Bar 101: Tips on How to Prepare for the Bar Examinations
By: Archiebald Faller Capila
The next Bar examination will be one for the ages. Projected to be the biggest Bar yet, the #BestBarEver2020_2021 is expected to cater to thousands of examinees hailing from the graduates of the past two years as well as those who will be planning to retake their Bar. Indeed, this year’s exams will not only be big—it will be bold and brand new as well.
It is known to all that this year’s bar will feature as well several changes and reforms because of the current health crisis we are in right now. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s exam will be conducted online via designated testing centers by the Supreme Court. Accordingly, the application for the same has vied for a digital approach as well.
Indeed, this year’s Bar examinations serves as a benchmark and as a pioneer for future examinations to come. In this age of digitalization and utilization of modern platforms, the means as to how one would take an examination is indeed shifting. With this, we must keep up with the times and hope for better days ahead.
However, while there may be changes as to how we are about to conduct the Bar, the main goal remains—candidates must study hard in order to analyze the questions and hope for the best and pass the same. Considering that there are only a few months left before the NovemBAR, those who plan to take this year’s exam must prepare themselves to face the biggest test of their life so far.
How does one really prepare for the Bar exams?
This question remains to be the most trivial in a barrister’s mind. Indeed, the pressure of studying for the Bar comes with it a burden because of the several factors that need to be considered. In line with our advocacy to help those pursuing a career in the legal profession, we have compiled some tips and pointers from Bar passers on how to deal with the Bar.
Barrista Solutions lists down some of the reminders for our candidates for this coming exam.
1. Make your own schedule and calendar
One of the most important things to do in preparing for an exam is determining how you would study for the same. Accordingly, because you have limited time, try to make your own schedule per subject and plot the same in your personal calendar.
Some people would like to make a schedule based on equality among all subjects. Some tend to allot more time studying a subject which they believe is their handicap. Whatever you prefer, just make sure that you manage your time wisely.
In preparing for the Bar, remember that time is no longer a luxury that you can afford. Every hour counts. So make good use of the same by preparing and following your personal schedule.
2. Stick to one reading material per subject
It has been shared by a lot of Bar passers and eventual topnotchers—you must focus only on one reading material per subject.
The process of retaining knowledge in your review proper comes with a price. You no longer have an ample amount of hours to focus on several reviewers and reading materials. After all, this is already the review proper.
Choose one reading material that you are comfortable with per subject. Accordingly, the same could be supplemented by the codal provisions and some notes and handouts which you have from your professors or from reviewers from your Bar Review Center. However, when it comes to the main material, only choose one and focus on the same.
Now that you have with you a concrete schedule and a list of materials that you will be using for your review, take note of how fast you read and how much you understand in doing the same. Know your pace. Because the review proper spans only for a couple of months, you need to manage your time wisely every day.
Do not succumb to the pressure on how your friends read and how fast they finish specific reading materials. You must focus on your pace because it is only you who knows best your strengths and weaknesses.
4. Join study streams if necessary
Because of the current pandemic, we have not seen or contacted our law school friends. While some prefer to study alone, some still want to study in the company of their good friends. However, because of the said health crisis, students are barred from personally meeting their respective peers.
Nonetheless, they still have an option—to meet them online and to study with them through digital streams. If you are one of those students who prefer to study with your friends, then invite them to join streaming via Discord, Zoom, Google Meet, or any other available platform.
It’s always nice to have some company while preparing for a monumental event in your chosen career.
5. Don’t spend too much time on social media
While it is almost impossible to not have any time for social media, try to regulate the same and lessen your consumption. Yes, it is important that you be updated with the recent news and events that may have in them legal concerns related to the Bar. However, aside from those matters related to your review, try to minimize your consumption on the entertainment side of the same.
If you spend hours on social media, you will not be able to focus on your studies. You will fail to remember everything that you studied. Always be alert on how much time you have already spent scrolling through your feed. Set an alarm if you have to.
6. Train yourself to wake up early
You may not be a morning person but you have to try earlier than later. All lawyers and professors know that the body takes time to adjust. The Bar exams is a morning and afternoon event. In short, your body and mind must be functioning at a high level even if it is only the start of the day.
If you will be changing your body clock near the exam proper, then you might have a hard time adjusting. You must already train your mind and your body in order to prepare for a whole day of work.
Giving yourself a break is necessary in order to maintain balance in your respective studies. If you have some spare time, treat yourself to whatever you want to do so as to unwind and enjoy the process of relaxing. A mind that is too tired to think and function is of no use to the body. Remember that rest is essential in growth and performance. Always take care of your body by giving yourself a break—a reasonable one.
These are just some of the general tips we have gathered from lawyers and eventual topnotchers alike. May this list help you in whatever you are doing right now in order to prepare for the Bar exams. Rest assured that we will continue to list more tips on how to prepare for the Bar if and when there will be more suggestions coming from professors and other practitioners.
May you all have the strength to carry on. Good luck, future lawyers! You got this!