How to Study For the Bar Exam…In Only Two Weeks
For whatever reason, sometimes bar prep gets away from you.
Here’s how to study for the bar exam with only a week or two left.
It happens to the best of us.
Perhaps you celebrated a bit too long after graduation. Or maybe you were so stressed out during law school that you couldn’t seem to get back in gear once it was over. Then again, maybe life or work obligations just got in the way.
Whatever the reason, all of the time you set aside for bar prep has elapsed…and you’ve got almost nothing to show for it.
Now—with only two weeks left—you have no idea how to study for the bar exam and still pass. Is it even still possible?
You’re Not Alone
Before we talk about anything else, I want to make it clear you are not the first student (nor will you be the last) to fall behind on bar prep.
It’s very tempting to think that everyone else you know is organized, on point, and on top of their calendar from their cookie cutter program. But I’m here to tell you that it’s a sham! There’s a TON of busy work on those calendars and it tends to get ignored. And many will tell you that your chances of passing are highest if you do 80% or 90% of those calendars…which means everyone is behind.
I’ve been teaching and tutoring for more than 20 years and I can tell you that a high percentage of my clientele has found themselves in the same boat you’re in right now. They may show up to class with color coordinated binders and three different kinds of paper clips, but at the end of the day, they don’t know how to study for the bar exam either.
And, if it’s any consolation, it’s not (always) their fault. Or yours, for that matter.
We’ll go over some of the reasons your bar prep fell apart (and what to do about it), but for right now, you can rest assured that it is possible to crawl your way out of the hole you’re in—if you’re willing to do the work.
5 Reasons Your Bar Prep Fell Apart
In a perfect world, exam applicants would be able to set aside all obligations and distractions for two or three months to focus on studying, memorizing, and taking practice exams. They’d have an expert coaching them on how to study for the bar exam so they could approach exam day feeling completely prepared.
But we don’t live in a perfect world.
And when bar prep goes wrong, it tends to fall into one of five categories.
1. Your program moved too fast.
The biggest challenge that first-timers have with bar prep is the rhythm and speed that most courses follow.
They might be covering a subject you haven’t thought about in two years. You probably need 10 days to really come to grips with the subject, but after just three days, they’re on to a new topic. And just when you’re starting to get your head around that topic? That’s right, time for a new one.
The longer the program goes on, the more behind you get.
2. You have limitations.
Do you have a job? A family? A disability (physical or otherwise)? Each of these things can affect the amount of time available for bar prep.
Your boss might say he’ll accommodate your study schedule but when that big project is due, you’ve got to step up to the plate. Then your kids need help with their homework. And Covid sure hasn’t done anyone any favors.
3. Things come up.
There are things you knew would be obstacles before you started…and then there’s everything else.
Your dog passes away. You get the flu. Your boyfriend cheats on you. You’ve been dumped. You find out you’re pregnant. I’ve had students who have gone through these things and more.
If you foresaw any of these situations ahead of time, you could have prepared for them. But these kinds of things have a tendency to sneak up on you.
4. You procrastinated.
I’ll just take the weekend to rest up. I’ll start again after the holidays. I can’t study tonight, it’s the Super Bowl.
One or two excuses probably isn’t going to hurt anything. But make it a habit, and before you know it, the exam is just a couple of weeks away and you haven’t written a single practice essay.
5. You didn’t take it seriously.
Then again, maybe you just didn’t bother to buckle down and study the way you should have. After all, you did great in law school, why would the bar exam be any different?
Then your classmates start telling you horror stories about how many times they had to take and retake the exam. Now you think you at least should have looked at more flash cards.
You know it was a bad decision, but what can you do about it now?
How to Study For the Bar Exam…In Just Two Weeks
At this point, you don’t really need to know why your studying plan fell through. You need to know how to study for the bar exam with the time you have left.
Luckily for you, I have a plan to save your exam.
I’ve spent the last 20+ years as a law professor and bar exam tutor and have single handedly developed a unique method to help you pass the bar. My 1-on-1 tutoring program covers all three phases of the exam and is based on painstaking study of every year’s bar exam.
In just two or three months, I’ll have you ready and confident.
But you don’t have two or three months.
For last-minute bar prep that gives you your best shot at success, I’ve written two books to help you spot issues, outline essays, generate points, and feel more confident walking into the exam.
- WINNIN’ TIME! contains Bluebook-ready rules in bite-sized, memorizable pieces, with data compiled from every version of the exam from 1993-2019.
- The Trigger List provides you with the issue spotting help you’ve always needed. If you’re a law student, you just need four hours with this book and you’ll be set for one subject. One week and you’re set for the exam.
You don’t have much time left. You can use that time to panic or you can get the shot in the arm you need and pull out that passing grade.
Time to Take the Bar Seriously
While it is possible to learn how to study for the bar exam in just a week or two, it won’t happen unless you put the work in.
If you’ve got time off, take it. If you don’t have time off, try to find a way to take it anyway.
Your future success depends on the results of this test. You’re not just passing the bar, you’re launching yourself into a lucrative career. Now’s the time to buckle down and make it happen.