Is A Bar Exam Study Group A Good Idea?
There are many ways to prepare for the bar exam, each of which has their benefits and drawbacks. One route you can take is forming a bar exam study group with others who are preparing for the same exam as you. While the sharing of information is certainly appealing, you need to be aware of all of the pros and cons that come with a bar exam study group. In this post, we discuss what you can gain by working with a bar exam study group, but also what you risk losing as well.
Is A Bar Exam Study Group A Good Idea?
There are many complex issues to work through on the bar exam. Sometimes there will be problems that you just don’t understand. Working with a bar exam study group allows you to combine all of your individual skills to work through questions you may not be able to solve on your own. Each person in a bar exam study group brings something unique to the table. Thus, when working as a group, everyone can contribute their own knowledge to help come up with the best possible solution.
Getting through bar prep is no easy feat, both mentally and physically. It’s easy to feel discouraged or question if you can see this through to the end. The good news is that pretty much every bar exam taker feels this way. When you join a bar exam study group, you can motivate each other to keep pushing on when things get hard. It is very important to have a good support system surrounding you when preparing for the exam. A bar exam study group is a built-in collection of people that know what you are going through and can help you through the rough patches. Feeling this encouragement can be a great boost to your mental state and your confidence!
Learning out loud
Everyone learns materially differently. Some people find that they understand concepts better when they hear them out loud. Their memorization techniques involve having someone quiz them out loud. When you have a bar exam study group, this is an excellent time to utilize auditory learning techniques! You will likely talk through concepts verbally with each other. Sometimes, hearing someone else explain it will help you grasp it better. Your bar exam study group members will also be excellent quiz partners if you want to work on your memorization. Some people find that they learn much better when working with others like this.
When you get a group of people together in one place, the conversation will inevitably turn into multiple smaller side conversations. A few of you will be talking about one thing, a few about another, and some may even be talking about topics having nothing to do with the bar. This can be very distracting if you are trying to focus on one thing. You might be attempting to work through a torts problem while others are discussing contracts and others property, or maybe even the weather. This can certainly interfere with your concentration. If you are someone who is easily distracted and has a hard time staying on track, a bar exam study group may not be for you.
Odd one out
As mentioned above, a bar exam study group can be a great way to solve problems by combining people with different skill sets. However, you also run the risk of being the only one who doesn’t understand something. This can be a discouraging feeling, and actually be very harmful to your progress. You may start to doubt yourself and what you know, when in reality everyone learns at a different pace. You don’t have to know absolutely everything everyone else does. It is guaranteed that you will understand some concepts others do not. That is just the nature of the bar exam. But it can be detrimental if you are continuously confronted by people who are ahead of you in their studies. You don’t want this feeling of inferiority to affect you and cause a setback.
Sacrificing what you need
Similar to the last point, your needs are certainly going to be different than the others. If everyone else in your bar exam study group wants to work on a concept you already understand, you will likely get outvoted. You might then feel that you wasted the time spent with your group since you could have worked on what you actually struggle with. Majority typically rules in a bar exam study group when deciding what to go over, and it can be difficult when you are in the minority. There is definitely a place for selfishness in bar exam preparation (you need to make sure YOU pass), so be very conscious of what you need to do to be ready for exam day.
LAURA SIGLER, WHO GRADUATED MAGNA CUM LAUDE FROM WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL, IS A JD ADVISING LEGAL RESEARCHER AND ESSAY GRADER.
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