Saturday, May 26, 2012

Start Right and Stay on Target in Bar Preparation

As the various bar review courses get under way, I wanted to list some of the common mistakes that I see graduates make in their bar preparation:

  • Decide to save money and not take a bar review course.
  • Coast the first few weeks and lose valuable time in their preparation.
  • Look for shortcuts rather than smart strategies: shortcuts undermine learning while smart strategies increase learning.
  • Lose their common sense: they do not evaluate what is or is not working in their studying and make adjustments as needed.
  • Completely ignore studying for some portions of the bar exam because they are worth less in the weighting (examples: MPT or state evidence/procedure section).
  • Go overboard on studying and exhaust themselves before they get to the exam itself.
  • Avoid doing lots of practice questions because their percentages are low initially.
  • Spend too much time on non-bar-preparation interests: going on a cruise, planning a wedding, remodeling a house, perfecting their abs, training for a marathon (all of these are real-life examples).
  • Waste time on e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and other electronic distractions.
  • Work part-time or full-time while preparing for the bar.
  • Focus on doom and gloom and convince themselves that they will fail so that they fulfill that prophesy.
  • Lack a support group while they are studying for the bar: other bar studiers can encourage one another, answer questions, and keep each other accountable.
  • Lose sleep, eat junk food, give up exercise, depend too much on sugar and caffeine: a healthy lifestyle is essential to successful bar preparation.

Best wishes to all of our graduates who are starting their bar exam preparation.  (Amy Jarmon)

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