How to start bar prep the right way


By Ashley  Heidemann 

Are you getting ready to start bar prep? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone! Studying for the bar is a huge undertaking, and it can be hard to know where to begin. These helpful tips will ensure that you start your bar prep the right way. 

Minimize Distractions

Studying for the bar exam requires long periods of intense focus. To make the most of your study time, you’ll want to cut down on potential distractions. Before you start bar prep, think about how you can minimize disruptions to your study. For example, if you are frequently distracted by your phone, make it a habit to leave it in your desk drawer or backpack when you study. If you are distracted by social media, consider deleting or hiding social media apps on your phone so they are not easily accessible. 

You should also think about when you study best. If you do your best work in the morning, consider getting up early or rearranging your schedule so that you can study in the morning. You will be focused and productive if you take advantage of your best time of day! 

Work Backward to Determine Your Start Date

A typical bar taker’s study schedule looks something like this: at least seven weeks spent learning the different legal subjects, then a week (or, ideally two) of review leading up to the test date. To come up with your own schedule, think about how much time you want to review at the end of your prep. Then, consider how many weeks you’ll want to spend learning the applicable subjects. Once you have both in mind, you’ll have the basic framework of your study schedule! 

Once you know how long you plan to study, you can fill in the individual weeks with the subjects you plan to cover. Don’t forget to include breaks and days off in your study schedule -- your brain will need to rest and recover! 

Note that if you take a commercial course, the course will often have a suggested study schedule. Feel free to tweak it to fit your personal needs. If you know you struggle with certain subjects or certain skills (like writing essays), modify the schedule accordingly. 

Be Strategic

You should approach your bar prep with the goal of being as efficient as possible. This means spending more time on the topics that are more frequently tested, rather than trying to master every single potential topic. You have limited study time, so make the most of it! 

Bar prep is also the time to lean on the study methods that worked for you during law school. For example, if you know that you’re an auditory learner you will benefit from watching video lectures and talking through concepts. If you are a visual learner, you will probably benefit more from reviewing your outline along with charts, diagrams, and other visual aids. 

If you’ve been wondering how to start bar prep, you’ve come to the right place. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to success.

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.