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Guidelines for Studying for the Bar Exam

Today is my first day of BarBri class.  For the next 10 weeks, I will be on a regimented schedule of going to class and studying as I prepare for the Arizona Bar Exam.  Thankfully, I am a person who thrives in structure, so being on a strict schedule should work well for me.  I have been thinking about what guidelines will apply to my life during Bar prep.

  1. A Student of the University of British Columbi...

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    Stick to the BarBri schedule – go to class every day and study for a total of 8 hours a day, 7 days a week.  It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.

  2. Use study techniques that work for me: class, outlines, and flash cards.
  3. Everyone is banned from the house unless they have an invitation.
  4. Do 30 minutes of walking, jogging, swimming, biking, or yoga every day.
  5. Eat a balanced diet – lots of fresh fruit, veggies, and protein; minimal sugar; & plenty of water.
  6. Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
  7. Avoid people and places that bring excessive drama to my life.
  8. No TV except for my weekly indulgences of House and Deadliest Catch.
  9. When I’m studying, I cannot have my cell phone where I can see or hear it.
  10. When I’m outlining on the computer, stay off of email, Facebook, and Twitter.
  11. If I realize that I’m just staring at my books without doing any productive work, STOP and take a break.
  12. The default response to any invitation to social events until the Bar is “No;” however there must be the occasional fun event to maintain my sanity.

I’ve spent the last few days getting the house in order so that I will have as few distractions as possible while I’m studying.  I have also been reading Chad Noreuil’s The Arizona Bar Exam: Pass It Now.  I’m grateful that my family and friends are being supportive of me and my process.  One of my friends has already put me on notice that if I’m too non-responsive to the point that he worries that I’m getting unbalanced, that he’ll stage a raid.  I doubt that will be necessary but it’s good to know that people care about me enough that they would be willing to do that.

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Maintaining Perspective in Law School

I’m taking six classes this semester.  In two classes, the professors like to assign 70-150 pages of reading per class.  I’m also working on two papers and doing research for a professor.  Needless to say, I’m pretty busy.  I feel like I’m constantly running between classes, work, and other commitments.   When I have “free time,” I’m struggling to get through my immense reading assignments and hoping that I’ll remember half the information.  I had to quickly accept that the majority of my weekends this semester would be taken up with reading.

By four o’clock this past Saturday afternoon, I was tired of reading cases.  There was no end in sight, and, if anything, I was becoming a little panicked by the amount of work I had left to do.  I decided if my Saturday night was going to be spent alone with my books, then I deserved to study with cake.

I don’t keep junk food in my house.  My rule is I can eat any junk food I want if I’m willing to leave the house and get it.  One of my guilty pleasures is the “single serving” of white sheet cake with frosting from Safeway.   I usually make myself walk or ride my bike to get my junk food, but the sky was turning dark with storm clouds and I didn’t want to get caught in the rain.  I also didn’t feel like I had the time to spare, so I opted to drive.

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As I pulled out of my driveway, the reality of my life hit me like a ton of bricks.  I thought, “Wow, I can read.”  I spent  my drive to the store thinking about how many people in the world don’t know how to read, especially women.  I am surrounded by piles of books and more information than I know what to do with.  How many people don’t have the opportunity to go to school?  Who am I to bitch about all the opportunities I have, when the majority of people on the planet never have the chance to go to law school or even get close to it?  My life is awesome, even when it’s hard.

This experience doesn’t change the fact that I miss seeing my friends, getting a full night of sleep, or having enough time to shower every day.  It has, however, made the long lonely hours more bearable.

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