Some bar takers wonder if they should study early for the bar exam (ahead of the traditional 10-week schedule), whether…
They want to get a head start on studying
They deferred the exam (e.g., February to July)
They’re waiting for bar results (or got their bar results months ahead of the next exam they want to retake)
They have a full-time job to juggle at the same time and won’t be able to take much time off
It’s been a minute (or years) since they’ve graduated from law school or have taken the exam
While there are benefits to studying early, there are many traps to doing so. There are also benefits to simply waiting (if your neurotic anxiety can handle it) until study season is in full swing before deciding whether or not to study for the bar exam.
But bar prep is personal. You’re the dean of your own studies.
To help you decide when to start studying, let’s discuss all of this—who early bar prep is right for and the best way to study early and effectively—so that you’re making the most of your time and energy.
Just as what’s enjoyable is personal, bar prep is also personal. Your study plan and schedule are personal.
Here’s an example of what that could look like, based on the sample 4-week study schedule from Passer’s Playbook (taken from sample study schedules that span 1-10 weeks, also has example student schedules that go up to 17 weeks).
Samples and examples can be used as a template, but YOUR schedule should fit you like a handmade glove and be flexible to YOUR needs and without strict hour-by-hour timing. You can’t predict what will happen, but you can account for it.
A personalized schedule helps you plan what you need to address each day. You’re ultimately responsible for knowing what YOU need to learn the material and learn the skills to apply the material.
Not really sure what’s working in the weeks leading up to the bar exam? Or what you should be doing?
If you’re taking a bar review course like Barbri, Themis, or Kaplan, then first make sure that you’ve been using it correctly (and that it hasn’t been using you to fill up its completion meter). Sometimes they don’t make clear what you should be doing to be prepared by the end of it all, other than the endless lectures and review sessions they make you sit through.
It’s like you aren’t feeling as confident or ready as you feel you should be after all that time spent. Studying for the bar exam can be a grueling process, so it’s important to have strategies in place to help you stay focused and motivated — and most important — make progress.
What should you be doing to make sure you’re really preparing enough for the big day? Here’s a framework to help you in the weeks leading up to the test: