Man… I see this question more often than I want to. And if you look closely, it’s basically people just complaining that they don’t want to study.
How did they graduate law school? If finally becoming an attorney doesn’t entice them, I don’t know what to say. More like I hold back on giving a huge answer every time I see the question!
HOW do you get motivated? How DO you get motivated? How do you get MOTIVATED?
You don’t. Asking about it is just going to get you into a pity party with other people who also “don’t have motivation.” The blind leading the blind.
To be fair, it’s a gray area. Who wants to study for the bar exam?
You might as well moisturize your outlines with sandpaper because this exam is one of the driest, most boring things in existence. It’s natural to be uninterested if you’re looking at this huge, seemingly insurmountable goal—even if it is a high-stakes exam.
If you’re asking about motivation, though, don’t count on it to come to you first. “Motivation” and “inspiration” are fleeting. It comes and goes based on the situation, difficult to summon at will.
Keep reading to find out:
My answer to the titular question (or what doesn’t get you motivation)
3 approaches to getting my own work done (and how you can apply this to your bar prep)
5 productivity tactics (that don’t require you to give up on sleep)
Be honest now. Imagine you’re mentoring a starry-eyed 1L starting law school. How would you explain how to “spot the issues” in an essay? How exact and specific can you get?
Is it just a mystical process where the crystal ball in your head somehow divines issues from the heavens?
On its surface, a bar exam essay is simply a string of IRACs (easier said than done of course). Prep companies and law schools tend to focus on the “R” and “A” and assume that you already know how to find the “I” naturally.
That’s funny (not really) because an issue that’s never raised, or an irrelevant issue, is completely worthless.
Unlike multiple choice with an objectively correct answer, essays are subject to the whims of the grader. Getting (“spotting”) the correct issues is the easiest way to quickly signal to the grader that you’re at least discussing the right things.
But has anyone actually taught you how to be able to spot those issues? They give you the IRAC framework and leave you in the dust to figure it out. How did those law school exams turn out?
Issue spotting is essential. And it’s a learnable skill you can practice for your bar essay preparation, even if your law school grades didn’t reflect it (like mine).
That’s why I’m going to explain it to you in more detail than this “tip”:
To spot issues, try your best.
Let’s try something more reliable, shall we? There’s a subtle difference between “issue spotting” and the technique I’m about to share.
Ah yes, the MBE, everyone’s favorite multiple-guess section…
1.8 minutes per question for 6 hours
Paranoia from seeing 7 of the same letter in a row
50/50 choices that make you go, “Damn, what’s with this ultimate decision?”
Up to half of your score hangs on a series of letters. I don’t mean essays, which are also a series of letters.
Wow! That sounds important. So how do you practice and prepare to improve your MBE score?
That’s actually the good thing about the MBE. It’s relatively objective and quantitative. This means that, while the MBE is formidable, improving on the MBE is a very improvable and figure-out-able portion of the bar.
Keep these rules in mind to go from “multiple guess” to “multiple choice”:
Tens of thousands across the country face them time and time again. Hope and despair, rinse and repeat.
They endure the onslaught of “aww… you got this” and “I’m sure you passed!” for weeks and months.
Anxiety, excitement, and uncertainty squirting into their heart every time you thought of the moment of truth. Waiting is the hardest part. Uncertainty is being locked in a padded room alone with your hopes and worries.
Then… the ruthless truth. This is the result of all their work, condensed into one screen. It declares that their efforts were not enough.
Maybe for the first time, a humbling moment. Maybe not your first time, even more painful.
How do you face your family and friends? How do you face yourself?
You “trusted the system.” What needs to be changed?