Life

Tips on Braving the dreaded Bar Exam

Finally, I can write this post. 😊 I would not have made it to the other side if it were not for people who supported and believed in my capabilities.

You, too, can get that period to your ATTY but if you are looking for a surefire formula to pass the bar exams, you cannot find it and you never will. The bar exam is ever changing. You cannot use the strategy that others previously utilized when they took theirs.

Hence, what I wrote here are some of the things that can guide you along during review season a.k.a. the six months before NovemBAR. (Special thanks to my friends, now fellow lawyers, for sharing their tips for this post.) 😗

Enroll in a review school

There are a lot of bar review schools in the country. You can even review online. Enrolling in a bar review school gives you access to latest notes, latest cases, and a new perspective on each provision on the law. It does not mean that the review professors have a different understanding of the law. It simply means that you might be opened to a fresh way or angle on how to tackle a subject.

Keep in mind that you are not required to attend all of the classes although it largely depends on what type of student you are. If you are the listener type, then, religiously attending the classes may do you good. However, if you are a library person like me, I suggest that you choose the classes which you will attend. It will give you more time to review.

Choose the books/reviewers you will use

You do not have to read every book and reviewer that may come your way. Prefer the book that you used in law school, the one you are most comfortable with.

Never ever ever forget your codal. If you cannot read the entire book (duh. 6 months, you are planning at least 3 readings, and you are such a turtle in reading), read the codal, and read it by heart. It is not enough that you memorized everything. You cannot use a memorized provision if you do not understand how it works.

choose the books
Codal+reviewer+coffee
Be comfortable with your pen

During the bar exam day itself, you will be writing for approximately 8 hours. It is like joining a marathon. You have to practice before the actual day in order for you to finish strong. By now, you should have chosen which pen to use during the bar.

Remember, a good and readable handwriting goes a long way. Thus, you should also practice writing with the pen you chose. Instead of doing workbooks, you can jot down notes during review classes. It is one way of practicing your handwriting.😉

Create a schedule and make reading a habit

Six months may seem long but considering the number of subjects (and sub-subjects), those months easily fly away. Having a schedule keeps you on track as to what subjects to read and when to read them.

You can follow the schedule of your review school so that you are prepared whenever you attend the classes. There were times when I have not finished reading the reviewer but I know deep down that I need to attend a class. There was no time to cram over the subject so I read the codal instead.

Never attend a class without reading anything about the subject. Hindi ito law school na kaya mong maghabol ng basa sa cases habang nagkaklase. Mabilis ang review. Fast forward lahat. A single review class can even finish the codal in a day. Studying topics/subjects beforehand will help you to effortlessly keep track of what the professor will be saying and prevent you from sleeping in class! Moreover, it will help you to easily remember everything during the exam.

sched
A sneak peek of my July schedule
Never be selfish

Some bar examinees have this mindset that they will not share their notes and reviewers to others because they might get better or achieve higher grades in the exam. If you think that all bar examinees are enemies, think again.

The ‘enemy’ here is the bar exam itself. Examinees should not view each other as competitors but, rather, as teammates. Mas masaya pumasa ng sama-sama. Hence, you should not be selfish. Share your notes and knowledge to others. Have a healthy debate amongst yourselves. By that, you are not only helping yourself succeed in the bar, but you are also helping others brave the same.

Take some time to rest

You cannot study 24/7. Try it and your mind will not be able to relax during the exam itself because your brain cells are too stressed from all the reading and sleepless nights. When you prepare your study schedule, as previously suggested, also take time to schedule a movie date, a massage, a trip, or any activity that relaxes you. Believe me, after that time off, your mind will be refreshed and you will be ready to take on more readings.

take some time to rest
Have a break 😛
Keep in contact with your friends

Ever heard of the saying ‘misery loves company’? It’s sooo true especially in preparing for the bar exams! I know you may want to be away from humanity for a while but I suggest that you keep a few of your closest friends in the loop. It will help you keep track of the dates to remember (as in applying with the Supreme Court and getting your ID), recent rulings, changes in review schedule, and a lot more. Do not isolate yourself from the world. Mag babar ka lang, di ka mag eermitanyo.

friends
My friends during and after the review. We made it! 😊
Never limit yourself to ‘tips’

During bar review, you will receive a lot of messages about who the examiners are, the list of topics that will be asked in the bar exam, and a lot more. Some examinees tend to study only these topics, and cram in reading the books of supposedly examiners. Never ever go that way. No one can be absolutely certain who the examiners are much more the questions they will ask. Even the Bar Chairman is not sure of the questions to be asked. The preparation of the exam is a long process but it is not your task to meddle in it. Your job is to study hard and well. Study all the topics listed in the syllabus (a.k.a the entire codal).

Health is wealth

The road to ATTY. requires endurance not only of the mind but of the body as well. Take care of your body. Have enough sleep, eat healthy, drink a lot of fluids (by fluids, I mean water not alcohol but it is ok to drink once in a while you are taking the ‘bar’ after all 😉), take vitamins, and exercise a bit.

health is wealth
I ordered snack boxes from City Meals during review 😊
Never compare yourself with other examinees

Each examinee has his/her study habit. Do not make the big mistake of comparing why your law school bff has read a particular subject 4x and it is just July. Be loyal to your schedule and study at your own pace.

Of course, pray, pray, pray unceasingly

As the show Goblin portrayed, there is always some deity listening.

When you do not know what to do, you are too stressed, you think you will die of studying, say a prayer. More importantly, when you finished studying a particular subject, when you feel inspired to read a lot, when you reached your reading goal for the day, say a prayer as well.

You may call all the saints you know but I do hope you will not call them only when you need them. At the end of the day, it is only He who can grant your desires, so never cease praying.

pray pray
Thank you, Father 😊

Which tip have you been doing so far? What tips can you share to our bar examinees? Share your thoughts! Comment below or drop me an email at mirriamdictionary@gmail.com.😊

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18 thoughts on “Tips on Braving the dreaded Bar Exam

  1. Congratulations, Atty. Miriam! What a great achievement indeed! This must’ve been such an overwhelming experience. I agree with all those tips, and these do not just apply to the bar exam i guess but to all other licensure exams too. I love that you talked about competition vs being team mates. During my time when i was to take the nursing licensure ages ago, some friends and schoolmates doesn’t even want to share anything at all, even the schedule of the last review class and it was funny how they reacted like that! But im glad we all made it. The real battle after all those struggles is the serious work which to me doesn’t make any sense because i wasn’t able to practice it due to family priorities. Anyhoo, good luck on the new chapter of your life and God bless! 🙂

    1. Thank you very much, Elizabeth ❤ Yes, I think these can also apply to other licensure exams. By the way, happy mother’s day 😊

  2. Congratulations Atty. Miriam! This is a great list and sobrang agree ako sa mga pi-noint out mo, I guess this wasn’t only applicable to the bar exam but to other board exams too.
    And I love your Goblin reference!😊
    Congrats again!😊

    1. Hahaha thank you, Jessy. I hope this can help ease others’ worries when it comes to exams. 😊

  3. Weee!! Congratulations Atty. Mirriam! You finally crossed the line. You made the journey easy in some way. But it’s true, having enough rest will also help in the bar. But, I love the fact that you quoted Goblin! Isn’t he cute? And about the notes, some are even selfish during their law school days. It’s weird, but I guess they’re grade conscious or whatever? Oh well. Enjoy and good luck with your career!

    1. Thank you for your warm greetings and kind words, Maria ❤ haha the Goblin story is so unique!

  4. Congratulations Atty Mirriam! My husband’s also a lawyer, and we’ve been dating since college so I watched him go through law school and eventually prepare for the bar exam. It’s definitely not an easy feat- so props to you and your hard work! I love you included resting and meeting up with friends in your list of tips – I know how incredibly gruelling and mind-wracking it can be – and not taking the time to recuperate and breathe can psych you out even more. It really isincredibly important to breathe, have fun and to gather emotional support from friends. Congratulations again! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Pia. Indeed, the presence or lack of emotional support can make or break a bar examinee. Hats off to you for being such an understanding and supportive girlfriend back then 😊

  5. Wish u cud also acknowledge that it wasnt ur first time taking it…no offense, i just think it would be more inspiring and helpful esp for thise who wasnt able to pass yet.or better next post pls post ur experiences when u wer taking d exams and how u wer able to overcome ur challenges

  6. Congratulations, Dear! You really inspired me to pursue my dream of becoming a lawyer someday. Those are really great tips not limiting to studies only. The journey to becoming an ATTY should be a balanced lifestyle. What I just realized is that, while reviewing for the bar exam, set romance aside for a while haha.

    1. Hahaha well, I think that depends on the person. My boyfie supported me during the entire review. 😉

  7. Wow! Congratulations! My best friends is taking the bar this year, hoping for the best and will definitely pass along the tips you shared! Good luck on your future endeavors atty! 😀

  8. Awwwe! Congratulations Atty. Miriam! This is totally a great achievement worth sharing. I agreed with everything that you pointed out on this post. I guess this can be applied on any examination too since I was able to use some when I took the nursing licensure exam 5 yrs ago. Haha! Totally agree about studying at your own pace and don’t compare yourself to your classmates..and don’t forget to always Pray! A prayerful goes a loooong way!

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