Stop “Studying” and Start Learning: The Underrated Practice of Practice

Back in college, I gave my cheat sheet for our engineering midterm to a girl. How do you say no to a girl? Answer: You can’t.

It had all the equations needed, but she got the lowest score in the class because she didn’t know how and when those equations applied. She hadn’t practiced applying those rules to similar problems.

You’d think they’d be plug and play, but they’re not. Context matters. Knowing when and how to use them matters.

She was my gf at the time btw. Awkward! Oh well, live and learn.

When you don't practice for the bar exam

And that’s what I want to talk about—learning.

“Do I really know this?” It’s natural to question yourself at every step when preparing for the bar exam.

What people try to do:

  • Consume material to cover all the subjects first
  • Obsess over rules and get overwhelmed
  • Collect more tools than is possible to look at and reconcile
  • Endlessly seek the “best” tool
  • Fill in the available time

This is when we pour our coffee, make room on our desk, organize our pens, turn on the computer… and then just stare at the words.

How to actually find out:

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3 Illusions You Might Be Trapped In When Preparing for the Bar Exam

I see some strange juxtapositions whenever I make the mistake of leaving the house:

Words: “Don’t drive even after a beer. It’s dangerous.”
Action: Drives with one eye on the phone and another eye on the road

Words: “Do your civic duty and go vote. Here’s a sticker!”
Action: Actively avoids making a direct impact on the community through jury duty

Words: “I’m never drinking again!”
One month later: “I’m never drinking again!”

(My quest to restore a six-pack taught me that bursts of “never” don’t last long and that sustainability and consistency are way more valuable.)

What are some other ones? Let me know in the comments what you’ve noticed.

And then we have bar takers. Souls wandering in limbo. Not yet a licensed attorney but not a regular person either.

We see some interesting behaviors with bar takers as well:

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Myth of Memorization on the Bar Exam

Many bar takers are obsessed with the idea of memorization. It’s something a lot of students have concerns with and something I think about, too.

I think it comes from a place of insecurity. They say, “As long as I memorize this perfectly, I will be set for the bar exam.”

No, that’s not the point!

This is a common thought process, especially for those starting out. Yes, you do want to memorize as early as you can. And yes, you def want to know the material before the bar.

It’s not that I’m ragging on memorization. You should memorize. It’s table stakes. Everyone’s doing it. It’s a minimum requirement. Just a cost of entry.

I do want to point out what bar students miss when they get tunnel vision around memorization. Don’t miss the forest for the trees:

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