A Day in Life Studying for the Bar Exam

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I’ve been complaining about studying for the Bar Exam for week on end. And I don’t think most of yall get what that means. Actually, no one understands what it means except those who have studied for the bar before or who are currently studying for the bar. 

Here’s what a typical day looks like: 

8:00AM Get up and eat breakfast, reminisce about how weird your dreams were and think about how you didn’t get enough sleep. Drink a cup of coffee. 

8:30AM Drink second cup of coffee. 

9:00AM Start BAR review course for the day. In a classroom or online. Start on third cup of coffee. 

11:00AM Break. Refill coffee and grab whatever snack you brought and eat it while you fill out review sheets. 

11:10AM Start review course back up again. 

1:00PM Lunch and coffee.

1:30PM Start review course back up again. 

3:00PM Break. Spend it staring at a wall, going to the gym if my brain can function, or eat a snack.  Or run to target to just you know, be in target. 

4:00PM Take quizzes, write essays, watch supplements, or do flashcards. 

7:00PM Dinner. And, yup, caffeine. 

8:00PM Quizzes, essays, supplements, or flashcards. Or review any class parts I need a little extra help in.

10:00PM Break. Snack, tv show (maybe 2), a movie, or perhaps craft project. Snack usually wins.

11:00PM Finish anything I think I need more practice on. Preview outline for the next day. 

12:00PM-2:00AM Bedtime. 

Now add to all of this the overwhelming feeling that you will not pass the exam, the stress that you actually do not understand all this information, and the creepy and ever present worry that you’ll freak out during the exam. 

A common misconception is that this test is ‘just a review’ of what students learned in law school. I cannot stress this enough but that is NOT TRUE. On the Bar I will be expected to write intelligently and answer tricky questions on subjects that I never took a class on. This isn’t just me. There is no one who has taken a class on every bar topic. I repeat NO ONE. So basically I learn an entire semester’s worth of material in one day and am expected to be able to connect that to every other subject. Also, this does not just mean you’re learning brand new topic, this means you could be learning up to 10 brand new topics. 

Every class we took our 1L year is on the exam. That means that everything I learned three years ago will be on the exam in a major way. Did I study for those exams? Yeah, three years ago I did. Do you think I’ve reviewed them since then? Nope. No one does. So the day you review those entire semesters you keep thinking oh wow I totally forgot about that tiny minuscule fact that changes everything. Then you proceed to bang our head against the wall.

Want to know the absolute worst thing to say to a bar student? You’ll do great. To a person who is studying for hours upon hours a day and is sacrificing health and sanity to take this test, saying that phrase sounds like a dismissal. A better thing to say: I can’t imagine the stress you’re under, I’ll pray for you. That would be awesome. I think I would cry if someone said they would pray for while I’m studying and taking the bar. 

Also, if you tell me you went out and drank and partied and had a long weekend, I might slap you across the face. Oh wait, if I say that it’s premeditation and shows intent… whoops scratch that. But remember it because I will. 

Oh and you dream about really weird stories in which you start thinking about all the ways you could prosecute someone. It’s like the Law part of Law and Order is playing on repeat in my head. 

Who wants to take the Bar now?