It’s that time of year again. The holiday season has arrived, which most likely means that your family and friends are preoccupied with staying warm in the winter weather, shopping for the best deals, decorating the house with white lights, and searching for the best sugar cookie recipes. This holiday season, however, you are preoccupied with something much bigger than all of that – studying for the bar exam.
It can be difficult to find time for holiday cheer when each day you are surrounded by bar prep, outlines, and other study materials. In fact, it’s not uncommon that the stress of studying can make the holidays seem a bit, well, uncheerful. That’s why AdaptiBar compiled this list of bar exam study tips for the holidays. Use them as a guide to enjoy the winter season, all while studying for the bar exam.
- Make a List
So you have your aunt’s annual white elephant party, your cousin’s winter bridal shower, your best friend’s holiday movie marathon, and your grandma’s holiday dinner – all within the same week of December. What do you do to ensure that you dedicate enough time to studying? Make a list of all the events that you have scheduled for the holiday season, taking note of the dates and times they occur. Then, rank them in order of importance. For example, maybe you’ve been counting down the days until grandma’s dinner, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you missed your aunt’s white elephant party. Once you have completed this step, commit to attending the top 5 events on your list, reserving the other days to study. Ultimately, prioritizing the events in your schedule will provide you with the perfect balance of study time and holiday fun.
- Stress Less
Telling a bar examinee not to stress is close to impossible. Thankfully, however, there are ways that upcoming examinees can stress less, especially during the holiday season. As tempting as it may be to increase your intake of hot chocolate, cookies, and candy during the winter months, doing so will only leave you feeling tired, sluggish, and anxious. This is why it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle while studying for the bar exam, regardless of the holidays. Stick to meals that are light in carbohydrates and full of protein, fruits, and vegetables. Also make sure that you are fitting in between 20 and 30 minutes of exercise at least three days a week, as doing so has been scientifically proven to improve mood, energy level, and sleep. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a sweet treat every once in a while. Just be sure that it doesn’t become a holiday habit!
- Be Mentally Present
Have you ever found yourself thinking of studying while doing something else, for example grocery shopping, driving the car, or spending time with friends? These situations are common examples of when upcoming bar examinees are physically present in a moment, but not mentally present. As difficult as it may be, remind yourself to be mentally present throughout each day, no matter where you are. For example, when you are studying, be fully committed to the bar exam. Similarly, when you are at an event, avoid making mental ‘to-do’ checklists and take that time to fully enjoy what that event has to offer. Above all, remember that taking some time off to enjoy the holidays won’t be what separates you from passing or failing the bar exam.
- Have a Routine
Even though the holiday season is well-known for being the most wonderful time of the year, it can also be the most chaotic. That being said, it is important to take precautions to ensure that your busy schedule does not interfere with your studying. Make each day as routine as possible to begin forming positive holiday study habits. This could mean setting your alarm for the same time each morning, or starting your bar prep with a cup of coffee in hand at 9a.m. each day. Ultimately, developing and dedicating time to follow through on your personalized study routine will reduce stress by ensuring that studying remains a top priority for the holiday season.
- Put Yourself First
It may feel a bit selfish to focus on yourself during the holidays, but it’s important to remember that passing the bar exam requires complete dedication to your long-term goals. If you haven’t already, explain your commitment to the bar exam to your family and friends, notifying them about how bar prep may affect your availability this year. Chances are, they will be more than understanding of your busy schedule and willing to help out in any way. Just as well, it’s important to be honest with yourself about when you need to study a subtopic or subject more, and when it may be time to take a break. By prioritizing your overall health and putting yourself first this year, you will not only be setting yourself up for a holiday season full of enjoyment, but bar exam success as well.
Have you ever heard that it’s the little things that count? Here are 5 small things that you can do to add some extra holiday cheer to your busy schedule!
- Add a dash of cinnamon or hazelnut to your morning coffee- it smells just as good as it tastes!
- Swap your typical on-the-go playlist for your favorite holiday music. Mariah Carey, anyone?
- Light a sugar cookie or gingerbread-scented candle while you’re studying – it’s almost as good as making them, right?
- Get in the spirit of giving. From holding the door open for a stranger to donating food or clothes, it doesn’t take long to spread some holiday cheer. Plus, it’s sure to brighten your day as well!
- Stay up one night after studying to watch your favorite holiday movie with family and friends. Don’t forget the warm blankets and hot chocolate!