Take everything I’m about to say with a grain of salt because we all learn differently and have different study methods. This is just what worked for me.
1. I deleted my Facebook account one week after graduation. And wow, you do not realize how much time you’ve wasted on Facebook until it’s gone. It took about two weeks to kill the habit of logging into Facebook as soon as I open my computer but now I don’t miss it. Every so often I’ll ask my friends if anything interesting has happened to anyone we know. Most of the time the answer is no or so and so got engaged/married. About a month ago I created a new account but I have yet to friend anyone. I do not feel the need.
2. I rationed my fun. There are 1000 fun things to do in New York City during the summer and several times I felt the urge to drop my books and explore but the bar is something I only wanted to suffer through once so I picked one (or two if I was feeling especially stir crazy) fun thing to during the week to keep me sane. One time I watched the world cup on the big screen outside of the Humphrey Hotel. It’s so much more fun watching a game with a bunch of rabid fans.
3. I used a bar prep course. The big three bar review courses are Barbri, Kaplan, and Themis. I used Barbri (no, this is not an advertisement for Barbri) but if you google “bar prep course” dozens more options come up. I don’t know anyone who studied without a course, but I know a lot of people who used Kaplan or Themis and passed. Anyway do your homework and figure out which course is right for you. But whatever you do, don’t pay the sticker price. Negotiate with them. We’re lawyers for goodness sake.
4. For the most part I stuck with the plan Barbri gave me. Barbri gives you an insanely detailed schedule of which videos you’re supposed to watch and what subjects you are supposed to review each day. By the time it was bar exam day I had done 75% of the Barbri suggested material and I passed. Some of my friends did less and still passed.
5. I made flash cards for nearly every subject. Yes it was pain to get them done in the beginning but in the final weeks before the bar I was happy that I could flip through notecards instead of multiple outlines.
6. I got off my butt and went to the lectures. All the bar review courses give you the option of watching a lecture at home on your computer or going to a designated location and watching the lectures in a classroom. I chose the latter. The lectures are extremely boring and I knew that if I watched them at home I would get lazy and pause the videos multiple times and take extra long breaks. Going to the classes kept me on track but perhaps you are more disciplined.
7. I didn’t use a study group. I like to talk, and I get distracted easily so I studied on my own. But I had a couple friends taking the New York Bar too and we texted questions back and forth.
8. I liked reading bar exam tweets. Somehow it calmed me to know everyone else felt as unsure about passing as I felt.
9. I rewarded myself. On the weekends I picked a library in the city located near an eatery I wanted to try. If I reached my study goal for the day, I got to go to Doughnut Plant. If not, I ate no treats. It worked for me.
Like I said, this is just what worked for me but I hope it helps someone. Also, walking out of the bar exam feeling like you failed is normal. That’s how 99.9% of people feel when they’re done.