Posted by: hjelen87 | June 13, 2013

Studying for the Bar Exam is Like…

BARBRI brain

Lots of people told me how terrible studying for the bar exam would be, but I’m not sure I really understood until I started doing it.  Now I often get asked by others not going through it what it’s like.  So in an effort to explain in a way that you might understand, I give you: studying for the bar exam is like…

Running a hard workout every day and never getting an easy day or a day off.

No recovery!  You take time off & you just get more behind.  If this was how I structured my running, I’d get injured.  Come to think of it, can you injure your brain from too much thinking?  Can I sue BARBRI for that?  (Answer: most likely not…assumption of risk)

*For those of you who don’t know, BARBRI is the course that I am taking to prepare for the bar exam.

Being the only one working at a coffee shop with a drive-thru during a rush.

Where do you focus your attention?  The drive-thru?  The inside customers?  Making drinks?  Did that customer just slip and fall, causing you to be liable for negligence?  Ahhh too many things to think about!!

Having PMS all the time for 3 months straight.

Overly emotional.  Crying at the drop of a hat.  Everything seems to be a bigger deal than it is.  It’s PBS: Pre-Bar-exam Syndrome

Having to study for 15 finals all at the same time and having them all count for your entire grade.

Actually, on the Virginia bar exam there are 25 different topics they expect you to have mastered.  Oh, you’re going into immigration law and will never have to use the law of wills and trusts in your life?  Doesn’t matter.  You must know it to be licensed.

Trying to tread water and then having someone throw you bricks to hold.

Just when I feel like I’m getting something, they just throw more at me and I’m drowning again!

Trying to memorize the entire Old Testament in 2 months

SO. MUCH. INFORMATION.  Have you seen all these books?


Attempting to add more music to your iPod when it is already at full capacity.

Pretty sure my brain reached capacity already.  It is now attempting to push out things that I have no use for anymore, like Britney Spears lyrics from the 90s.

Being stuck in a tunnel for hours while on the Metro during rush hour.

Sometimes you just feel trapped.  Stressed out but there isn’t a thing you can do about it, because after all, you chose to be here, didn’t you?  Even paid $3,000 for a bar prep course and another $1,000 to register for the bar (and, oh wait, what’s that?  You want me to pay another $125 to use my computer?  Sure, just throw it on top of my hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt from law school…).  There’s no turning back now.  But hey, at least there are a lot of other people going through this with you (at least, according to my Facebook there are…I’m doing the course online so I never actually see them).



  1. Studying for the bar exam is like childbirth. One of the most painful experiences you will ever endure. But much like that moment when you see your child for the first time, when you get the letter informing you that you passed, the pain disappears and is only a distant memory. Keep your head up! You can do it!

  2. Oh yes. It’s also very much like being overtrained (similar to what you referenced with point 1).

    But you will get through this. Promise. One mental foot in front of the other.

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