A few months out from the bar exam, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to decide when and how to start studying. We’ve come up with a few helpful pointers to get you motivated and make sure your bar prep starts out on the right foot!
1. Pat yourself on the back
Before you start studying, it’s important to take a moment to recognize the hard work you put in to get to this point. Celebrate your accomplishments! If you just finished law school, take the time to enjoy your graduation festivities, and be sure to thank your friends and family for supporting you during the last few years.
2. Take a deep breath
Bar prep is a marathon, not a sprint. One of the best tools you can use to succeed (other than AdaptiBar, of course) is mindfulness. Download a meditation app or make a playlist of guided meditations. Get into a habit of taking 30 minutes every day to clear your mind before the frenzy of studying sets in. If meditation isn’t your jam, doing puzzles, knitting, cooking, yoga, or any other activity that keeps your brain and hands busy is also great for a reset.
3. Lace up those gym shoes
Getting into a good exercise routine before bar prep starts can be essential. Whether you’re a workout junkie or more of a couch potato, getting up and moving multiple times during the day is healthy for your body and mind. Even if it’s just a walk around the block, get those habits started now and keep them going through June and July.
4. Scope out a study hot spot
Even if you’re enrolled in a bar prep program with live lectures, find a welcoming place to study and review. Your law school library could be a good place, but some people prefer the hustle and bustle of a local coffee shop. Try to avoid studying in places that are too comfortable, or else you might fall asleep trying to learn the elements of false imprisonment.
5. Go on a shopping spree
No, not for clothes… Think Office Depot, not Nordstrom. While most bar prep can be done online or on your computer, physically taking notes and highlighting can help reinforce concepts. Spring for pens and highlighters you like using, since you’re going to be looking at them all summer. Different colors are key. Sticky notes to mark your place in outline books, index cards to make flashcards, and number 2 pencils also can’t hurt! Don’t forget to buy a big water bottle to hydrate throughout the day as well. Check out list Lawyer Approved School Supplies, which can also be handy for bar prep.
6. Do something just for you
While bar prep doesn’t have to be completely joyless, you won’t have as much free time to yourself as you’re probably used to. Have a fun day full of activities you enjoy! Go to the beach, have a movie marathon, or roller skate around the park. Maybe even have a spa day, or go on a short trip to see friends or family. Anything that makes you feel refreshed and ready to study is fair game.
7. Set reasonable boundaries for friends and loved ones
No matter how much you prepare beforehand, studying for the bar will be mentally and physically draining. You’re going to need your friends and loved ones to support you in your bar prep journey now more than ever. Before you start studying, it might be helpful to have a quick chat with your support system about how you will be busy and likely stressed, and might not be able to see them as much as you’d like.
8. Make some plans for after the bar exam
When you’re in the thick of studying, having your eyes on the prize can help you power through another day of practice questions. If you’re planning on taking a post-bar trip, book your tickets and hotels now so you have something to look forward to. If you’re staying home, plan a post-bar bash or bar crawl, or even schedule a staycation at a local hotel for a night.
Taking some time to think ahead about your bar prep plans and daily schedule will help you feel less overwhelmed on the first day of class. Getting yourself in the right mindset will make the adjustment easier. Although bar prep is daunting, try to keep perspective. It’s only two months until all your hard work pays off!