My Awesome Tips For Surviving Bar Prep

So this is my third week of bar prep…which of course means I am now a bar prep pro lol. I figured I would share some of my tips for surviving bar prep.

1. You have to find a schedule that works for you. I cannot stress how important this is. Don’t worry about everyone else’s schedule. There will be some people that swear they study 16 hours a day with no breaks. One, I highly doubt that lol and two, I think they are really just trying to psyche other people out and make themselves feel like they are accomplishing something. I do not know about you, but if I tried studying 16 hours straight I would not retain half of the stuff I was studying. If you are a morning person, get up early in the morning and study something, that way when 5pm rolls around, you can call it a day. If you are a night person…well I will not say only study at night because you will likely have class in the morning and the Bar Exam is during the day, but maybe save the MBEs for later in the day when you will be more apt to retain what you review. If you have never used flashcards to study for your tests in law school, do not start now. They take a lot of time to make and they may not do you any good.

2. Go to the class if you can. The Desertion reminded me of this so I definitely wanted to make sure I mentioned this. Make sure to go to the in person classes if you can. I know it is a pain to drag yourself out of bed and go to the classes, but I think it will help you better focus there. I know for myself, I am less likely to zone out if I am sitting in the class surrounded by other people and sitting in front of someone giving me a lecture.

3. You have to make sure to take care of yourself. I know the Bar Exam is a serious test. If you do not pass it, you cannot practice law. However, if you run yourself ragged before the exam or are too sick to take the exam come exam day, it will not do you any good. Make sure to get some sleep and eat something besides fast food all the time. I know there will be some days where you have to burn the midnight oil, but if you are constantly only getting three hours of sleep, you need to go back and tweak your schedule. You do not want to spend two months studying just to oversleep on exam day because you were too tired and did not hear your alarm.

4. Reward yourself after you have been working hard. I love gifts…I love to give them and I love to receive them. I decided to reward myself today with a piece of new jewelry because I had been sticking with my schedule and I had been doing well on my MBEs. Now, I am not saying you need to go out and buy jewelry, but do something that makes you feel good every now and then. You would be surprised how much getting your favorite candy or going to see a movie can brighten up your mood.

5. Know when to push yourself and know when to take a break. We have all reached that point where we have re-read the same sentence of a fact pattern for about twenty minutes and we still cannot remember what we just read. I take that as a sign that my brain is telling me to take a break. At that point you are just spinning your wheels and probably making yourself frustrated. Go ahead and take a 10 or 15 minute break. Let your mind relax and then get back to it. However, a few words of caution, especially when it comes to the MBEs. You do need to push yourself when it comes to completing a set. On test day, you will have to do 100 MBEs in the morning and 100 MBEs in the afternoon. By the end of the morning, you will be mentally exhausted, so you need to start training your brain to handle that kind of mental exertion. Start off with a small number, I would say 30-50 MBE questions per set and then work your way up to 100. If you find yourself re-reading a fact pattern because you are not retaining the information, I would first try powering through it. If you still find yourself struggling, then I would take a break. You have to find that balance of pushing yourself and knowing when to step back.

6. Remember, it is just a test. I know this is kind of cliche, but it really is just a test. If you do not pass it on the first try, it will not be the end of the world. Do not get me wrong, it will suck, but you can survive it. There will be another opportunity to take the test. There have been plenty of people who did not pass the first time and they still turned out fine. At the end of the day, a client is not going to ask you how many times did it take you to pass the bar. All they really care about is whether or not you can help them with their legal issue.

Maybe There Is Some Method To This Madness Known As Bar Prep

So it’s about mid-way through the second week and I am finally starting to see a glimmer of light through the darkness known as Bar Prep. I have been doing a better job of completing my MBE questions and I can see positive progress…at least in the areas of Torts and Evidence. (The beast known as Contracts is still giving me a bit of a problem.) I can now understand the importance of doing so many MBE questions. While you learn, or I guess I should say refresh, the various MBE topics with the classes, the actual questions allow you to see some of intricacies that you may not learn or understand in class. It also allows you to see the different types of questions that can be asked on the MBE. That way, hopefully, none of the types of questions will blindside you when you finally get to the test. Is anyone else seeing some light?

Work and Study for the Bar Exam?!? No Way

So today I went into work for the last time until after the Bar. I just want to say I do not understand how anyone could work and study for the bar at the same time. I went to class today from about 9am-1pm and then basically worked from 1pm-5pm. I got home and I was exhausted. I can’t imagine working a full eight hour day and then watching a lecture for two or three hours and then doing MBE/essay questions and reviewing that day’s class.

All I could muster today was Barbri Amp lectures and reviewing today’s class notes. I am going to have to start doing better tomorrow. More specifically, I will need to do a better job of working through MBE questions. I know I need to build up my endurance for doing 100 many within one sitting. I will say though that I find the Barbri Amp really helpful. At least for me, it helps me better learn the material. I would definitely recommend giving it a try if you have that option.

Here’s hoping that I do a better job of staying schedule tomorrow. How is your Bar prep going?

Barbri Interactive Paced Program

So I finally have access to Barbri’s Bar study schedule and I am not 100% sure how I feel about it. For one thing, from what I have heard from others about the importance of completing MBE (MPQ according to Barbri) questions, the beginning of the study schedule does not account for enough of those types of questions. Looking at the schedule, it only has you doing about 18 questions a day. I will eventually need to be able to do 100 in one sitting. Plus it has been advised to me that you should do between 5000 and 6000 practice questions. Now this is not to say that Barbri will not increase the number of questions  required each day, but if I need to hit at least 5000, it does not look like Barbri is off to a great start. Also, from what I have heard, people feel like they can never complete the Barbri schedule day by day…like it is too much to do in one day. I really do not want to start a schedule that basically sets me up for failure lol. I think that I am going to stick with the schedule that my professor gave me and maybe incorporate some of the Barbri schedule into that schedule.

For instance, Barbri has a “Before Class” section which tells you what you should do be attending that day’s class. Since I already do not sleep that late, I think I will incorporate the “Before Class” information into my schedule from say 7:45am-8:45am, but only for subjects that I have not taken a class for. That way it will allow me to at least have an idea about that “new” subject.

For those of you who have tried to follow the Barbri schedule, did you find it doable? Did you always feel like you were trying to play catchup?

The Bar is Coming…the Bar is Coming

It’s that time…Bar prep will officially start for me on Tuesday. I am doing my best not to dread this because I know it is in inevitable, but I can’t help it. This one test will determine whether or not I will be able to practice law. (Disclaimer, I can retake the test…but no one wants to retake this test.)

Luckily I have an awesome mentor who has provided me with a Bar prep study schedule. I think my biggest challenge will be sticking with the schedule. I am a procrastinator to the nth degree and I can usually do pretty well with cramming. However, the Bar is not really something you can, or should, cram for. I know that I’m going to basically have to shut off my phone during study sessions so I won’t get distracted by texts, Facebook, Twitter, Google+…you get the picture. I can always find something else to do instead of study when I have my phone lol.

I have two basic study schedules: one for Kaplan and one for Barbri. My Kaplan study schedule starts on Tuesday and will consist of three separate lessons each day for six days on six separate subjects: (a) Torts; (b) Constitutional Law; and (c) Criminal Law and Procedure; (d) Evidence; (e) Contracts; and (f) Real Property. Each lesson is only about an hour and a half so it won’t be too taxing. This will be my last week of work so it will be nice to ease into Bar prep instead of jumping in full force while still at work. My Barbri study schedule is a little more time intensive. I will end up studying about 10 hours a day starting out and it will likely increase to 11 or 12 once I start doing more MBE questions. My Barbri schedule is basically this Monday through Friday: 9:00am-1:00pm – Barbri Class; 1:00pm-2:00pm – Lunch; 2:00pm-4:00pm – Do Practice MBE Questions; 4:00pm-6:00pm – Review All MBE Answers; 6:00pm-8:00pm – Review Class Notes, Do Old Essays, and Do Old MEE Essays. I will also do about three or four hours of studying on Saturdays and take Sundays off. I still need to find sometime to work out. I will likely end up going back to early morning work outs. Not looking forward to waking up early…ugh.

I may need to play around with my schedule after the first week of Barbri if I find I am having trouble keeping with the one I already have. For all my fellow Bar preppers, what does your study schedule look like? For those that have taken the Bar, any study tips?