What should My Routine be while Preparing for My Bar Exam?

The bar exam study period is right around the corner, and you are wondering, “What routine should I keep?  Should I still exercise?  Should I drop that yoga class?  Can I still see my girlfriend on the weekends?”

Here’s the best advice I received, and I’ll pass it along to you:

Whatever routine you were engaged in before the bar prep should be the same routine you have during the bar prep.

That means if three was the number of days you were working out before January or May, then it should be the same number you are working out during bar prep time.  If you were single before you started preparing, don’t start new love interests during.  If watching American Idol or Keeping up with the Kardashians gave you your weekly release, keep up with it then.

Try not to do anything that will dramatically change your focus or energy, whether you’re adding or taking away activities from your normal schedule.  Preparing for the bar exam will require a lot of focus, energy, and nerve, and if you make significant changes to the normal routine you are used to, it may become a noticeable and unhealthy distraction for you.  Considering the bar is akin to a two-month finals preparation, minimizing changes and distractions will be best.

Here is a personal example.  During my last year of law school, I simultaneously took several courses at the community college, including singing, acting, and dancing.  So, when bar prep time rolled around, what do you think I did?  I continued taking singing, acting, and dancing classes!  I am the type that could not focus solely on bar preparation, without other activities in my schedule.  I knew this about myself, and I knew I would need these classes as an outlet during bar preparation, just as I needed them during law school.  So, I stuck with the same routine and did what I had been doing.

I am not advocating taking a singing and dancing class during your bar prep program (although they can be very good in helping you blow off steam), unless, of course, you have been doing so before.  I also continued my habits of reading other books at Barnes and Nobles, exercising, and playing intramural basketball, all of which were part of my routine.

What I did not do was make any moving arrangements before the bar.  Technically my lease expired in December, but I made arrangements with my roommate to stay with him the next two months, thus avoid moving and adjusting to new living arrangements and roommates during bar prep time.

Also, I would not advocate dating new people during your bar prep (unless you were doing so before).  Being in new classes in community college, naturally I met new people.  At one point, I noticed myself getting flirty with another acting student, giving myself an excuse to do something other than bar prep.  Once I noticed my chit chat time on the phone was replacing practice exam time I should have been doing, you can be sure I put my flirty distraction on hold (lost the girl, but passed the bar!)

For those of you who were working before the bar exam, I would recommend not working or significantly limiting the amount of hours you work.  This is not so much a question of keeping the same routine, as it is a matter of putting enough time and energy towards the bar.  Even if you can take a few hours extra off per week, that could make a significant difference.  If you can’t take any time off, just make up for lost time with proper focus and discipline.  People have worked full time and still passed the bar, and you can too.

So, as best as you can, try and keep doing what you have been doing.

Good luck on your bar exam!

Get used to reading this: “This name appears on the pass list.”


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Dustin Saiidi, author of The 7 Steps to Bar Exam Success, graduated in the bottom half of his class, but passed the bar exam on his 1st attempt. He shares how he overcame those challenges and gives tips, advice, and strategies so you can pass your bar exam, stress-free.

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