Waiting Until the Last MinuteRather than make the most of the opportunity they have to prepare for the bar, some people may be tempted to put off studying because the exam seems so far away. But the longer you delay your plans, the less time you’re going to have. Before you know it, the exam will be only a month away and you’ll have no idea how to catch up.
Getting Distracted Too Easily
Countless distractions can sidetrack your progress on any type of task. How many times have you sat down to write a paper or study for a test with the TV on or the music playing, and you get nothing done?
Preparing for the bar is no different.
After being a student for so many years, you should know by now what distractions affect you the most. If you’re someone who needs complete silence when studying, head to the library. If you need to bounce ideas off other people, studying in a group rather than by yourself is a better option for you.
As long as you can identify the type of environment you need to have an effective study session, getting distracted will be less of an issue.
Trying to Go Over Everything at Once
Usually when you start going over course material, your mind is really sharp at the beginning of the session, but as time goes on, you become less focused. As a result, the information you review early on has a better chance of being remembered than what you study at the two-hour mark. For this reason, it’s helpful to review the material in sections, dedicating each study session to one or two areas rather than trying to read over everything in one marathon session. Doing this will maximize your study time and enable you to retain more information.
Not Asking For Help
Since the bar covers a range of legal material, you’re bound to have a few questions as you prepare. Don’t be afraid to ask anything in your bar exam prep course because that’s what the instructor is there for: answer your questions, re-teach the required material, and provide valuable study strategies.
Relying Just on Memory
One of the worst study mistakes you can make is to rely on rote memorization. Yes, it is part of the process, but you shouldn't only study to memorize the material, especially in the beginning. You also need to understand what you're trying to remember. Depending on your memory alone would be extremely ineffective because of the amount of information you must retain and the depth you need to know it. You’re not just scratching the surface of legal principles; you’re diving in deeply so you can be fully prepared for any question that’s thrown your way on the exam.
Using certain study tools, such as mnemonics, allows you to both remember and comprehend the material.
Taking Ineffective Notes
Although repeatedly reading over your notes day after day isn’t the best way to study, it doesn’t mean that taking notes isn’t useful. During your bar exam prep course, you should take the time to write out, rather than type, your notes, but you should record only the necessary information.
Some people may think that taking good notes means writing down every word the instructor says. Not true. But taking a bar exam prep course that encourages note-taking is helpful, because your instructors will emphasize the key terms and concepts that you should pay special attention to.
It’s all about listening to the information, processing it, and writing it down so you can refer to your notes as you continue your review. Mindlessly typing on a computer or filling in the blanks won’t do you much good.
Poorly Managing Your Time
Procrastinating isn’t the only way to manage your time poorly when prepping for the bar. You could begin studying months before the exam and still be unorganized if you haven’t prioritized your time effectively or created a realistic study schedule. Make sure you clearly map out when, where and what you’re going to study, as well as the assignments you have to complete for your review course.