Studying for the bar exam is not like law school.
By your third year of law school, you know the drill for finals. You’re able to mostly take it easy during the semester and save a lot of the heavy lifting for the last few weeks before finals.
Let us be clear: this will not work for the bar exam.
There are two main changes you need to make in both your practice and mindset when adjusting to bar prep.
1. Study longer and stronger.
Just one look at any bar review course’s study schedule should tell you that right away. Each day consists of about 10-12 hours of videos, review, flashcards, practice questions, etc. And on top of all that, it’s usually a 6- or 7-day study week.
In other words, studying for the bar exam, and specifically preparing for the MBE, is not like law school. It’s best to think about it like a 10-12 week finals period. As such, you’ll need more determination and stamina than you did studying for your law school finals.
2. You need to take better care of yourself.
The stress you’ll experience studying for the bar exam is also different than the law school finals stress. It lasts longer and, frankly, the stakes are higher.
Rather than the short-lived stress of law school, which usually centers around a deadline or the few weeks leading finals, the bar exam presents you with a constant stress level that rises gradually.
As such, it’s critical that you keep up on your self-care by creating schedules and setting aside time for sleep, rest, and exercise. This will help you prevent burnout as you try to maintain the intense study schedule needed to pass the bar exam.
It may sound trite, but if you talk to people who failed the bar exam, it's surprising how many went wrong in their study plan by failing to allow for balance. They didn't allow themselves to take a step back and rejuvenate, which let bad study habits compound.
Don't let this happen to you.