Burnout or Brain Bliss?

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There are two schools of thought about studying for the bar exam from late May through early September. Some are adamant that burnout will occur, and therefore it is a terrible idea. Others think that it is the perfect opportunity to prove the benefits of spaced repetition, and that having more time to study will allow the brain to remember more. I lean towards this second school of thought, but recognize that the truth might be somewhere in the middle.

If you are studying now for an exam in September, you don’t want to go hard all day every day. The benefit of having a longer time to study, is the ability to go a bit more slowly. The three main tasks of bar study remain 1) bar review lectures, 2) annotating/reviewing memorization materials, and 3) practicing MBEs, MEEs, and MPTs. You still want to do each of these things as you go through the bar study period. But, you don’t need to do each every day. You can space it out. So, one day you can watch a lecture and do/review a set of MBes. The next day you can outline the lecture notes from the previous day and try an essay. For now, you can do an MPT every week or even every other week.

If you are planning to study for four hours per day, you may wonder what to do with the other hours. There are a few options. A number of people are working part-time jobs. Others may have family/childcare responsibilities. For those of you that don’t, remember that your number one goal is to stay healthy – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Take care of yourself. You are living through a terrifying global pandemic with a confusing, overwhelming, and failed government response. You don’t need to be productive every minute of every day. You do need to breathe, to move, and to stretch.

Make a plan for the whole bar study period. Then take it one day at a time. Be kind to yourself, and those around you.