Tomorrow is Bar Month. Get Ready!!

For many, the Bar Exam scheduled for February 22–23, 2022 is an event they have been planning for, for years. When the words, “I’m taking the February 2022 bar exam” were uttered, it felt like that date was years in the future –a million miles away. But here it is, January 31 and February 2022 is tomorrow.

Expect tomorrow to be anxiety-producing, and then by February 2 (happy Groundhog Day) to be back on track, making the most of the remaining weeks. And, do not underestimate just how much you can and will learn this month, if you stick to your schedule and keep at it, giving 8-12 hours of daily focused study -including completing many practice tests and studying sample answers. And, every wrong answer before the actual exam is the opportunity to learn something or correct a mistake before the real deal!

So, Happy January 31!

Optimism is Contagious

It’s easy to get discouraged when studying. Mountains of materials make it all overwhelming. But please remember that education is a treasure; it is an endless gift to be able to spend time learning. Confront challenges and problem solve to dissipate road blocks. And, try hard to put a smile on your face when you are working. It is amazing how inner positivity can have a productive ripple effect.

Simulated bar exams: Take them next week!

If you are preparing to PASS the upcoming bar exam, calendar your simulated bar exam next week so you have time to learn from -and improve from- the experience. Take the exam under as close as possible to simulated exam conditions. And, study the sample answers to any questions you got wrong or guessed on as soon as possible after the simulated exam.

#barexam, #simulatedbar, #barreview

Don’t forget to Breathe!

How tense are you right now? How much learning is blocked from coming into and staying in your brain because of nerves.

My constant refrain that I ask bar takers and other students getting ready for exam to tell yourselves is: “Turn Panic into Power and not Paralysis.” That power phrase appears in my books and articles and in most every talk I give to students preparing for high stakes exams.

There are many steps for turning panic into power. Step one is always to breathe. We’ll talk about next steps in future blog posts.

July Bar Takers: Five Prompts for Bar Success Planning, Starting Now

If you are taking the July bar exam, start planning now. Here are five prompts to get you started:

1. Where will you live after graduation?

2. Do you have a place to study that is conducive to learning?

3. Have you lined up all the bar review resources you will need?

4. Have you let your family and friends know you’ll be gone in June and July – and, have you taken care of all summer obligations so that you can either handle them by May or put them off until August?

And, last but not least, for now,

5. Do you have enough money saved to live for two months after graduation without working?

#barexam, #barexamtips, #barsuccess, #lawschool, #lawstudent

Ten tips to manage procrastination

Many students share that as midterms and finals approach, and during bar prep, they find themselves unusually eager to clean their homes, review and delete old emails, clip their toenails. You get the idea – anything other than studying!

Here are tips if this is your situation:

  1. Know that procrastination is normal. Lose the self-criticism.
  2. See some procrastinating as a positive. Sometimes, it does serve a useful purpose – helping re-charge your batteries so that you are all-in when you are studying.
  3. If your procrastination is paralyzing, rather than positive, seek help from reliable, expert resources.
  4. Think of an academic goal as a series of finite projects. It is more tempting to avoid something that feels like a huge challenge. Identifying tasks as doable parts of a project makes them more approachable.
  5. Once you identify the various tasks, ask yourself if any of them feel overwhelming, and see if you can get some help with those pieces of the puzzle.
  6. List what you tend to do when you procrastinate and schedule specific, limited time slots for those things. Don’t make them guilty pleasures. Make them a controlled part of your day. For example, if you procrastinate with social media, you may find yourself losing many hours. If you know that every day, you have social media “office hours,” you will be less apt to use that as an escape.
  7. Study first, then take your time “off.”
  8. Adopt a routine. Being on a schedule will help your body and brain “accept” that you just do particular tasks at certain times. You just do.
  9. Talk to yourself about how good you feel when you accomplish what you set out to do. And, if it’s helpful, remind yourself how icky it feels when you don’t. Simple example: many people have a habit of never going to sleep with dirty dishes in the sink. No matter how tired they are, they just don’t procrastinate on that one. Why? They find it pleasant to wake to a clean sink and very unpleasant to wake to dirt. They also realize that the task gets more difficult the longer food sticks to dishes. And, they know that a sink for of dirty dishes attracts bugs.
  10. Articulate why your big goals are important and valuable. And give yourself props for all the hard work you are doing.

#studysuccess, #academicsuccess, #lawschool, #lawstudent, #ASP, #barsuccess

Bar Exams and Law School Differ

For example, when you go into your Civ Pro final, you knew you would be tested on civil procedure. Bar examiners will fire questions at you on dozens of subjects, in random order –and they won’t be labeled! You’ll have to figure out what subject you are in, hopefully before even reading the full question.

The are many differences. The one I am thinking about today is with the MPT. Format your answer the way the Task Memo (sometimes called the Sr. Partner Memo) tells you to.

When my students show me beautiful Memos, for example, formatted just the way their Legal Writing professor told them to write and ask why they got low grades in bar prep, I simply say, “You need to follow the instructions for this exam.”

In practice, you may work for and report to different partners who will have completely different styles. You may appear before different judges who have different rules in their courtrooms. Likewise, when you are writing for the bar exam, write for bar graders.

In bar prep and on the bar exam, forget for a moment what you learned in law school and in any legal work experiences. Follow the bar examiners’ directions. (I say for a moment because all that learning will come back and be utilized when you are in practice.)

For more bar success tips and strategies, read or listen to the audio book of Bar Exam Success: A Comprehensive Guide –available on Amazon, ABA Publishing, and West Academics (free for certain law students who have West Academics subscriptions).

#barexam, #barsuccess, #lawschool, #lawstudent, #ASP, #academicsuccess,

Don’t wait to take practice tests!

Bar Review outlines are only as useful as you make them.  They do not come into the exam.  Only what is in your brain comes into the test site.  So, use the outlines now to help you learn, along with lectures, flashcards, flowcharts, and other learning tools. And, remember, the best way to learn law is to put it into practice!  So, be sure to be completing daily MBEs and MEEs and weekly MPTs.

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