Monday, August 1, 2011

Bar Recap

I know you feel neglected from my past month of absence. But it was necessary to completely 120% focus on studying. Of course, 120% focusing on studying is pretty near impossible, and if you do it you might go insane, but not blogging was a step in the right direction.

For the last three weeks of studying I spent 8-12 hours every day in the library, watching BarBri videos, writing outlines, reworking those outlines, making flashcards and practicing essay and multiple choice questions. At the end of that I still didn't feel confident about the amount I knew or my ability to actually take the test.

I suppose it is a bit of an accomplishment that I took the two day, three hours in the morning, three in the afternoon, test. But it doesn't feel like one yet. It will feel like one when I pass. Whether that is in November, or if I have to retake the test in February. In the same way that graduating from law school did not feel like much of a celebration, taking the bar does not feel like much of an accomplishment.

However, whether in November I am celebrating my butt off, or planning my study attack for the February bar, I think it would be helpful to write down some of the things I liked and disliked about studying. And by liked and disliked, I mean what I think worked and didn't work, because it was all dislike.

What Worked:
*Not going to the Caymans with Tallman. I really regret not going, but I think I made the right choice, I needed lots of time and going to the Caymans would have started me out behind. (especially since they didn't have reliable internet!)
*The multiple choice all day practice test administered by BarBri. That was a good experience, it helped me from being panicked the day of the bar.
*Typing all my BarBri notes into outlines. It took a lot of time (3-4 hours every day watching the videos, then 3-4 hours typing the notes into outlines), but now if I have to take the bar exam again I do not have to watch the videos, and I can just focus on memorizing information, and practicing questions.
*Condensing those outlines into mini outlines, these were really good to actually create, because unlike the big outlines I needed to think about the material in order to condense it and it helped me learn.
*Spending long days in the library. I liked the consistency and the lack of distraction. Though if I have to retake the bar, I'm going to do my studying in a different library, just for a change of scene.
*Pacing my studying throughout the summer, and really heavily focusing on the last two weeks. Those last two weeks I was a bit of a mess, personal care took a back burner to studying, but I feel good about the amount of time I was putting in then.
*Talking with friends about the essays, but not the multiple choice. I don't know why but there it is.

What Didn't Work:
* Spending days only watching a video, then typing the long outline, and doing a few multiple choice questions. I know I didn't really have time for more in a day, but I wish I had started learning the substantive law, memorizing it, earlier
*Food. I ate way too much fast food. WAY. TOO. MUCH. 
*Not working more on weekends earlier on, because of the amount of time the videos during the week I didn't have time to do as many practice questions as I now know would've been useful, or memorizing things. At the time I thought I was doing myself a favor by taking breaks, but I couldn't ever stop thinking about the bar, studying, or how I should've been studying. I should've just started studying earlier on weekends, instead about thinking about studying while trying to relax, it probably would've been more relaxing.
*There wasn't enough time. I wish the videos had started earlier, and ended sooner, so there was more video-free time before the bar.
*I wish I had done more practice essays, and more practice multiple choice after I had a chance to start memorizing the law.
*I took off July 4th weekend. At the time I thought I was doing myself a favor by relaxing, but now I'm not so sure, please see the above three bullet points.
*I wish I'd had more time to study my flashcards. Period. End of Story.

I recognize that a lot of my bullet points about what didn't work had to do with timing, and we'll know in November if it was as important as it seems right now. But the last two weeks felt so productive, learning wise, that I wish the whole last month had felt like that, and in comparison the first month seems like I was wasting time. (I know this isn't totally true, but still...)
Sorry for the long post, but even if these notes mean nothing to you, I guarantee they'll mean something to me in November.

If you just took the bar, please leave a comment and add what worked for you and what didn't, I'd be really interested to hear about other people's experiences.

No comments:

Post a Comment