Bar Prep Take 2

As most of you are probably aware, I am now preparing to take the bar exam for the second time. I missed a passing score by just a few points the first time around and you can read more about all my thoughts about it in this post.

I am moving forward from this setback and I am determined to fix my mistakes and pass this darn exam the second time around. I am reevaluating my study strategy for my second go round to make sure I learn from my mistakes and remedy them moving forward. Failure can be heartbreaking but the best thing to do is use it as a learning experience and motivation to conquer whatever you set your mind to. So here are 4 ways I am revamping my study strategy for bar prep round 2.

1. More Time
The first time I studied to take the bar exam, I thought I had plenty of time. I started about 3 weeks earlier than the course required and really only took maybe 3 total days off from studying throughout the whole process. Yet, it still wasn't enough time because I had two subjects that I was unable to put aside time to really delve into and they ended up being my downfall. Because there is so much to learn for the bar exam, if you begin to struggle with something, there will likely not be time to fix that later. I kept thinking that I would have time to go back and clean up a few subjects I was struggling with but I didn't and it bit me in the butt big time. The lack of time off also led to extreme burnout which impeded my motivation (more on this later).

To remedy this on my second try, I am starting an extra month early. This way, I can devote extra time to the subjects that cause me problems and I can schedule in some days off to give myself a mental break and hopefully avoid burnout. I have the time in my life so I see no reason to not jump in. I feel motivated and ready to knock this thing out of the park so I am going with that motivation and getting to it.

2. Critical Pass
For my first attempt at the bar exam, I only utilized my Themis bar prep course and my own personal notecards. While I liked the Themis course and I absolutely do not think it is to blame for my failure to pass, I thought it may be a good idea to look into some supplements. I have heard great things from many people about the Critical Pass flashcards for the MBE. They have a pack of flashcards for each MBE subjects as well as access to the Critical Pass app to run flashcards on the go through your phone.

I bought the Critical Pass flashcards for the MBE this time around. I think that it will help me through my tougher topics and help boost my MBE scores. If you are interested in Critical Pass flashcards for yourself (they have them available for law school subjects, MBE and MEE), you can get 10% off your order of Critical Pass flashcards by ordering through this link

3. Better Schedule
The first time I studied for the bar exam, it took me over a month to get into a rhythm and a good schedule. I think this hindered my productivity and efficiency. I felt very disjointed and like I was spinning my wheels for a large portion of that study period. It took some serious getting used to and just like when I started law school, I had to relearn how to study because bar prepping is different than law school or anything you have done before. The second time around, I can learn from my previous mistakes and start out with a good schedule from the beginning. Because I was so close to passing, I know a lot of what I did the first time around was working. I just need to reinforce the good habits and cut out the bad habits this time around along with streamlining my focus into my weak areas.

Here is the schedule I am shooting for this time around.

I plan to take a 10 minute break each hour of studying throughout the day along with a 30 minute lunch break sometime around the noon hour (I am not going to plan it specifically because I just want to happen when there is a natural break in my study flow). That will allow for bathroom breaks, snack breaks, emailing, social media, etc. and still give me lots of study time. 

I will continue blogging but I will not plan out the time for it. I will just do it when I have time/energy/motivation. Same with my other hobbies; I will do them when I have time and motivation. I will still have my evenings to spend time with my husband and watch TV, read, cook, visit with friends, wrap Christmas presents, etc. This winter, my husband is volunteering Tuesday and Thursday evenings so it gives me a little extra study time before he gets home for dinner. 

I was also very conscious of making time to exercise- sitting at a desk all day gets really old. I find that if I move my body before I start, it makes me less restless and I focus better. Just one of the lessons I learned on my first go round with bar prep. Also, I am planning out time to get out of the house and change up my scenery. I go stir crazy if I don't leave the house enough so I figure if I study elsewhere two mornings a week, it will help keep me from going nuts from being in my house too much.

4. Days Off
I touched on this earlier but this time around, I am planning in some days off from studying to hopefully avoid burnout. Last time I bar prepped, I got SO burnt out by the end. It made be almost useless for the last month and ruined my mental health. I don't want to do that again so I am planning ahead for mental breaks.

I am planning to take Sunday mornings off (see schedule above) and also, I am planning for some days off peppered throughout. I will obviously take Thanksgiving and Christmas off from studying... maybe even New Years day. My husband and I already have a trip planned to Disney World for 4 days in December so that will be another little study break. I also have preplanned a few weekends where I can go to the barn and hang out with my horse for stress relief. If I am being productive and efficient during my study time, along with starting early, I should get everything completed easily.

Now, time for me to hit the books! Bar prep round 2 starts today!

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