don’t skip memorizing the rules!
4. Don’t join a study group (if you’re prone to procrastination)
Most of the time study groups aren’t very efficient and can lead to even more procrastination. If you never found study groups to be productive in law school, they definitely won’t be while studying for the bar exam. Relying on others can add unpredictability to your bar exam study schedule. If you want to avoid procrastination when studying for the bar exam, try to focus on individual studying unless you face a problem understanding a concept. Only having to rely on yourself eliminates increased temptation to talk to someone else or think about non-bar related things!
A better idea might be to continue to self-study before coming together with just one other person to talk through concepts that you’re still unsure of after trying to work them out on your own!
5. Set boundaries with yourself and others
Setting boundaries with yourself and others is crucial to avoid procrastination when studying for the bar exam. For example, tell yourself that while you’re studying you won’t have your phone on. This is a boundary you can set with yourself that will help you stay focused and complete your studying on time. Do you ever procrastinate by doing things that are productive but are otherwise off-task? Tell yourself that you won’t apply for jobs, pay your bills, or respond to emails while you’re studying for the bar. Keep yourself accountable! Separate bar prep time from the rest of your life, and you’ll be able to avoid procrastination.
Finally, tell your friends and family when you’ll be studying! Make sure you convey to them how important it is that you avoid procrastination while studying for the bar. If you do this, they won’t try to bother you (hopefully) in the middle of your study session and will understand if you don’t respond to their text right away. Setting boundaries with others also means you’ll have a group of people that are supporting you and your goal of passing the bar.
It’s natural to seek out distractions from something you don’t want to do, but try to follow these tips to actively avoid procrastinating while studying for the bar!
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