College students get a bad rap for being procrastinators. When we asked 900 law students when they started studying for the bar, we didn’t expect as many procrastinators in this group of smart, driven and motivated law students. Yet, 71 percent of students said they begin studying for the bar exam after graduation.
We get it; you’re busy during law school, especially when you’re a 3L. You have jobs. You have classes. But with such an important exam looming, we thought students would buckle down to study sooner.
While the idea of waiting until after law school to study might be tempting, we encourage you to start early. Waiting until a few months or weeks before leads to more stress and last-minute cramming.
According to our survey results, only 17 percent of schools mandate a prep course, and 32 percent of students gave their schools a “D” or “F” in bar exam prep. Our findings show that it’s up to students to find their own ways to master the bar exam. Our best advice: Consider studying for the exam a three-year marathon, not a months-long sprint.
Here are some tips for studying early and successfully:
Use flashcards for your classes and bar prep – Starting with your first semester of law school, use flashcards. They are an efficient way to study and help you avoid the time-suck of rewriting notes. Later on, you can use the flashcards to study for the bar.
Recognize your weaknesses – For instance, our student data shows practice scores are typically lowest in contracts and real property questions. If you struggle with a certain class or part of the law, it’s best to start prepping for that portion of the bar early.
If your school offers a prep course for 3Ls, take it – The extra prep won’t hurt you. With a prep course, you’ll get an overview of what to expect from the bar exam. The more knowledge you have about the test, the better you can tackle the studying.
Although it can be hard to feel motivated to study as a 3L, remember how hard you’ve worked the last three years. You don’t want your efforts to go to waste because you put off studying. When you pass the bar and avoid the stress of cramming, you won’t regret the extra hours you spent studying early.