Photo cred @MARK.C
I facilitated a bar prep study group this weekend.
It was magical to observe the power of the study group being unleashed. Study groups get a bad name, but there truly is a benefit to them, especially when studying for the bar exam. It is not too late to incorporate a study group into your bar prep. Here are a couple of benefits from a study group.
- Study groups provide a sense of community. All too often people make the mistake of studying by themselves for the bar. I studied by myself as well, but it’s important to connect to people who know what you are going through. I met an attorney at a CLE who agreed that all hell broke loose while she was studying for her bar. I experienced my own share of trauma during bar prep. While few of us disclosed our hardships, it was helpful to be around people who understood the amount of stress you were under; people who could support you and encourage you throughout bar prep. Bring some food, fellowship and relax with your peers.
- You learn to trust yourself. Of course everyone is nervous to share their answers. But during the process, you realize your reasons are just as valid as everyone else’s and you realize that you’ve learned something. Sometimes you will be the only one with your answer, but that doesn’t mean your answer isn’t correct.
- Different perspectives facilitate learning. Different perspectives are key in a study group. In a good study group, your study mates will expose you to different reasons or different ways to analyze and memorize information. The discussion will also help you remember what you went over on test day.
- You can vent about the panic attacks and stress/ anxiety induced ailments without judgement. Most people who have never prepared for this test simply do not understand the pressure. I went to the emergency room twice. I had aches and pains in places I never ached. It seemed like the only people who could related were my fellow bar preppers. We shared stories of crying for no reason. It was very comforting and let me know that I was not going crazy.
It’s important not to isolate yourself during this process. Studying in and of itself is isolating enough. Be sure to connect with your peers. Preparing for the bar exam is mental. Take care of your mental health. My study group only met once a week. Our study session was the highlight of my week during bar prep. I could not have made it without them!
Questions about the structure of the study group sessions? Comment below!