It’s inevitable. At some point you will reach utter boredom while studying for the bar exam. This boredom will become even more apparent if you are a repeater – that is, you are studying for the exam a second (or maybe even third) time because you have not yet successfully passed.
So, how do you stay motivated and persevere during this crucial time of your life?
I’ve put together some tips to make your study time just a tad bit more appealing. However, I give no guarantees that you’re going to fall in love with Remedies any time soon! Always keep in mind that what works for one person may not work for you, therefore, take any study tips as mere recommendations that you may or may not want to try.
1. Reward yourself by getting up off your chair every hour
Set a timer (try this free online timer or use your smart phone) for 60 minutes and commit to being deeply involved in what you are studying during that 1 hour. Then when the timer goes off, get up and walk to a different room or maybe get a drink of water or light snack. The key is to take no more than 5 minutes for your mini-break so that you come back to your study desk raring to go for another 60 minutes.
2. Move your study location
Sometimes a change of scenery to a different area can rejuvenate you to become more motivated. Perhaps you can move your desk to a different area of your home or try going to the library or a coffee shop. Check out our blog post on how to improve your study space. Try listening to audio lectures on headphones outdoors. Everybody’s situation is unique so experiment a bit to see what surroundings make you feel revitalized.
3. Mix it up
The bar exam is a test of your knowledge of 15 different subjects, therefore, get used to mixing them up now. Count the number of weeks you have for your bar prep period and plot out your calendar in advance so you know exactly what subject you are studying each day. If you are using a commercial bar review program, this will be done for you, but if you are making up your own study schedule, you may want to look at the Be A Goat blog for some inspiration on how to allocate your time.
4. Find motivating lecturers
Nothing is worse than watching a boring professor lecture on a boring topic of law. While we don’t expect professors to be comedians, it sure helps if they are fast-paced and throw in the occasional humor. I can’t speak for Barbri lecturers as I’ve never viewed them, but I can say that Jeff Fleming of Fleming’s Fundamentals of Law is always interesting to watch or listen to – he is fast, funny, and always gets right to the point. If you are struggling with MBE’s and have signed up for Adaptibar, try their video lectures by Jonathan Grossman – his approach is super helpful and I guarantee you won’t be bored listening to him.
5. Engage others to share in your misery
If you can find a willing family member or friend to do this with you, try having them ask you to explain a rule of law. For example, the person picks a rule from your outline and says, “explain to me what Equal Protection is.” Then you have to explain everything you know about it. If you can get a youngster to do this, even better, as it will force you to really drill down to the basics and not assume the listener knows anything at all about your explanation. As one of my professors used to say, pretend you’re talking to a third grader.
6. Use technology to make studying fun
With all the online options to choose from, studying for the bar exam doesn’t have to be boring. Online subscription based services like Adaptibar for MBE’s, SeRiouS for memorizing flashcards (see our write-up on this unique technology), and our own BarIssues.com for essays, make studying for the bar exam not only more interesting, but can give you the edge in accomplishing so much more at a faster pace and on any mobile device of your choice. You’re not limited to your desk any more!
7. Practice the real thing
Once you have a fairly good grasp of the law, get right into practice mode by simulating the real exam experience. Don’t think that you have to wait until you have the rules memorized. It’s ok to do poorly on essays and MBE’s at first, that’s perfectly natural. At BarIssues.com we provide all the tools you need to practice and issue spot real bar exam essays. For MBE’s, in our opinion, Adaptibar offers the most authentic multiple choice questions. Start working on real exam questions as early as possible.
And there you have it – some methods to alleviate the bar exam boredom blues. We recognize that perhaps the most obvious motivator is fear! But even fear of failure will only take you so far if you are not in a positive frame of mind while studying for the exam.
If you’re experiencing a significant amount of aversion to your studies, you may consider taking a few days off completely. It’s easy for students to get into a routine of studying 10 hours a day 7 days a week and then encounter burn-out. Some can handle it while others can’t. You know yourself best – it’s critical to maintain a pace you can handle and still have energy to write the actual exam.
We would love to hear from you about anything you’re doing that’s helping you to stay actively engaged. Keep on studying!