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Make This Your Last Time | Bar Exam Preparation
Hey <<First Name>>,

Let me guess. You don’t want to take this exam ever again. You want nothing more than to pass this stupid bar and move on with your life.
 
Not only that, it’s cold. It’s lonely. It gets dark after 4 PM. Holiday music is tenderizing your soul. Maybe you have other responsibilities too.
 
Basically, you’d rather huddle under a blanket and warm your hands with your phone. The bar exam? What’s that again?
 
But I’ll get worried if you end up spending all day scrolling through your phone, or catching up on your shows, or watching people run back and forth in “the game.” Thinking about unimportant fiction. The bar is the realest thing in your life right now.
 
Every time we want to be in denial, we have to remember to live in reality.
 
Every time we let go of the tension, we have to overcome gravity. Keep going! You’ll get used to it.
 
It’s easy to fall into comfort and relaxation, especially this time of year. Somehow, we need to make sure we do the work that matters.
 
There’s a difference between easy work and work that matters. Work that matters, the “hard work,” is internal work. [Click to tweet]
 
Americans love to be “busy.”

Anyone can be busy. Anyone can sit there for 12 hours a day. Anyone can organize resources, read motivational quotes, and stockpile knowledge because they have to be perfectly ready first.

It doesn’t take any conscientiousness, proactivity, or guts. “People feel great about doing their tasks while forgetting the goals they were designed to achieve.”—Ray Dalio, Principles
things i do when i need to study
The easy stuff only prepares you to do the work that matters. It’s not the main thing to focus on.

Now, I’m not saying don’t study your outlines and memorize. Build that foundation. At some point, you’ll need to move past it. Don’t get stuck getting your ducks in a row first. You can figure it out as you go.
 
Babies don’t read a manual or go to a seminar on how to walk. You don’t teach them to walk. They try it on their own. They don’t care about falling down because they want to walk.
 
Am I qualified to talk about this? Sure, it’s only been a few decades since I’ve been a baby.
 
The answers will come as you tinker around, fall, get up, bump into things, cry with an annoying voice, and shit the floor like a two-foot person learning to take baby steps.
  
Mistakes are not just for rookies. In fact, rookies stay that way because they’re not willing to make mistakes.
 
So what is work that matters? What moves the needle? What actually stretches the noodles in your head?
 
One way to tell: Ask yourself what you’re going to be doing on the exam.
 
For example, a question isn’t going to say, “Please state the rule.” It will say, “How do these facts resolve given what you know? (What are the issues and rules?)”
 
The question isn’t how you’re going to do it. There are many ways how. You’ll figure out the how, if you know what you’re going to do.
 
It’s HARDER to test yourself with a question, take way longer than it should, and realize you don’t know how to answer it. It’s HARDER to rummage through your memory to write out that rule statement, uncertain whether it’s correct or even relevant to the question at hand. It’s HARDER to make the time for what you need to work on. It’s HARDER to see your errors yet continue to believe in your future.
 
That’s fine. No one ever said the bar exam was supposed to be easy. If you’re not feeling dumb, you’re not learning. Don’t let the bar be the learning experience.
 
Every guy knows about the 3 seconds of courage needed to make the first move on the lady. It’s tempting and easier at the moment to back down from taking the risk, dealing with regret on the back end.
 
You only need to get some of your ducks in a row. Just do it! Doing is the best form of thinking.
 
We tend to think that we need to wait to prepare first. For the perfect moment. On the contrary, the more you attempt to recall and apply and do, the more you remember and understand.
 
It’s important to work your originality muscle, that is, to remember and create words on a page, to come up with (not just recognize) the correct rule.
  • Which LASIK surgeon would you rather trust to cut open and vaporize your cornea: someone who’s read all the books on it and “knows” all about it, or someone who’s read the latest journal articles on it and has successfully done it on real people for years?
  • Who should be your tour guide: a Spanish teacher who has perfect grammar from books vs. a teacher who lived in Spain and was forced to apply the language with real Spanish speakers?
  • Who should do the emergency landing if the pilot has a heart attack: a trainee who’s memorized the manual vs. the passenger who’s flown amateur planes? 
The gap between thinking about it and doing it is wide, but doing becomes natural once you cross it.
 
Telling yourself “I’ll start over next year” or “I’ll do it tomorrow” is like trash-talking yourself. Why would you imply that you don’t have what it takes? Why would you waste your own time on purpose?
 
Look at this comment:
“I don’t want to waste more time trying to learn the material when I should be practicing it instead.”—Dana, Maryland bar taker

“99% of information we read, we forget anyway. The best way to remember is to ‘DO.’”
 
The consequences of your success can be scary. The thing is, you have no choice in the matter anymore.
 
Do not avert your eyes from difficulties. Why? Because if you won’t do it, who will?
 
Just do it. Before this email self-destructs in your head.

 
Still need help DOING IT? Next week, I’ll share an internal “hack” that will practically leave you with no choice but to DO IT when tackling bar prep, the bar exam, and beyond.

I also wrote a post in the MTYLT FB community about overcoming your fears around money so that you don’t pay the ultimate cost of retaking the exam.

Brian

 
Recommended Tools
Click here to see catalog
Magicsheets (condensed outlines)
Not retaining any information from your bar course? Not enough time? Stop getting overwhelmed. Focus on practice and memorization with these condensed rule outlines organized in logical groups and indentations.

Approsheets (essay approach checklists and flowcharts)
Go from blank page to finished essay/outline. Identify all the relevant issues with these attack sheets so you don't leave any points on the table.
 
Passer’s Playbook 2.0 (self-study tools)
Step-by-step blueprint, study schedules, cheat sheets, guides, and other tools designed to help you orient yourself and propel you toward improvement. Passing is inevitable if you continue to improve.

Mental Engines (mental management course)
Organize your emotions and deal with the mental barriers of bar preparation, to go from overwhelmed to focused, unmotivated to productive, and anxious to calm.
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Brian Hahn
Make This Your Last Time
10645 Calle Mar de Mariposa #6409
San Diego, CA 92130

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