The bar exam tests many subjects and skills so simply putting in 40-60 hours a week is not enough. You need to make progress every day and every week. There is no playing catch up so before you begin full-time bar study, take some time to plan ahead. Start with the commercial bar prep schedule and develop a study plan that is both comprehensive and realistic. As you do this, keep in mind the following:
- Personalize your schedule. Write out your schedule and chart what you want to do each day. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. You know what you are capable of doing and that’s what matters. Use the schedule to motivate you- a visual reminder of everything you’ve done. You should never wake up and think, “What am I going to do today?”
- Protect your productive time. Avoid time sucks. You know what I’m talking about- email, social media, texting. You intend to spend 5 minutes on Snapchat but 30 minutes later you are still there. One text or tweet might take a few seconds but they add up to a lot of wasted time. Disconnect when you are studying and don’t re-connect until you are finished doing what you need to do. Tell family and friends you are not available. If they insist on being able to contact you, put your phone in another room and tell them they may call if it is an absolute emergency (FYI- a celebrity having a baby does not fall into this category).
- Educate your friends and family: Friends and family love and support you but they might not understand why you are studying so much. When someone helpfully says, “you’re smart, you’ll pass,” don’t scream at them or roll your eyes. Thank them for their support and respectfully and nicely educate them on the process. You want these folks around after the bar exam so don’t push them away now.
Time management is about being accountable for your time. No commercial bar prep schedule can make you do the work. If you want to pass the bar exam, commit to the process. It might be hard at times, but you have to push through and keep moving forward. One step is better than none.