Bar Prep Marathon: Staying Motivated & Avoiding Burnout

Law graduate staying motivated during the bar prep marathon

You’ve heard it a million times: “Bar prep is a marathon, not a sprint.” By now, you’re probably sick of this cliche. But it has merit! Just as you must push through each of the 26.2 miles in a marathon, so too must you push through each day of this 10+ week study grind. Both are exhausting, but the following tips can help you stay motivated and avoid burnout as you race toward exam day. 

Set Goals 

One of the best motivators is to set goals for yourself. Your ultimate goals are obvious—to pass the bar exam and start your legal career. But remember to set smaller goals to break up the bar prep rut. 

For example, if you set a monthly goal to complete 1,000 practice MBE® questions, create smaller benchmarks to help you achieve it. You can set a weekly goal to answer 250 questions, which would require you to complete only 35 to 50 questions a day (depending on how many days a week you study). That goal is totally doable! Write down these goals so that you are more likely to remember and achieve them

Develop a Study Schedule

If you’ve ever started a new fitness routine, you know how difficult it can be to motivate yourself to work out consistently. The same is true for bar prep. Developing a daily schedule that includes when, where, how, and what you will study can help you overcome this hurdle. You will be more likely to follow through and be more efficient in your studies

When developing a schedule, consider your personal preferences. If you struggle to get started each day, start with an easier task to get yourself going. Conversely, if you tend to lag in the afternoon, tackle your most challenging tasks earlier in the morning. 

Make Studying Manageable

Schedule interruptions throughout your day to break your study time into manageable chunks. This structure will give your brain time to rest and keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Take a short nap, grab a small snack, or go for a walk. The key is to use these breaks to clear your mind and recharge for the tasks ahead. 

Mix It Up

Sticking to a schedule doesn’t mean that every day has to be the same. Maintain a general framework for your studies, but don’t be afraid to change up your routine. If you can’t stand the thought of going to the library for the 10th straight day, go to a coffeehouse instead. This new environment (and a caffeinated beverage) might be just what you need to motivate yourself that day. If the thought of doing one more practice MBE question makes you want to throw your laptop across the room, switch to another task. You can finish your remaining practice questions at the end of the day.

Surround Yourself With Positivity

It’s completely normal to feel isolated at some point during bar prep. Don’t let this impact your motivation. Take these feelings as a sign to reach out to your support system. Include your friends and family in your studies by having them quiz you, or form a study group. Group study can improve your learning, boost your self-esteem, and improve your overall psychological health. The key is to surround yourself with people who have a positive impact on your studies. If you are unable to meet with people in person, try online video calls or reach out to other students through an online bar prep forum

Maintain Perspective 

You’re not going to be at your best every single day, and that’s OK! You don’t need to achieve a perfect score on the bar exam, and you don’t need to be perfect in your bar prep. The key is to get up each morning and put in the work. 

You can do this, and UWorld is here to help! 

If you are prepping for an upcoming MBE® exam and want to make sure you are thoroughly prepared, click here for our FREE trial. We’ll have you ready to ace the MBE on exam day.

MBE® is a registered trademark of The National Conference of Bar Examiners® (NCBE®). NCBE does not endorse, promote, or warrant the accuracy or quality of the products or services offered by UWorld Legal.

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