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Bar Prep Planning Guide: Common Bar Exam Study Mistakes to Avoid
Always remember one thing at the outset: there is no one correct way to study for the bar exam. All students are different in the way they best learn, study, and prepare. However, there some common bar study traps you want to avoid. Let’s talk about mistakes you want to avoid while studying for the bar exam.
Not making your own personalized study schedule.
Commercial bar review courses are important, but they’re a one-size-fits-all approach to bar study. The key to being successful on the bar exam is to constantly EVALUATE and ADJUST. You need to evaluate your progress and adjust your schedule to incorporate what you need to work on based on your performance. So, if you need to do more evidence MBE questions and studying, you should incorporate that into your schedule without your course telling you to do so. Your goal isn’t just to complete a course – your goals are to master the material and increase your performance in order to pass the bar exam.
Not practicing questions in a timed, test-like environment.
Many students who are unsuccessful on the bar exam neglected practicing questions in a timed, test-like environment. You have to incorporate timed practice into your studying. What exactly does this mean? You need to take timed practice MBE questions, write out essays fully in a timed setting, and write out performance tests fully in a timed setting. Avoid the urge to just only outline and issue spot essay and MPTs. You want to be able to maximize the most amount of points as possible, and that entails being able to finish the exam on exam day.
Waiting until the final couple of weeks to memorize.
Many students do not build memorization into their study schedules until the very end of bar preparation. This is a mistake, because you are cramming for the exam in this way. When you cram, it makes rule recall a lot more difficult on exam day. So, right in your first week, schedule time to memorize. You can devote 30 minutes per day, or one hour per day, or a set amount of hours per week to memorize. Exposing yourself to material at shorter intervals over a longer period of time is a much more effective way to remember the material and recall it on exam day.
Neglecting your weak areas.
Bar study can sometimes feel very defeating, especially when you’re struggling with a particular topic or portion of the exam. However, you have to tackle your weak areas head on to turn them into strengths. Do not avoid what makes you uncomfortable or what you struggle with. Instead, devote a significant amount of time to these areas so you strengthen them.
Not engaging in self-care.
Finally, you have to know when to step away. You cannot pour from an empty cup. You have to remember to take care of yourself during this entire process. Take breaks. Schedule activities you enjoy. Exercise. Do not isolate yourself and keep in contact with your support system. If you take care of yourself throughout bar study, you’ll be the best version of yourself when it’s time to take the exam.
Use these tips when you are making your bar prep plan. Make your own schedule, plan time for memorization and timed practice, focus on your weak areas, and take care of your body and mind. Put yourself in the best position to take this exam!