Congratulations to the law school class of 2020! You guys did it! You are LAWYERS. Now let's work on the attorney part and add that fancy "Esquire" title to your name. What does that mean? It's time to PASS THE BAR. Last summer I was in the same position as all of you - getting ready to take bar prep class and spend the entire summer doing nothing but studying... yikes. I'm not going to lie to you. It's not the most fun time I've ever had. However, I successfully made it through and passed the bar on my first try! Thank god. So now, I want to help YOU do the same. I'll be sharing lots of tips and bar prep strategies over the next few weeks. However, first thing's first, I wanted to make sure you have everything you need. So, without further ado, here is my list of all the things you need to successfully study for the bar!

A Bar Preparation Course

So chances are, by now you have already purchased your main necessary item for studying for the bar - a bar exam preparation course. The major companies that provide these courses are Barbri, Kaplan, and Themis. Personally, I enrolled in Kaplan's "Live at Home" course, which I will be writing a full review on in the coming weeks. Honestly, any of these courses will give you what you need. I already wrote a post on how to select the best bar prep course, so if you need to pick one, check it out!
Caffeine and Case Briefs: How To Pick The Best Bar Prep Course
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A Desk or Table

This may be obvious, but please don't try to fully study from your bed. Make sure you have a good flat surface for your computer and books, whether it be an actual desk or a dining room table. If you're like me last summer, I had moved in with my boyfriend at the time, and our space was less than ideal. We had a small desk, but he was also in grad school and needed it for school. So I had no table and also no money - because bar prep summer often means being poor.

So what's a cheap solution? Try a folding table! Easy to take down when you need and it doesn't break the bank. You don't have to be fancy to be successful.

Have a little more money in the bank or space for a more permanent solution? Amazon has some great desks they can ship right to you!

A Portable Laptop Desk

This was a LIFESAVER to me during bar prep. You know how I just told you that you need a good table or desk for bar prep? Well, that's true. But sometimes you'll want to move around. You might want to sit on your couch, or in a comfy chair, or even your bed. You're studying a lot and you're going to want to change it up. So grab a good quality laptop desk. We have this one, with a phone stand and mouse pad and it's possilbly my favorite purchase ever.

Blank Flash Cards

This is an idea I got from Brandy, better known in the blog community as The Legal Duchess. The bar is a test of memorization. One of the best ways to memorize material is a strategy that most law students are familiar with - making flash cards. And with the bar, you cover A LOT of material. So stock up on your blank flash cards! This giant pack from Amazon comes with different colors and a bunch of rings to organize them and was a total lifesaver for me!

Poster Boards and Markers

One way to help you memorize is to continuously repeat writing information. You'll make outlines, write essays, make flash cards, and rewrite and read your outlines over and over again. But that all gets boring after awhile. In the weeks approaching the bar, I found myself needing new ways to study. So I decided to make posters of the most important parts of each subject. Not only was this fun, but visually organizing the information really helps you process the information. You can put these posters up on your wall at home, or even on the walls in your hotel room where you are taking the exam. I could not recommend buying these more. Try a big pack of posters and a pack of markers and color away - might as well make learning fun!

An iPad or Tablet - if you can afford it

If you can afford a splurge, I'd recommend buying an iPad or tablet for bar prep. I used mine daily and it made everything so much easier. During lectures, I used the iPad to write my notes with an Apple pencil. I also used the Kaplan app to casually take quizzes and practice questions from my couch, which made studying so much comfier. This isn't absolutely necessary, but I'd recommend one if you can afford it!

Caffeinated Water

So you've read my blog title, right? Yeah. I like caffeine. The problem is that too much coffee can KILL your stomach and absolutely dehydrate you. One thing I found while studying for the bar was caffeinated water - yes, literally just water with caffeine. They had it pretty cheap at my local Walmart, but you can also order a big pack from Amazon to be right at your doorstep for those long study days. This is absolutely essential.

Snack Basket

One thing I did during bar prep was keep a basket stocked with my favorite snacks so I could easily grab them when I was hungry instead of fully pausing my studies to prepare something to munch on. This saved so much time and it was so nice to just have snacks available to keep me going!

Don't forget - you're going to succeed no matter what!

These things will help, but if you study hard and persist through the summer, I'm sure you will be passing the bar in no time! What are your essential items you've purchased for bar prep? Tell me in the comments below!

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  1. I am a law student from the Philippines and I think I and my peers would need that caffeinated water. If only our blood pressure and stomach are people, they would surely have posted strike against all of us for caffeine abuse. Lol. Kidding aside, I hope we have some of those in our local stores.

    Thank you for this list. I might not be preparing for my bar yet but these tips would be helpful for my law studies.


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