‘Tis the season to be, stressed, anxious and overwhelmed? That is, if you’re studying for the bar exam.
If you are an upcoming bar examinee, the excitement typically associated with the approaching holidays can quickly become overshadowed by outlines, books, and other prep materials. Just because the bar exam is steadily approaching, however, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the winter season! Use these tips to maximize your studying while still making the most of the holidays this year.
It’s okay to say yes.
Studying should remain your top priority during the holidays, but that doesn’t mean it should be your only priority. Keep your mental and emotional health in check prior to the bar exam by giving yourself free time ever so often to do things that you enjoy. You’re not going to fail the bar exam just because you had dinner with your family or saw a movie with friends.
It’s also okay to say no.
Realistically, you will have to pass on some activities during the holiday season to focus on your studying. As a result, inform or remind friends and family members of your commitment to the bar exam and all that it entails. This way, you won’t feel obligated to attend every event that you’re invited to and they’ll be more understanding of your busy schedule.
Think rationally about your time.
Be reasonable and balanced when deciding how you can best use your time. Have you been consistently studying from 9 to 5 over the past week? To avoid burnout, it might be time to take a relaxing night off. Or, did you spend the past two nights with friends and missed out on getting 6-8 hours of sleep? If so it’s probably best that you stay at home the next few nights to catch up on sleep and dedicate more energy towards studying.
Don’t skimp on studying before a holiday.
It’s okay to take a holiday off from studying to spend time with family and friends and “recharge your bar prep batteries,” however, be sure that the days leading up to that holiday are completely dedicated to bar prep. Ultimately, it will ease your mind knowing that you’ve studied as efficiently as possible beforehand and can therefore afford some time away from your study materials. If you insist on studying on a holiday, simply review information from your prep program instead of forcing yourself to learn new concepts.
Commit to healthy eating.
The holidays are typically the most tempting time of the year to indulge and break away from healthy eating habits. From cookies to hot cocoa, it can be difficult to resist treats when they become so increasingly available to you. However, limit your consumption of sugar, caffeine and alcohol as much as possible. A diet of whole grains, proteins, fruits and vegetables will not only boost study concentration, but maximize energy, alertness and the overall health of your body and mind during your prep time.
Live in the moment.
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the bar exam that, even when you’re not studying, you’re thinking about all the material you have left to cover. Unfortunately, this causes your free time to be more stressful than the time when you are actually prepping. To avoid this, dedicate all of your time and effort to whatever activity you are participating in. When you are studying, be fully committed to study and when you have free time, allow yourself to let go of your ‘to do’ list and enjoy yourself. This will ensure that you maintain a healthy balance between study and leisure time before the bar exam.