We are officially at the half-way mark during bar prep, and the pressure is likely building. With the feelings of increased pressure, stress, and anxiety comes this feeling of needed to study more. At times, this can cause many students to burn out. This post discusses ways to handle the emotional rollercoaster that is bar prep in order to reduce the risk of burn out.
How Do You Know You’re Feeling Burned Out?
One of the classic ways you can tell you’re burning out is that you have to read something over and over again (MBE question, flashcard, outline, etc.) in order to comprehend what it is saying. When this happens, it’s important to take some time away from studying and your bar prep materials. However, this time away needs to be balanced with making sure you have adequate study time because of how little time students have to study for the bar exam. The best way to avoid burning out is to prevent burnout from occurring in the first place. But, how can we do this, when all we are doing is studying?
Preventing Bar Exam Burnout
Get adequate sleep: Believe it or not, getting regular sleep is one of the best ways to prevent burnout from occurring. You need your body and mind to be their best on any given study day and especially on exam day. When you’re feeling burned out and exhausted from lack of sleep, turn off your alarm for the next morning. Allow yourself to sleep in and get the rest you need to recharge.
Take regular breaks: Do not force yourself to study for 10 hours a day with only a half hour of breaks in between. Give yourself regular breaks throughout the day to walk around, and give your mind a break. If you’re feeling completely overwhelmed and exhausted to the point where a break isn’t enough – take the day off. Yes, this is okay to do. Do something that allows you to not think about the bar exam for the rest of the day, and get a good night’s sleep that night. You should be recharged and ready to go the following day.
Exercise and eat well: Be sure to adequately fuel yourself during your bar study, planning your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and even the snacks you’ll have in between. Planning your food intake is just as important as planning your study day. We lose focus or feel exhausted when we haven’t had adequate nutrition. Further, exercise helps a lot with preventing burnout. It allows you to channel a lot of your stress into physical activity, which allows your mind to better focus. Exercise and eating well are two things that normally go out the window during the fast-paced world of bar prep, but including them into your schedules can actually help you avoid feeling defeated from exhaustion.
Incorporate creative and mixed study strategies: I’ll just say it – studying for the bar exam is boring. Doing a boring activity for hours and hours can cause burnout. Try something new in your study that you do not do a lot of, like making charts or something else active. Try studying in a new space for a change in scenery. Try studying near a friend. Fighting the boredom can help you combat burnout.
These are just a few ways to prevent and deal with burnout. It’s important to take care of yourselves during this stressful time so that you can be strong both mentally and physically to take this exam. This just doesn’t need to happen the week of the bar exam, but it should happen throughout your study.