Bar exam productivity tips



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.


Here we give you some time-tested bar exam productivity tests. These tips will help to ensure you are studying in the most efficient manner possible!

1. Do your hardest when you are most alert.

If you think memorization is the most difficult part of bar prep, memorize at your best time. For many students, this is soon after they wake up because they can focus when their mind is fresh. However, for others, it may be late in the evening or some other time.

2. Use a timer!

I had a student who would press “start” on her phone timer when she began studying each day. Then she would pause the timer every time she took a break (whether this break was simply responding to a text message or getting a snack). This allowed her to gauge how much time she was truly studying each day. It also kept her motivated to put in the necessary hours and study well. 

3. Use your learning style to your advantage.

Whether you are a visual learner, an auditory learner, or a kinesthetic learner can make a big difference in how you approach bar exam preparation.

Visual learners tend to learn better by rewriting elements of law, color-coding outlines, and using charts and diagrams. Auditory learners tend to learn better from lectures, study groups, repeating laws out loud, and using rhymes and mnemonics. Kinesthetic learners tend to learn best by actively reviewing their outlines, by using flashcards or mnemonics, and by moving (e.g., pacing) as they learn.

There are many different learning techniques that are suited to the way that you learn best. If you are not sure what type of learner you are, search for learning style quizzes online to see if you can gain any insight.

4. Incorporate breaks into your schedule.

It is helpful to incorporate three different kinds of breaks:

       - First, plan to take short breaks every hour or couple of hours when you study. A ten-minute break after an hour and a half of studying can go a long way. It can keep you focused! Do not try to study for eight hours a day without a break! You should also plan a fun thing to do at the end of each day, even if it is just watching your favorite television show or going on a walk.

       - Second, plan a longer break once a week. Even if you do not want to take a full day off of studying, take a half-day or quarter-day off as a reward for studying hard all week. This can motivate you to stay productive while you study. It can also keep you energized as you begin each week.

       - Lastly, plan a post-bar exam break. Whether this is a vacation or just a fun evening out, having something to look forward to once the bar exam is over will help you stay focused on passing the bar exam. It will also keep the bar exam in perspective and help reduce anxiety!

5. Name (and eliminate!) distractions.  

Take 10 minutes to think of the top things that distract you. Is it your phone? Is it people walking by you as you study? Is it social media? Be honest with yourself when you make this list!

Then, think of ways you can eliminate those distractions. If your phone distracts you, you could turn it on silent and keep it in your bag. If people distract you as they walk by, you could try studying in a different environment. If social media distracts you, you can either eliminate it from your life during bar prep or only have set times when you use it (e.g., in the evening when you are done studying or on weekends).

These are just a few of our favorite bar exam productivity tips. Good luck studying for the bar exam!


You can follow Ms. Heidemann and the JD Advising team on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn. Additional resources (including a blog which is updated daily) are available on JD Advising’s website at 


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