How to Pass the Bar: Tips to Stay on Track

We all know that there are times when anything feels better than studying. But avoiding studying is simply the worst thing you can do. So what do you do when Bar Prep invades your life for a full 2-3 months? Read on for how to pass the bar, using three tips to keep you on track.

How to Pass the Bar: Use Positive (or Negative) Reinforcement

It’s all about knowing yourself. What do you respond better to? Would you rather:

  • Allow yourself a wonderful reward after a day well spent on studying, or
  • Force yourself to do something distasteful if you’ve allowed procrastination to win the day.

Personally, I respond better to the first, positive reinforcement. If you are like me, come up with a rewards system. Possibly for every single day that you put in “your all” for Bar Prep. (We’ll discuss what that means in a second.)

Maybe you want to buy something, or many somethings this month. Make a list. Put the most desired and/or expensive objects at the bottom of the list. Work your way through the list by rewarding yourself each day with a purchase! Or maybe your reward is something that doesn’t require money. As long as it doesn’t take up valuable study time, your imagination is your limit. Go for it and reward yourself for every day that you stay on track.

If you fall into the second category of negative reinforcement, the same thing goes. Think of negative consequences if you waste part or all of your day. Be honest with yourself! Actively studying is very different than passively studying. The former will get you your bar card; the latter will get you a ticket to the next seating of the Bar Exam.

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How to Pass the Bar: Keep Your Goal In Front of You

The exam seems far off, but a movie with friends is happening right now!

If this sounds like you, it would serve you well to put up something that is a daily, constant reminder of your goal. This could be a list of all the payoffs of really committing to your well-planned study schedule.

Others may want to put up a photo that encompasses the same or similar ideals. As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Here are some ideas:

  • Find a photo of an attorney making an awesome closing argument. Use Photoshop to insert yourself in the photo. Now you can really visualize yourself crossing that bar in the courtroom, and engaging in the career you’ve dreamt about for the past 3 years!
  • Maybe you’re more into mergers and acquisitions, or the big payday that comes with a personal injury settlement. Make a collage with photos of everything you dream about doing once you get that beautiful certificate from the Supreme Court of your state!

Then, try anything to keep that goal directly in your face every day. Make it your screensaver, the wallpaper on your phone and tablet, or hang it from your rear view mirror. Never forget what it is that you are working towards.

How to Pass the Bar: Take Care of Yourself

Start and end your study at the same time each day. Work hard, and take short breaks.

When taking short breaks, focus on your goals as previously stated. Breathe and meditate on them, and relax your brain. You need short breathers in between intense sessions of studying, just the way a bodybuilder needs to rest their muscles in between sets.

And when your day is over, let it be over! Take a nice, long soak in your tub. Watch a movie with your loved one. Relax and unplug before bed, so that you can get a good night’s sleep.

Remember, it will all be over soon – sooner than you can imagine! Whether or not you have to endure this painful period of study again depends entirely on what you do right now. Commit yourself to doing whatever it takes to pass. Then you can enjoy knowing that you are a member of the Bar…who never has to sit for the exam again!

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