Most people who took the July 2016 bar exam started bar prep the week of May 13th or 23rd which meant 9-10 weeks of study time. Ask anyone who studied for that exam- it was a pretty intense period and did not feel like enough time. Let’s look at the calendar for the February 2017 bar exam which will be administered Feb 21-22/3. In order to have 9-10 weeks of study time you’d have to start the week of Dec 12th or 19th. For those of you still in school, this is probably right in the middle of your law school exams. However, you cannot wait until January 1. This would mean only 7 weeks of bar studying and that is just not enough time. The bar exam tests more subjects and topics than ever and your brain needs time to take in, process, learn the material as well time to practice the different skills tested.
Should you start studying for the bar exam now? Sort of.
What you can start doing now is planning and organizing. Your goal is to finish the semester as efficiently as possible so you can start bar prep either the week of December 19th or 26th. You will not have a lot of down time but you can take steps to make sure you aren’t exhausted. You might not have much control over your exam schedule, but you do have control when it comes to “paper” classes. Look at your calendar, talk with your professor(s), manage your time, and don’t wait until the last minute or deadline to submit your paper.
None of this sounds fun and you’d rather enjoy the holidays, celebrate graduation, hang out with family and friends. But you also want to pass the bar exam. Giving up 1-2 weeks of fun time now is a lot better alternative than failing the exam.