Commercial bar prep has officially begun. First-time takers should be studying full-time for the next eight weeks. This is not optional. This is brain science. This is common sense. If you want to pass the test you have to prepare for it. This requires the right attitude. You can’t be so afraid of the bar exam that you avoid preparing but you can’t underestimate it either. You must respect the test.
The bar exam is often analogized to running a marathon. Running a marathon is hard and in order to do it you must respect that being able to run 26.2 miles takes dedication, hard work, and proper training. You will not win the marathon but you will finish it. The same is true for the bar exam. You are not ready today but you will be. It won’t be easy, but you can do it if you work hard and train properly.
Let me clarify what I mean by hard work and proper training:
- You have to work hard from day one, not just the last few weeks.
- You only get a break when you’ve earned it.
- Proper training means doing things you don’t want to do.
- Because you can’t predict what might happen, you train for anything and everything
Just as you would not train for a marathon trying to do as little as possible or think your natural talent will get you through, don’t prepare for the bar exam thinking “All I have to do is pass, I don’t need an A. I don’t want to over-study,” or “I’m a good test-taker. I don’t need to practice that much.”
On the other hand, you can’t be so scared of what’s ahead that you avoid proper training. If you know the marathon has some big hills, you train for them. Hills are a challenge for even the best runners but not preparing for what’s ahead will make those hills feel like mountains. The bar exam has hills, too. Your hill might be a particular subject, it might be multiple choice, or maybe it’s self-confidence. Whatever your “hill,” you cannot run around it.
Respecting the bar exam is finding the balance between being cocky and being scared. It means putting in time and effort even when it’s hard. When you respect the test you accept that you are imperfect but see each day as an opportunity to improve. You do not give up or look for the easy way out. You keep going.