We’re about four weeks into BarPrep. Are you kinda-sorta-totally losing your mind already? You’re not the only one. Honestly, I’d be more concerned for you if you lacked panic and fatigue in your daily routine. Studying for as long and as hard as we do, it makes complete sense that you’re a frazzled ball of nerves. I am, too. It’s okay. You will be alright and you’re not going through this alone. I promise.

At the start of bar prep, I found myself dazing out for several minutes at a time listening to lectures but not actually hearing the information. During these times, I realized the need to go back and rewind to collect my thoughts and my notes. It frustrated me so much. I think it was a combination of forcing myself to listen to a recorded lecture, which never worked for me as an undergrad or graduate student. So, why the hell did I think it would work now?

Instead of grinding out the lecture time, I reached out to a professor who suggested I toss the video lectures and only read through the outlines. She also encouraged shorter reading sessions followed by a necessary break. It seemed entirely wrong, but I tried it. In having done this for a week, I can say that this version of my studies experienced a positive effect. My MBE practice scores are in a good to better range and I am on track. I was feeling off-kilter and am thrilled to settle on a studying approach that works! If the method your bar prep program suggests doesn’t work for you, don’t be afraid to change it up. Work with your learning style and their tools!

Between studying, the breaks are crucial. My friend Dax (who already aced the Bar in February) keeps posting kind, motivating words on our class facebook page. It’s incredibly thoughtful to hear from a friend, as well as have the reminder that “hey, there’s life after the bar exam.” It may seem silly, but those words – offering peace and a gentle reminder to step away from the books – are wonderful. Do what you can to take a break and give your mind some ease.

I took time off for a [much-needed] three-day weekend with some of my best friends. We plan an annual Girls’ Weekend and, holy cow, was I desperately in need of seeing these phenomenal ladies!

We visited Colorado Springs, went hiking, and talked about everything under the sun. I let go of so many thoughts I’d put energy into. I took deep, steadying breaths atop amazing cliffs and enjoyed deep-belly laughs with members of my support system.

You must deal with your stress. Figure out a way to get rid of it so you can focus the entirety of your energy on preparing for this exam. You’ll feel rested and ready to tackle the next subject when you’re not filling your mind with other stressors and situations you have no control over. You can control the effort you put into preparing for the exam, so get it done!

Here’s hoping you have an excellent study week!