What can make bar prep any easier? Having all of the time in the world to study? We all know the gift of time would make a great difference! Planning ahead can give you the precious time back you need to pour into your studies.
There are tasks that we will inevitably encounter. Keeping a list of these items and making a gameplan to check them off can actually make bar study life easier. Check out some of the ways you can proactively set yourself up for success:
1. Address Your Health Needs
Your overall health and well-being comes first and foremost. Taking care of your medical, mental health, dental or other health needs is critical to ensuring you are in good health. Waiting for a health issue to become more serious or even an emergency can cause stress and can be risky. For example, a law school friend needed to get her wisdom teeth pulled out, immediately. The recovery was painful, costly, time-consuming, and in the thick of exams, but necessary. She wished she had taken care of the inevitable before the semester began, as she knew she needed to take care of this for quite some time.
Take this as a cautionary tale to get your health needs checked out in advance. If possible, before diving into studies, make the necessary health care appointments, get the medications you need, etc. For example, get your annual physical and dental cleaning and x-rays or whatever else you may need. Knowing where you stand will really help you to plan what can be done in advance and what can wait. Most importantly, you are taking care of yourself, and that is one of the best things you can do towards bar prep!
2. Tackle Bar Exam Logistics
If you have already registered, you can start planning how you will approach your days before you are in the thick of bar prep.
Transportation: Specifically, determine transportation and the logistics involved. For example, if you are driving to the exam, look into parking options. If you are traveling from out of town, make decisions around how much time you need to settle in and relax so that you are not arriving too close to the night before the exam.
Lodging: Whether you are taking the exam locally and staying put at home, or traveling and staying with friends, family, or yourself at a hotel— definitely think through what you need to succeed before test day(s). The benefit is you know very well what you need from your law school studies. If you live with others, you may need to have a discussion and lay some ground rules about what you need to be restful and ready. For example, sleeping in close proximity with someone who needs to watch endless loud TikTok videos before bed will not be ideal when it is midnight, and you need to be at your very best the next morning.
If you will be in a hotel, prepare bringing what you need to feel comfortable such as your own breakfast to store in the mini-fridge, or to scope out what is nearby such as Starbucks or other favorite breakfast options.
3. Laptop Maintenance
We all know from law school that exam horror stories usually involve a laptop crashing, or otherwise causing trouble. The good news is that you have the time now to make important moves to ensure that you are not the one in laptop hot water on exam day. Get your laptop checked if you have a warranty. Get the necessary updates. Back up your laptop information. Do all the things you can do to feel comfortable before the exam. Perhaps you are looking into a new laptop altogether for the exam. Be sure to have enough time to use it during bar prep so that you can feel comfortable typing with it and maneuvering around quickly.
4. Prepare Loved Ones
At some point, your family and friends will need to know you are diving into major study endeavors that are on a different level from law school. Get this out of the way early so that everyone knows what to expect and what you will need such as lots of hugs, chocolate, and understanding. You may even want to get them involved!
5. Confront Finances
Financial planning is so important so that you don’t fall behind any commitments and can prevent stress during bar prep. There are tools to help. If you are working through bar prep and possibly reducing your hours which may affect your pay, be sure to budget the bar prep months and how you will meet your financial obligations. If you aren’t working altogether and need help with payments, creditors can help you with payment plans and setting up autopayments.
Empower yourself in every aspect of bar prep from health to finances! Lastly, consider items that are not on the list but that are bound to come up for you depending on your circumstances. For example, you may need to arrange day care for your kids or pets for exam day. Take matters into your own hands so you can give prep your all!