Overwhelmed and paralyzed by bar prep?

“There’s so much to juggle. I’m exhausted. I don’t want to do this.”

“I damn near lost my mind today. I’m ready to get this exam over with.”

I can’t study because I’m so anxious and worried. Just let me pass and move on!”

You’ve had those moments. Flares of panic, that sinking feeling that you’re behind on studying, wondering whether you should keep going or push it off to later…

Commiserating with other bar takers can actually be comforting! They’re not going to judge since they “get” you. None of those regular people understand what you’re going through (“You’ll be fine! You’re smart! You got this!”).

But you’re also going through real internal struggles in your most private moments.

  • You’re nervous. Understandably, you’re anxious about this high-stakes bar exam and worried about the future. 
  • Youre stressed and overwhelmed by all the things you need to study (and tempted to watch and read everything you can get your hands on just in case you miss something). 
  • Youre exhausted and can’t seem to be productive.

So you find yourself doing safe work, like trying to memorize all the rules first or filling in meticulous lecture notes. You’re driven by uncertainty and fear rather than being methodical and deliberate. Before you realize, you find yourself stuck in the mud spinning your wheels and making a backup list of alternate careers.

How much time and emotional energy have you wasted thinking about how daunting it is to prepare for the bar, rather than doing the mental work you intellectually know you should be doing?

The physical act of bar preparation is actually quite simple: You sit down, study the law, and solve questions. But the difficult mental and emotional states that arise from this seemingly overwhelming task can stagnate — or even reverse — your progress.

If you choose to get out of your own way, you can keep those worries under wraps and save your mental energy for what really matters.

As you continue with your bar studies, it becomes evident that mental mastery is a critical component to your performance — whether during preparation or the exam itself.

Like one of my readers, Elaine, says, “The mind is 50% of this exam. It has to be in the right frame. . . . The mind is powerful.

Or how about this, from Olivia? “I think some of my failures were heavily based on my negative attitude and constant self-deprecation.

Likewise, TLS user lnu1992 says, “A person’s ability to handle the anxiety and stress of the exam is also huge. Even though I was a top student, I blanked during parts of the exam.”

"Half of bar prep involves preparing oneself mentally."

It might not even be a stretch to say that your competition isn’t other bar takers — but rather your ability to handle the high-stakes nature of the bar exam, the knowledge you neglect to learn, your ego, your procrastination, your lack of motivation, and the constant battle with your willpower.

Do you agree with that?

But no one tells you how to stay sane beyond “visualize the goal,” “you got this,” or “just breathe” (that last one is probably the best idea here tbh).

You’ve been on your own — until now.

I want to share how you can judo-throw your mind into feeling calm and collected, and focused, optimistic, and motivated, so that you can prepare for the bar exam at your best level without the unnecessary distractions of being frazzled or worried.

By the way, this won’t be the typical “meditate and visualize” breathing exercises and other random treadmill tactics. Passing the bar exam with “ease and confidence” can be such a cliche. I get that.

I want to go beyond symptoms and show you practical and actionable ways to shift your mental framework and take advantage of your own psychology.

I call these “mental engines.”


Mental Engines logo

Mental Engines is a mini-course to support bar takers who want to stay sane for bar prep and the bar exam. 

Difficult and unfamiliar emotions like panic and frazzle can brew in you during this stressful ordeal. I’ll teach you practical frameworks to eliminate mental blocks and stay grounded.

(No meditation or visualizations or yoga retreats. Self-care is fine, but you’ll have to make some actual changes to your thinking to have a mindset that produces success on the bar exam.)

"That hit home for me. I am two weeks into bar prep and am already feeling the natural flood of overwhelm, fomo, and anxiety about the beast that is bar prep. . . . And a way to view the bar exam as a mental challenge and not just an intellectual one!""

If you’re tired of that sinking feeling and self-doubting voice saying “I’m gonna get this wrong too”… Overwhelmed, paralyzed, floundering… 

I curated everything I learned about managing your thoughts and organizing your emotions when it comes to bar preparation.

Studying for the bar exam is difficult, but suffering is optional.

Here’s what’s included to keep you sane:

8 modules of lessons embodied in text, action steps, and over 3 hours of accompanying audio

Module 1: Start Here
Module 2: Lessons for Stress or Frustration
Module 3: Lessons for Motivation and Productivity
Module 4: Lessons for Anxiety or Panic
Module 5: Lessons for Feelings of Incompetence
Module 6: Lessons for Overwhelm
Module 7: Advanced Tactics: Extra Kicks in the Ass
Module 8: After the Bar

End-of-module review and checklists

Worksheets to help you implement and apply the lessons to your situation

A series of 10 short emails over 30 days to keep you on track, with occasional stories, reminders, and extra content to reinforce the lessons

Module 1
Start Here

What you’ll discover:

Module 2
Lessons for Stress or Frustration

Studying can be a real headache, but you don’t have to stew in your own frustration. Wouldn’t you rather feel like you can handle it with your resilience, and even enjoy the work?

What you’ll discover:

Module 3
Lessons for Motivation and Productivity

I get it. You don’t want to do this. You’re tired. You’re busy. You have a thousand other things you’d rather be doing.

What you’ll discover:

Module 4
Lessons for Anxiety or Panic

If you’re like most, you’re going to be nervous or worried or feeling hopeless about your bar prospects from time to time. What can we do to stop agonizing or even despairing over it?

What you’ll discover:

Module 5
Lessons for Feelings of Incompetence

We all want to be calm, competent, and confident. I can give you all the inspiration you want, but that’s not empowering. Confidence comes from getting better, not a pep talk.

What you’ll discover:

Module 6
Lessons for Overwhelm

Bar prep can be overwhelming. It’s one of the most common reactions. And if you feel overwhelmed, you might not do anything at all, making things even worse.

What you’ll discover:

Module 7
Advanced Tactics: Extra Kicks in the Ass

Not for those wanting rainbows and cookies. They’ll be difficult to implement, and you’ll be pushing yourself. Perhaps just what you were looking for.

What you’ll discover:

Module 8
After the Bar

After all that’s over, yet another hard part called “waiting” begins. Symptoms include restlessness, boredom, and ennui — before a hum of anxiety that crescendos into agony.

What you’ll discover:

And that’s not all you get with Mental Engines

Mental Engines Reminder Cards & Sheets

Bonus 1

Reminder Cards (and blank templates) and Reminder Sheets to help you remember your favorite lessons

"I write out my favorite quotes from Mental Engines and put them up around my house"
Mental Engines Scripts & Mantras

Bonus 2

Scripts & Mantras to reframe your approach to problems and rewire your brain to accept thoughts that serve you

Mental Engines 80-20 Checklist

Bonus 3

80/20 Checklist with minimally effective doses for quick results

Bonus 4

Audio interview on the mindset of being “arrogant” during the exam to adopt an attitude of going after the prey

After seeing the same cycles of doom and gloom from bar students, I finally put together this program that addresses what to do if you’re freaking out, overwhelmed, or burning out.

Some of these are hard-earned practical lessons that I personally learned from my own repeater experience (and beyond).

Some of them are exactly what I use now to be able to kick ass (not my words) at my full-time job as a patent attorney while running the one-man show that is Make This Your Last Time.

Have you heard the expression, “How you do anything is how you do everything”?

I stand behind the expression and would add to that: How you think is how you do.

Imagine gaining just one of these insights, or developing one mental habit, that improves the quality of your thoughts and enables you to succeed at whatever challenges you encounter during your bar preparation.

With these mental engines, you can quickly develop the mental fortitude to set your mind straight, kick the paralysis away, clear the brain fog… even when things don’t go according to plan (and without spending a ton of time in your busy schedule).

While others are frazzled and letting their anxiety get the best of them, you are cool. 

They’re distracted and reactive. You’re focused on the goal and the process. 

They’re overwhelmed and paralyzed by a quicksand. You’re self-driven, moving toward your goal step by step. 

They say things like “ugh” and can’t move on from being stuck. You’re optimistic, believing that your thoughts and behavior matter in the face of challenge. 

You’re able to do your best work.

What is that peace of mind worth to you?

You can finally sigh a breath of relief and do the work you need to prepare for the bar exam and to achieve your free life.

If you’re ready for that, I’d be thrilled to share Mental Engines with you.

Start feeling better about bar prep today

Mental Engines banner


This course is hosted on the Thinkific platform, separate from my other products.


Once you join, you’ll get immediate access to all 8 modules. After the first module, you’ll have free reign to check out any of the other ones depending on what kind of feelings you’re dealing with, like a buffet.

Each main module (Modules 2 through 6) comes with between 3 and 9 lessons and includes a review summary and a checklist.

Each lesson takes just a few minutes or less. Most lessons come with action steps that summarize and help you implement what you learned. Some lessons come with short worksheets to implement some of the techniques.

Click here to go back and see what’s included in the program.

You can simply enjoy the material and let it marinate, although you’ll get more out of it if you do the exercises. You get lifetime access and updates, so you can always come back to it.

For the serious student who wants lasting change, this is an implementation tool. Much like rules of law, you learn better if you use rather than consume.

I understand that you’re busy fitting bar prep into your life. Each module comes with short, valuable lessons that will help you change the way you look at your situation. You don’t even have to go through the whole program.

After the first module, it will take around 15–20 minutes (or more if you listen to the audio or do the action steps and worksheets) before you start to put together new ideas and reframe the thoughts in your mind to become more optimistic, calmer, and excited about your prospects.

But this is also a practice. It’s not going to be an overnight change. For more lasting results, I would give it at least a week or two of consistently going back to the materials (each time taking no more than 30 minutes). There’s plenty to explore.

Yes. Since the focus of this program is organizing your emotions and psychology as a bar taker, many of the lessons will be in the context of bar review. I include examples of how you can apply mindset shifts to your studies. 

Among other things, you’ll be encouraged to set aside your ego and discomfort, address the overwhelm and stress of bar prep, and do the work that needs to be done.

That said, the bar strategies in here are general approaches. If you want comprehensive, in-depth preparation strategies and advice for specific portions of the bar, I recommend Passer’s Playbook 2.0 for an end-to-end self-study system for the bar exam (in any state).

No, I think it’s weird not to invest in the skill of managing your thoughts and organizing your emotions, especially if you’re trying to, you know, tackle this beast known as the bar exam and enter a profession that is dependent on your ability to think under pressure.

According to the ABA, a common fear among law students is that asking for help is a sign of weakness. But seeking help and resources is actually a sign of self-awareness, problem solving, and a desire to improve and succeed.

Is it weird for people to get a weekly massage or orthopedic session? Paint their walls a certain color to improve their mood every day? Go on thousand-dollar meditation retreats? (OK, maybe that one’s a little weird.)

“Yeah, but this is different. I can handle it. I’m fine. I’ll deal with it later.”

Remember, “the mind is 50% of this exam.” Why wouldn’t you give yourself every advantage?

It’s funny that people don’t hesitate to go tens of thousands of dollars in debt for a degree or a wedding or a house, but all bets are off if you ask for a buck for a book.

Somehow, we tend to be the most frugal when it comes to the thing that will stay with us the most—the act of teaching ourselves.

Will you let your own inner critic hold you back?

I recommend not joining if… 

  • You’re not willing and able to test new ideas. Changing your language and changing the way you approach the events in your life are a part of changing your life. And clearing the bar exam is one of the biggest life-changing events in your life.
  • Or you don’t actually want to feel positive, competent, and optimistic about bar preparation. What I mean is, this is simply not important to you. You’ll say that you want the help, but in reality, you’ll “do it later” or “just deal with it.” That’s fine. We all handle things differently.

On the other hand, Mental Engines may be right for you if you have a few minutes a day and are serious about changing your mind.

Notice I didn’t say anything about “ease and confidence.” That’s because, truthfully, you probably won’t reach some universal end-all-be-all state of confidence. It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to fill you with confidence. No sugarcoating here.

But that’s OK! Let’s accept that it’s simpler (and more realistic) to make yourself better than to wish things were easier. You’ll find a little more confidence by moving on from the shortcut mentality and building competence instead.

Likewise, Mental Engines can help you process other thoughts and emotions that do not serve your goal, and show you more productive thoughts.

What other bar takers are saying

"I really feel that your product is extremely helpful"
"This was actually exactly what I needed to read. I am printing it out so I can reference to it. Thank you!"
Mental Engines Julie 5
Mental Engines Julie 7
"I write out my favorite quotes from Mental Engines and put them up around my house"
"I felt it put a little fire under my ass and it helped me move along with this process in a better way"
"I really enjoyed Mental Engines and feel it helped me a lot"
"I would have loved to received this earlier in the prep season"
"Truly all of them helped in some way or another. A HA!"
"I have also not stopped, and figured out what I can do better, and I have let the bar be the feedback for the mistakes I have made. This lesson, though, was a kick in the ass that I shouldn't rely on the bar to be my feedback. Also, it taught me that I have to get through this short pain that is the bar in order to reap its rewards."
"Your advice, however, on how to change some of the negative language and thoughts is very helpful--especially when doing the damn MBEs. 'I'm not stuck; I'm figuring it out!' Also, loved the earthquake analogy in Anxious/Panicked!"
"The way that I use Mental Engines is that I review it whenever I feel the need to get some more perspective on the mental side of things in dealing with my bar preparation"
"I get frustrated and overwhelmed very easily, so it was nice to be reminded about what the goal is, the skills I need to master, and that it's better to be an overachiever than a perfectionist"
investing in myself 1
investing in myself 2

By the way, like all my premium bar resources, Mental Engines comes with a 30-day refund policy. There’s no risk in signing up even if you’re not sure this is the right program for you. You can easily go through all the material before deciding.

If you’re on the fence, give it a try. Actually trying out the program for a few weeks is the best way to see for yourself if you can gain new perspectives and see a positive difference in how you feel and think about bar prep.

If it’s not helpful to you, just email me for a full refund. No sweat.

Elimination is one way to progress

That’s one of the things you’ll learn in Mental Engines.

Even if you’re not sure if something will work for you, try it! Whether it’s this program or something else.

Turns out it’s not working for you? Great! It’s freeing to be able to say, “I don’t need to do this, or that, or that right now.” It frees up your mental energy to pivot to other things that may (or do) work for you. At least you tried, and now there’s one fewer thing to think about on your plate.

As one of my readers, Cyndie, says, “Yes, getting your hair done is quite important. Feel good, do good (at least that’s what they used to tell me in fashion school).”

The only thing left to do is to go for it. In fact, if you’re going to join and make a change, I recommend doing so as soon as possible.

"I would have loved to received this earlier in the prep season"


“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?”

Start feeling better about bar prep today

Mental Engines banner


This course is hosted on the Thinkific platform, separate from my other products.

Any questions, email brian [ ] makethisyourlasttime.com.

I’m excited to have you join this course. I look forward to seeing you inside.