Studying for the Texas Bar exam was by far the worst experience of my life. Taking three months to study for a multiple day exam to test my knowledge of the law was just downright atrocious. My father and brother are both dentists and they said what lawyers have to do to be licensed is 100 times worse than that of a doctor or dentist. With that introduction, here are some of my tips for those who are about to take the Bar exam.
First and foremost, the bar exam is a marathon and not a sprint. You are definitely going to have your good days and not so good days. One or two bad days doesn’t mean your studying is going down the tube. You need to keep perspective and realize there will be some bumps in the road. It is okay if you miss a session of studying here or there or take a sick day to rejuvenate your body and mind.
A few bumps in the road does not mean you are going to fail the Bar exam. The reason you do all those MBE questions and practice essays are to practice and get better. If some practice doesn’t go so well, learn from it and apply it to future questions. Then the mistakes aren’t a waste of time and you can learn from the past.
One of the biggest things to remember is to take a break from studying. Sometimes you do worse on practice exams because you are exhausted and fatigued. I would suggest taking a break during the day to get some fresh air, see a summer movie, or get a bite to eat with a friend or family member. It is also important not to study for more than three hour segments since I have found anything over that in one stretch is starting to diminish your effectiveness.
If I can’t convince you to take a small break while studying, at least take some time to breathe. If you are into mediation or yoga, take a minute and stretch or lie down and ponder something other than the Bar exam. This will calm your nerves, make you feel a little rejuvenated, and allow you to get back to studying effectively.
The key with the Bar exam is to not panic. We all have days where we feel overwhelmed and that there is no way we can do this. Becoming anxious or stressed out is not something you want to deal with day in and day out. Another piece of advice is to make sure to find someone or something that can help you calm down in these moments of weakness so that you can get back to studying.
Now, if the bad results keep occurring over and over, that may be a sign that something is wrong with your Bar study approach. This is when you need to switch up what you are doing, such as studying at different times, taking more breaks, and finding a place to block out all other distractions.