This blog is going to look a bit different this season. Although the bar exam scene nationally is changing daily, and is offering three bar exams this year (July 28-29, September 9-10, September 30-October 1), this blog is going to focus on those individuals who are going to be taking the September 9-10 bar exam. Studying for the bar during a global pandemic brings unique challenges.
You have two primary goals here:
- Stay healthy
- Pass the bar
Your goals are in that order for a reason. Stress can suppress our immune system’s response, and bar study brings on stress. Pandemic fatigue (and warmer weather) can cause us to venture out and take more risks. Make sure that you always keep in mind that your number one goal is to stay health. Evaluate all risks before you take them. Your health matters much more than the bar exam.
My students have often heard me say that some people are the healthiest they have ever been during bar study as they adopt a healthy diet and exercise routine. Others take the cookies and ice cream make me feel good route and use junk food to de-stress. Both are viable options — and I’ve been eating more than my fair share of cookies lately — but be mindful that you’re also probably moving around less, so take care of yourself.
Studying in a pandemic also brings the unique challenge of studying from home. For many, home may not be very conducive to studying due to space limitations, other people, and noise. Do your best to carve out a space where you can have your computer and books. Talk to the people you live with about what your space needs are and what your study schedule will look like. It is certainly not ideal to be studying at home all the time, but you can manage to do it successfully with a bit of planning and open communication. You may also want to purchase noise-canceling headphones or a sound machine if noise is an issue. There are also some white noise apps that might work.
If your space situation is not working, think about ways to change it. Can you move your workspace closer to a window so you get some sun? Can you watch lectures in one space and do practice problems in another? Think creatively about how to use your space to maximize your comfort and productivity.