Bar-exam expert Dr. Mary Campbell Gallagher, President of BarWrite®, which offers bar-preparation courses in New York City and at law schools around the country, asked her students for ideas for reducing stress and maximizing study results before the bar exam, and she chose these ten suggestions:
1. Make a realistic daily schedule that includes both study and exercise. Plan for variety in your studying, and stick to your plan. Get up early and do your most challenging studying first. Take a five-minute break every hour. Work steadily. Do not aim for speed, which just causes stress and reduces how much you can learn.
2. Pray. Do yoga. Use meditation or hypnosis tapes. Get a full-body massage the last week.
3. Stay away from electronic devices that intensify stress, Facebook, MySpace, blogs, text messaging, and email. Turn your cellphone off. Use earplugs while studying.
4. Get plenty of sleep.
5. Schedule some time on one special day each week for taking care of yourself. Get a haircut, do your grocery shopping, clean your room.
6. Schedule 15 minutes every day for having fun. Walk your dog, play a musical instrument, horse around with your children. Read something enjoyable before bedtime.
7. Have one supportive person you can speak to for 10 minutes a day, your safe person.
8. Focus on how much you have done to prepare, not on how much you have not done. If you do what you plan to do every day, that's all you can hope for. Your results on the bar exam are in the hands of the gods.
9. Breathe deeply. Breathe in for seven counts, hold for one count, exhale slowly for seven counts. Repeat until calm. Relax. Smile.
10. Finally, perhaps the man who made this last suggestion was not serious: Listen to Barry Manilow recordings while you study, to increase the pain. Then you will never want to take the bar exam again.
BACKGROUND ON DR. MARY CAMPBELL GALLAGHER and BARWRITE®. A graduate of Harvard Law School who holds the Ph.D. in linguistics, Dr. Mary Campbell Gallagher is president of BarWrite® and BarWrite Press, which offer large courses preparing candidates for the bar exam, and author of the book and CDs Scoring High on Bar Exam Essays. The St. John's Law School Forum called Scoring High probably "the best money you can spend on bar exam preparation." Dr. Gallagher's new book, Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT), is just out, and it has received rave reviews. A widely-published writer and consultant, Dr. Gallagher lectures at universities around the country. For information on BarWrite® courses and publications visit http://www.BarWrite.com.
SCORING HIGH ON BAR EXAM ESSAYS . This book "may be the best money you can spend on bar exam preparation." -- The St. John's Law School Forum. PERFORM YOUR BEST ON THE BAR EXAM PERFORMANCE TEST (MPT): TRAIN TO FINISH THE MPT IN 90 MINUTES "LIKE A SPORT(TM). A Study Guide for All Bar Exam Performance Tests, and for Law Students and Practitioners, to Develop Strong Organizational Habits "Like a Sport" and Produce More Efficient Work Products. BARWRITE® TEN-DAY COACHING GROUP helps you pole-vault the bar. "My MBE went from a 126 to a 149!" - Gemma Waananen Kenney (Member, New York and New Jersey Bars). BARWRITE® THREE-DAY NEW YORK ESSAY AND ONE-DAY MPT BOOT CAMPS boost bar scores. "Dr. Gallagher takes the mass of information studied and teaches her students how to apply it effectively in essays." Christina Valentine, Australian solicitor (Member, New York Bar). Read the announcement here about the new BarWrite Boot Camps.