I was extremely blessed to have found a good study group during bar prep. My study group consisted of a mix of first time takers and re-takers. I studied with people that I did and did not study with during law school. We only studied for the MBE during our study sessions.
Getting started was a little shaky. Our library was closed due to summer break and the places around town that offered an atmosphere conducive to studying were limited, in fact, we didn’t find any. My friend ended up volunteering her apartment, which worked because she did not have to find a babysitter and we were able to study for as long as we needed. We met on Thrusday’s at 7 pm.
But some people are afraid of groups. A group can be too chatty or just not gel. But groups are also very beneficial. Preparing for the bar exam is not like anything else I have ever done. It is traumatic in a very weird way. It is hard to explain to people who have never experienced it, the stress and anxiety it brings. A study group can serve as a support system. We probably spent the first thirty minutes venting about everything. Remember, life does not stop because you’re studying for the bar.
Below are some tips to forming good study groups for bar prep.
- You have to respect the people in the group. Seems like a no brain-er, huh. But let’s be honest, there are people we went to school with that for one reason or another we simply do not respect. If you don’t respect them, you won’t listen to their reasoning for an answer and it’s not conducive to learning.
- Be consistent. Meet on a designated day at a specific time and place. This may be a little shaky in the beginning, but once you establish a time and place, stick with it.
- Plan meals. My study group was awesome, especially the host. She literally cooked for us every Thursday. She said it helped her de-stress. But do not fear. No one has to cook, but you all can plan to order a pizza or even plan a paper bag lunch. It is difficult to study when you are hungry, so be realistic about the need to take food breaks.
- Think about how many people you are inviting to the group. I invited ten people to study and ended up with seven people in our study group and it worked well for us. I do not suggest going bigger than seven.
Tips for a beneficial study group session.
- Do not be afraid to voice your opinion, even if you are the only one who selected the answer choice you selected.
- It is not a competition. A study group can be a bar preparation tool. No need to compete. After all, it does not matter how many you get wrong at study group, it only matters what you get right on test day.
- Do not move on until you understand why the correct answer is correct. Study groups are especially beneficial for this reason. If you answered something incorrectly and you do not completely understand why, have someone in the group explain it to you.
I found it most beneficial when we answered a number of questions silently first, under timed conditions, then discussed why we choose the answer we selected, then looked up the correct answer and discussed why the correct answer was the correct answer. This process really facilitated learning.
Are you apprehensive about participating in study groups during bar prep and why?