Adult working at home office
Adult working at home office

Lifestyle Tips for Bar Prep: Halfway There 

Remember that reward we told you to plan for yourself before you started? This is the week to enjoy it! Getting halfway through studying for the bar is a massive accomplishment in and of itself. Some days may have been hard, but you kept going. Give yourself credit! You deserve it.

…after that, it’s time to prep for the next half.


Update Your Study Space

After weeks of studying, there’s bound to be some clutter. Clear the mess! Princeton Professor Sabine Kastner, who’s dedicated years to researching human attention, found that visual clutter can fatigue our cognitive functions over time. It causes our brain to have to work harder to focus on the task at hand.

Also—how’s your back? Elbow? Wrist? Make ergonomic adjustments if you need to. Consider a laptop riser, a standing desk, a whole new location!

And, if you can, add a little something nice to your desktop: like some flowers, a candle, a picture of a trip you want to take after you pass. Whatever or whoever motivates you and keeps a smile on your face—add a reminder to yourself someplace you can see it.


Pause Social Media

Does seeing what other peers are doing give you anxiety or jealousy? Do you spend too much time with screens and lose hours of your day? Or are you on before bed and it’s impacting your sleep?

A 2017 study found a direct correlation between sleep disturbances and young adults (ages 19 to 32) who use social media 30 minutes before bed. And if you think that’s no big deal, just remember that sleep is vital for helping you retain information long-term.

Give This a Try: Consider removing social media from your phone until the bar exam is over. Or, if that seems too drastic, set a time and day when you can go on for an hour without worry.

And for bedtime, treat yourself to a book you’ve always wanted to read and charge your phone in another room. That way, it will feel like a little reward vs. a punishment when you pause your nighttime social media use.


Take Breaks

It may seem counterintuitive, but taking more breaks throughout your studying is linked to a higher overall ability to effectively learn and engage with information. And with weeks left to go, you need to do all that you can to help avoid burnout.

Multiple studies have been done on how often and for how long you should take a break—and recommendations vary (jury is still out), but in general, every 50-90 minutes, you should take a break for 15-20 minutes.

Give This a Try: If you find 50-90 minutes too long of a stretch, try the Pomodoro technique. Set a timer on your phone or find a free app that will let you know every 25 minutes that it’s time to take a 5-minute break. After four cycles, you then take a more extended 15-minute break.

What to do on your break? Move around! Switch over your laundry. Eat a quick snack. Whatever gets you away from your desk.


Arrange Your Bar Plans

Nothing helps relieve stress more than preparation. And while you’re doing everything you can to study for the bar, make sure you’re also ready to take the test.

Make hotel reservations and book your travel if needed. Make a list of what you want to pack and what materials you need for the test and start collecting them (pencils, pens, water, approved snacks, any health items you may need such as medications). The sooner you get this done, the less you’ll have these things in the back of your mind, and the more you can focus on studying!


Up next: It’s the homestretch. What to do the Week Before the Bar.