When To Stop Studying For The Bar Exam
There is so little time and so much at stake. When your bar prep course is presenting you with a tremendous amount of material to cover in a short amount of time, it can be hard to know when to stop studying. That’s why we created these 5 foolproof ways to help you know when to stop studying for the bar exam.
When To Stop Studying For The Bar Exam
1. Avoid a Sudden Full Stop
You know that feeling you get when the car abruptly stops, and your body is jerked all over the place? That is the feeling you want to avoid with bar prep. It is true that that the amount you are studying can, will, and should change over the course of your bar prep. Although it is important to give yourself time to rest and digest the material in the days and hours leading up to the exam, it is also important to know that you do not need to make a full stop.
Instead of stopping cold turkey one day, focus on gently phasing out of active study mode. Focus on retaining what you have already learned towards the end, instead of learning new material every day. In other words, focus on switching to a more passive method of studying towards the end of your course.
2. Know When to Stop
If you have consistently been reading the same legal rules over and over again, had a tutor or study partner explain them to you, and you still can’t grasp them, don’t beat yourself up. Focus your energies elsewhere. Time is precious when studying for the bar exam. When you find yourself returning to the same concept over and over again to little avail, it is likely interfering with your ability to reinforce other topics and learn new ones. It is essential to move on at this point. That is not to say you will never look at this material again, but do not make it a priority. Once you have a chance to step away from the material and return to it with a more clear head, you may find that it comes back to you when you’re calmly reading over your outlines another day. And if it doesn’t, that’s okay too.
3. Phase It Out
As mentioned earlier, the idea of a complete stop when studying for the bar exam can be unrealistic and difficult for the overachiever that lives in all of us. Instead, focus on phasing your studies out. Your study approach should become more strategic and allow you to make the most of the time you have left. The following schedule can be used as a guideline:
1-2 Weeks Out
Use this time to:
(1) triage your problems areas,
(2) reinforce your strong points, and
(3) skim anything you have not or will not be able to study in-depth.
Think of triaging as diagnosing and treating your problem areas. Find out where and why you are struggling with a particular area or question (especially if it is one that comes up more frequently) and go from there! Reinforcing your strong points can include reading through outlines or simply adding a new dimension to your understanding thereof, for example by listening to a constitutional law podcast. Lastly, skimming includes becoming familiar with the most commonly tested topics and their vocabulary.
5 Days Out
At this point, you should have skimmed areas where you weren’t able to fully dedicate your time and shift to focusing on reinforcing what you have learned. You don’t want to forget something or mix it up with something else right before the exam. It’s easier to maintain it information you’ve already got down, so make you use it so you don’t lose it!
Relax and take a day off because you absolutely have got this. Seriously. Spend a few minutes going over your outlines the night before or morning of but that is absolutely it! Your time is best used making sure you are well fed and energized. Click here for more information on how to spend the day before the bar exam.
Get some rest and good luck!
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