Next to waiting for the bar exams results, the grueling 5 months review before the bar exams is probably the most difficult trail by fire experience (Reminds me of burning your finger in an electric fireplace insert) a would be lawyer would go through before actually becoming a lawyer. The 5 month review is no joke at all. I would even go to the extent of saying that the experience is more gruesome than the actual bar exams month itself. For some, the cost involved in terms of time, money and resources is even equivalent or more to your four years in law school.
The 5 month review before the bar exams runs somewhere from late March to late August. Since this period is the last time wherein you can review the concepts you have learned from doing four years law school before taking the actual bar exams, you must therefore make the best out of this review period. Here are some tips that I have personally experienced on how to make the best out of your bar review. The points given below are just an “overview” on my personal tips on how I went about my review before taking the bar exams. I will write about each point more extensively in future posts.
1.) Plan – The saying “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail” is definitely true especially when it comes to preparing for the bar exams. You cannot just go through your day, week or month by reading what you just want to read. You need to impose a strict schedule, and you must adhere to this schedule with a Spartan discipline. When you fail to plan you almost always achieve nothing or only a little bit of something. What is worst is that you almost always fall prey to Murphy ’s Law and Parkinson’s law. You must know how many pages you are suppose to read for a certain period of time. Taking the bar exams is like going to battle and the only way to win is to make a good battle plan.
2.) Choose a manageable book – Books are like food. What might taste good for you might not taste so great at all to me. One man’s meat may be another man’s poison. So choose your books wisely. Do not get a book on the basis of what others say. Always get a book that you can finish easily and most importantly one that you can easily understand and one that can really help you pass the bar exams. Do not get a book that is too thick. If you cannot finish reading that book within your budgeted time, it will have an adverse psychological effect on you. When you take the bar exams, you will keep thinking that you are unprepared for a certain subject since you did not finish the book you are reading for that subject. So make sure you choose a book that you can easily finish within the time frame you allocated. (For a list of my recommended books for the bar exams, see the post entitled: Recommended books for the Philippine bar exams review)
3.) Get a day off – The human body is like a machine. It needs maintenance and rest. It is highly recommended that you take a day off every week. Do whatever you want with your day off. Whatever you do, don’t study on your day off. Don’t even think or dream about the bar exams. Make the best out of it. See a movie; go to the beach or go mountain climbing, surfing or bungee jumping. Color your hair if you want but when that day is over always go back to your books.
When I was reviewing for the bar exams, I scheduled my day off to be every Monday. I never studied during this day. I only studied for 8 to 10 hours from Tuesdays to Fridays. Saturday and Sundays were spent at the review center.
So get yourself lost in whatever you want to do during your day off. Anyway when you come back, the bar exams will still be there for you. Getting a day off is “sharpening the saw” so to speak. I promise you, you will come back more refreshed and ready to tackle the next 100 pages.
More bar exams review tips in the next posts to come.