Now, as I reach the end of my journey to become a lawyer (gosh I really hope this is the end...) Harry reaches the end of his journey to become a wizard -- or so I would gather, since I haven't read the final book. In fact, many a bar candidate has lamented this final insult, that the final installment of the series has come smack in the middle of our final bar study push. So what's a poor bar candidate to do?
Fortunately today and tomorrow require so much studying that there won't be much time to think about it. Or watch much TV or read much on the web, thus lowering the risk of exposure to spoilers. Monday, however, by design I'm hardly planning to study at all, so I'm thinking that may be a good time to read the book, after I've gone up to Sacramento and inevitably become bored. If, of course, it doesn't make me stay up too late reading it all in one sitting...
I sort of goofed yesterday, having had a coke at lunch, because it made me stay up too late last night and so I'm not too spry today. At least not yet. But otherwise I'm feeling essentially under the control. I'm maybe half a day behind where I want to be, but that's much better than the previous occasion when I felt several days behind. After I quit working last week it took me a few days to get sorted out, but eventually I fell into a routine. I tend to only be able to study in two-hour blocks, after which I find a need a change in scenery, so I typically putz around doing other things in the morning, then go out to eat and linger over my books at the restaurant (nothing extravagant, usually just Burger King). Then I usually go to the library for another study block.
It's kind of strange because historically I've not been a library-studier. I prefer to stay at home without the stress of needing to pack up and shlep to a foreign environment. But lately I've been finding I really need the structure a destination affords me, and it also makes me feel better in another way. One of my greatest laments is that despite all this open-ended time and gorgeous weather I've not been able to do a bike ride. I just haven't wanted to risk the disruption to my schedule due to the prep time, cycling time, and recovery time from dehydration. So at least the library affords me some exercise since it's about a mile and a half walk away, with a few hills involved.
In a way I guess it's good that Harry Potter is forcing me to have an Internet moratorium of sorts, because it's making me uneasy to keep stumbling on people's bar blogs. Last night, for instance, I saw one guy say, "Yeah, I really only study about 15 hours a day." Whereas I'm quite proud for regularly hitting four (though yesterday was 6!). But I'm in a different situation than other people. For one, I didn't have to learn this all from scratch. In fact, the only thing truly new for me was California evidence distinctions, since agency and partnership had been on the New York bar, and I'm learning California civil procedure through my job. For another, I've seen the test. Not this exact test, of course, and trust the bar examiners to throw in a few wild cards this time around... but it was like when I was younger and had to take the SAT in high school. The fact that I'd first taken it when I was 12 made it a lot less intimidating.
Last time I studied until my brain became almost paralyzed, so I think the fact that I'm much less uptight is a good thing. It's not that I'm blowing it off, but I'm aware that there are diminishing returns, and even counter-productive results, to lambaste myself into spending every speck of waking energy on this. Instead I've tried to work smarter, not harder. I put myself on a cycle of manageable bite size chunks of subject review (reading), essay outlines, and MBE questions that ideally brings up a subject and reinforces it every few days. Also, last time I had hardly done any essay outlines, which I decided on retrospect was a mistake, so already I feel better about where I am. Meanwhile I've decided to mostly do PMBR MBE practice questions, since last time I only did BarBri's and I wasn't happy with the results. Sure, it might be better if I did another two-hour block of studying every day, but I think just having simplified my life and keeping myself mentally under control means that the studying I have done has been more meaningful.
Anyway, today's plan is to close the loop on the last subject I need to review and finish up a few MBE questions outstanding from this week's itinerary. Then, even though I've already outlined at least two essays in every subject, I'll run through at least one of each all again. Tomorrow then is dedicated to doing a 100 or 200 question (I haven't decided yet) MBE practice test and review of a performance test (not that they're hard, but picking up points on them forgive a lot of sins on the essays, score-wise).
Then hopefully that's enough. I do feel very comfortable with spotting issues, but the part where I feel a little nervous is when it comes to memorization. I'll read and understand lists of elements and such, but the specifics seem to bounce right off my brain. To a certain extent that's ok, the actual rules can be fudged on the test, but I suspect I'll feel better and it will make my life easier if I can rattle things off more precisely so I'll probably need to add some memory drills to my schedule somewhere.
After all, if Harry and Ron and Hermione can rattle off all those spells and incantations by heart, surely I can rattle off a few rules of law...