Should I Take Days Off During Bar Exam Prep?
At critical points during the study period, you should schedule in study breaks. It is important to maintain consistent energy levels throughout your bar exam studies. Therefore, it is highly recommended to take days off even if you feel like it is counterproductive. Check out our post on why we think it’s important for you to take study breaks to be successful! In fact, taking a day off to reset will help you rest your brain and allow all the information you’ve learned to soak in. This way you can return to your studies refreshed and with a newfound perspective! Here are 5 tips to help you make the most of your day off during bar exam prep!
Should I Take Days Off During Bar Exam Prep?
1. Pick a Date
Before you begin bar prep, take time to schedule work days and free days. Scheduling to take a day off during bar prep is important because it will give you something to look forward to and remind you that you will get back to work straight after, thereby curtailing feelings of guilt. Click here for a sample daily study schedule. You can plan to meet with friends and family members so that both them and you can rest assured that you will see each other soon.
2. Be Flexible & Listen to Your Body
While scheduling your day off can provide you with clarity regarding your study plan, it is important to listen to your mind and body throughout the course of your studies. If you feel tired, depressed, and/or are seeing your grades drop significantly despite the amount of work you’ve been putting in, it is probably time to take a break. Do not ignore these signs! If your planned date isn’t for a few days or you need another day off, take it! Ignoring these signals can lead to burnout down the line. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
3. Pick a Task & Your Company
In order to make the best of your day off during bar prep, plan to partake in tasks that you have been looking forward to. You can keep a Pinterest board with places you want to go, webinars you want to attend, or shows you want to watch. Also, consider whether you want to spend the day with other people or if you would prefer some time alone. You may find it encouraging or stressful to hang out with someone else who is also studying for the bar exam, so do keep that in mind. Doing something you know you will enjoy makes for a more comfortable day off and will help ease any feelings of guilt that may crop up.
4. Don’t Overdo it
You may be tempted to reach for an extra shot of tequila, to binge-watch Netflix well into the night, or spend a little too much time at the gym. Be mindful and moderate with your activities on your day off. Take it easy, enjoy things in moderation, and squeeze in a nap if need be! Studying for the bar exam is all about balance. This will allow you to return to your studies refreshed, rather than hungover.
5. Limit the Urge to Reach for Study Materials
It was very difficult for me to take an entire day away from looking at anything bar-related. The truth is that even when you step away from your studies, you will still be thinking of them since you’ll have already been so immersed in them for so long. This is normal – your friends and family will get used to you talking about how that crack in the sidewalk reminds you of a hypothetical tort question. If you feel compelled to discuss bar exam prep or study on your days off, limit it to a small conversation with the person you are with, read a few flashcards or condensed outline, or listen to a podcast. Doing something other than sitting down with your regular study materials can help you still feel like you’re trying something new. If you don’t feel entirely comfortable taking a whole day off, take a half-day off and limit yourself to some light studying.
If you’re still not convinced, check out this post on why it’s beneficial to take breaks during bar prep and this account of a test taker who took off every Sunday from studying and still passed the exam with flying colors!
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