Thursday, June 6, 2019
Many students are torn this week from getting 8 hours a night of study time in and watching a very exciting NBA finals. The NBA is a nice case study of how to study for the bar exam. To make it to the NBA, you need to have talent. At 6’3, I cannot dunk or crossover dribble but a law professor career is longer than that of an NBA player so I am not complaining. Yet, for the Warriors and Raptors to have made it to the finals they needed a lot more than just freakish talent (Steph Curry and your 92% free throw shooting – I mean you). Most of the “action” takes place not on game day but in countless hours of practice and strategy sessions. Players go through drills daily, memorize plays, learn to break down an opponents’ game, and find ways to exploit opportunities. This is a lot like the bar exam. Just like playing in the NBA finals, taking the bar exam is an all or nothing experience – you either win or lose. To improve your chances at winning:
- Spend 8 hours a day six days a week (with a half day on the 7th day) studying the material. A lot of the bar exam is about memorization of material and that takes time.
- Take as many practice essays as you can. The skillset for essay taking is different than that of multiple choice. I cannot stress enough how important it is to do as many of these practice essays as possible. You only get better by identifying your weaknesses and focusing on building up those core skills.
- Work on your rhythm. NBA players practice enough that they intuitively understand how to play the shot clock. You need to learn to master the shot clock for the bar exam and get in a rhythm that allows you the opportunity to maximize your time.
- Have a plan. Every essay needs to be outlined before you begin so that you hit the major points and use your time effectively.
- Work on mindfulness. Don’t let distractions get to you during the next two months or during the actual exam to reduce the anxiety that you feel.
- Get enough sleep. You cannot be at your best without enough sleep. Your body will break down over the next two months if you don’t sleep enough or stay physically active (30 minutes - 1 hour of exercise a day).
- Go in with the attitude that you will give 100 percent effort. Whether the game is decided by 1 point or 20, a player does not announce to his teammates right before the game, "With a 70% pass rate in this state, I am only going to give a C- effort."