From the day you entered law school, you likely started preparing for the bar exam. It is the last thing between you and a law career.
As you get closer to the day of the exam, your mind will work overtime getting ready.
Make sure you’re focused on the right things to make exam day a successful entry into your hard-earned career.
Studying law and studying for the bar exam are different activities
Throughout your school experience, you’ve learned much about many aspects of the law. You have likely developed preferences along the way in which areas of law you’d like to practice.
Your study habits will evolve into what it takes for you to be a good attorney. The bar exam will dip into many of your same areas of study, including the ones you didn’t really care about.
As you get closer to taking the bar, your study habits will shift to what it takes to pass the test, understanding this takes the stress off.
A few months before the exam, take a bar review course. Schedule as many practice tests as you can. Meet with others to go over test-taking strategies. By the time you receive your J.D., you will have learned as much as you can about practicing law.
What remains is to learn how to pass the bar.
Identify and capitalize on study habits that work
The last few months before the bar exam is not the time to take on new study habits. Find out what works for you and what doesn’t. If studying in a quiet library has worked well, don’t try to study for the bar in a noisy coffee shop. The content you are studying for the exam is different, but not how you study.
Early in your law school career is the time to try different techniques. Do you learn best by memorization? Do you use mnemonic methods to remember topic highlights? Were study groups helpful? Or were they a distraction?
Try various methods knowing that they will also be the approach you’ll take to study for the bar exam.
Create associations between unfamiliar subjects and life
For those areas tested in the bar in which you are less familiar, or even uninterested, connect them to some familiar experiences. This helps you recall them during the exam. How would you describe a negotiable instrument?
Think about your own checkbook. Explain the use of a secured transaction. It’s what you experienced when you bought a car.
For every legal concept, there are many corresponding real-life examples. Once you make the associations, you’ll rarely forget the concept because it’s easier to recall. Make the example relevant to you or it will be just another obscure detail you have to remember.
Mentally prepare to be an attorney
You’ve finished law school and have received your J.D. Passing the bar is the only thing remaining. You have already studied law and have a feeling for the direction you want to take with your career. Rather than getting psyched up to take the exam, prepare your mind for being an attorney.
The bar becomes the first project you’ll complete as a new attorney.
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