You Need a Study Plan: Why You Should Make Your Own Bar Prep Study Schedule

The only thing I remember from law school is my negotiations professor saying this in class randomly:

“Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.”

It’s so true. Is bar preparation worth doing? Then it’s worth doing right.

We know that we must enjoy the process (not merely fixate on the goal of passing the bar) for sustainable momentum.

Just as what’s enjoyable is personal, bar prep is also personal. Your study plan and schedule are personal.

Sample 4-week study schedule for bar prep
Sample 4-week study schedule from Passer’s Playbook. This should be a template that’s flexible to YOUR needs and without strict hour-by-hour timing.

After all, you’re the “dean of your own studies.” You’re ultimately responsible for learning the material as well as the skills to apply the material.

You might be working while studying for the bar exam. Maybe you have every day free for bar prep and don’t want to blow this opportunity. Or maybe you only have the first 6 hours of your day free while the kids are in school/Zoom classes.

There are a million ways you could approach this which can’t be captured with a unified master calendar. There is no one-size-fits-all bar prep study schedule. This alone is reason to abandon the cookie-cutter plan and create one that works for your situation.

Like why spend more time on Torts and less time on Evidence if that default autopilot setting doesn’t make sense to you?

Great, but where do you begin?

You may be lost and not sure where to start heading from here. Like you ran into an unfamiliar part of town and your phone dies (which is why I finally got a car charger after months of denial about how good my phone’s battery actually was).

Like the Titanic, going in the right direction is more important than how hard you go.

So here’s a first reminder that will narrow down your routes and simplify the sudoku of choices…

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Planning a Bar Prep Study Schedule (Quick Overview)

Wondering how to plan and begin your studies for the bar exam? The order in which to arrange the subjects? What a study schedule could look like?

I like to recommend this general approach. You’ll go through at least 3 cycles:

  1. MBE subjects, and then optionally essay-only subjects
  2. All subjects (you can repeat this more than once)
  3. Final crunch (1-2 weeks max)

More details below.

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How To Start Studying EARLY For The Bar Exam

Daniel Garrett writes in with a guest article on how to start studying early for the bar exam. Daniel provides expert tutoring for the California Bar Exam and the Uniform Bar Exam at BarWinners. Stay until the end for a special offer to work with Daniel.

If you plan on taking the bar exam several months out and want to get a jump start on your studying, there are a few key areas to focus on as you begin your studies in earnest.

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Setting Up Clear Goals You Can Follow for the Bar Exam

When preparing for the bar exam, set up clear goals you can follow.

Say someone asks you what you want. You say that you want to pass the bar. Great, a north star that you can reach toward!

But the end goal itself doesn’t tell you what to do at any given moment. It often makes you feel good about the future end result, but it doesn’t mean you will do the needed things in between now and the desired result.

For example, a new year’s resolution like “I want to lose weight” gives you a nice self-affirmation and a burst of motivation.

However, 80% of such resolutions fail by February. There are many actions required, such as watching your calories and macros, exercising, and doing so consistently. Simply jumping in with a new gym membership is a recipe for your goal getting ghosted.

There are three main components to good goals…

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The 3 Things You Need When Starting Bar Prep (Live Stream Replay)

“What should I know when I’m starting bar prep?”

I did a live stream with Jennifer Duclair to talk about how to take the guesswork out of bar preparation and get a better sense of direction as you start studying for your next bar exam.

It was fun! Japes and nuggets of insights were dropped, and I’m pleased with how this turned out. (Maybe I’ll do another one next year…)

Here’s me throwing Kaplan under the bus:

What to do with your schedule when starting bar prep

Here’s the recording (go to 8:12 where I talk about the study schedule shown above), along with timestamps so you can jump to the parts you’re most interested in:

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