How much time is needed to study for the bar exam?


Ashley Heidemann is the owner and founder of JD Advising, a law school and bar exam prep company offering services ranging from LSAT tutoring and application assistance to bar exam tutoring, courses and seminars.


 

Many students wonder how much time is needed to study for the bar exam. In this article, we tell you the total number of hours, as well as the total number of weeks, you should study for the bar exam. We also give you some important things to keep in mind when determining how much time you should spend studying for the bar exam.

 

How many hours total should I spend studying for the bar exam?

If you were an average law student, then studying for the bar exam for about 400 hours will likely be sufficient. About 200 hours should be dedicated to learning the law and memorizing your outlines. The other 200 hours should be spent completing practice questions.

Keep in mind that this recommendation may change depending on your circumstances. For example, if you did really well in law school (especially your first year), you may be able to put less time into studying for the bar exam. On the other hand, if you really struggled in law school, you may need to put in more time. Further, if you graduated from law school years ago, you may need to study longer than if you just graduated. Be sure to take into account your personal circumstances when determining how much time you need to study in order to pass the bar exam. 

 

When should I start studying for the bar exam?

The answer to this question will change depending on whether you are studying for the bar exam full-time or whether you are balancing other obligations. Generally, students who are studying full time (e.g., 40-50 hours a week) should start studying, at a minimum, nine weeks ahead of the bar exam. You should spend the first seven weeks learning the subjects and completing practice questions. You should spend the last two weeks reviewing the law and taking timed exams.

If you have other major obligations such as a job or family to care for, aim to study about 20 hours per week and start studying earlier than the traditional bar prep period. Many part-time students will start studying about 15-20 weeks prior to the bar exam.

  


What does it take to pass today's bar exam? Find out here.


  

How many hours a week should I study for the bar exam?

If you are studying full-time for nine weeks, plan on studying 40-50 hours per week. Treat it like a full-time job. However, make sure you are actually studying during your study time. This means you should not count the time you spend driving to the library, eating meals, talking to friends, etc.

If you are not sure how much time you are studying for each day, use the stopwatch on your phone. Press “start” when you begin studying and pause the timer whenever you take a break. This will give you an accurate idea of how long you are studying for the bar exam each day. 

 

Remember to focus on quality as well as quantity. 

Many students tend to focus too much on the amount of time they study for the bar exam rather than how well they study. Make sure that you spend your study time efficiently. If you find yourself mindlessly filling in the blanks on a lecture handout or reading an outline without concentrating on it, you are not studying efficiently!     

To maximize your efficiency, take a few minutes every week to ask yourself: Am I learning the law? Are my scores improving on my practice exams? What helps me increase my knowledge and improve my scores?  

By focusing on the quality of your studying in addition to quantity, you will maximize your chances of passing the bar exam.

 

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You can follow Ms. Heidemann and the JD Advising team on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Additional resources (including a blog which is updated daily) are available on JD Advising’s website at www.JDAdvising.com


 

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