Here’s a question that we hear many law students ask around this time of year: should I change my study habits for the bar exam?
We understand why this question might cross your mind:
- The bar exam is unlike any other test you’ve taken, so it’s natural to feel like you may need to prepare for it differently.
- You’ve probably overheard some of your classmates explaining how they plan to study -- and you may feel like you’re missing out on some big secret if you don’t do it too.
- The pressure to pass can be intense, and it’s tempting to try something that might give you an advantage.
But while it may be tempting to jettison some old habits for new ones, here’s the most important piece of advice we can give: do what feels most comfortable for you. By now, you’ve been studying for tests for at least nineteen years of your life -- so we’re pretty sure you have a good understanding of the fundamental habits that work best for you.
If you’re someone who studies better alone, then don’t join a study group. If you study better in the morning, then don’t stay up all night doing practice questions. If you know you start to lose steam after a few hours of studying, then build in breaks and don’t try to muscle through marathon study sessions. Making drastic changes to any of your habits during this time period--whether they’re study, personal, or otherwise -- is not recommended.
With that said, here’s an important distinction: we do think it can be very valuable to hear stories, tips, and advice from previous, successful test takers. Small tips and tricks here and there certainly can help you refine your approach, particularly when it comes to how to take the bar exam, and how to make it through ten straight weeks of studying. Every successful exam-taker was the recipient of at least one tip or another that helped get them through the end of February.
So to summarize: Sage wisdom from successful takers can be quite helpful, but at the end of the day stick to what you know and move forward with the confidence that you know what you’re doing -- because you do.