Nothing beats hearing from someone who’s overcome great obstacles and succeeded. Esther came to us after 4 unsuccessful attempts to pass the NY and NJ Bar Exams. Here’s her notes about what worked and allowed her to become a member of the NJ Bar:
“(1) Just let go and follow Celebration’s course. I will not recommend other courses mainly because those courses did not work for me. Further, I simply do not believe that ‘studying on your own’ works at all. Deferring to instructions and letting go of everything else that I had ‘learned’ about studying for the Bar exam in the past was imperative. I let go of everything and let myself soak up Jackson’s advice. Everyone seemed to have advice on how to study. I listened only to the one person who was qualified to give me advice.
(2) Starting early. I remember that many people had told me not to start early because I didn’t want to ‘peak’ too early. This couldn’t have been further from the truth. I began studying in October and finished up early to wind down my studies before the exam. When life threw obstacles in my path I just put my studies aside for a few days knowing that I would simply pick them right back up and feeling confident that I had already made headway.
(3) Finding a happy, supportive place to study. I used to study at a Denny’s restaurant in Canandaigua where the staff members supported me and understood when I need an extra cup of coffee or needed to be alone for a little bit longer. Another spot was the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY. On breaks I took a stroll in the beautiful gardens. Whenever I tried other spots it just didn’t feel right. Finding a happy place to study is important.
(4) Knowing when to stop for the day. On days where I became stressed over bar study or other factors I simply stopped for the day. Previously I had burned myself out overstudying. Knowing when to stop and allowing yourself time to unwind is just as important as hitting the books hard. Respect yourself and treat yourself right. Feeling guilty and beating yourself up on a bad day leads to downward spirals.
(5) Not memorizing. Previously, I had spent many hours memorizing the law or making ‘one sheet’ study guides. This was a complete waste of my time and energy.
(6) Practicing essays before I felt I ‘knew’ the material. Previously, I felt that I had to know every rule before I picked up and essay to work on. Getting comfortable with the fact that I didn’t know all the rules turned out to be more important. Also, following Celebration’s essay method as closely as possible helped immensely. When I got nervous I just made my little T diagrams and wrote something in them. Being comfortable with not knowing the answers turned out to be important training.
(7) Positive affirmations everyday. I truly believe that your attitude will make or break you. Telling myself that I could do it everyday worked. I still use positive affirmations to prep for the difficult Japanese tests I have to take at work and for maintaining my personal relationships. Believing in yourself after you have failed the exam becomes more and more difficult. Erase everything negative from the past and start again with a smile.
(8) Jackson whipping me into shape about 30 days before the exam. Yes, I was procrastinating and he called me out on it. I worked incredibly hard after that talk. Those days turned out to be the most crucial point in my studies. Thank you and thank God I pushed myself so hard.
You are the best Jackson!”
Esther Bodek, Esq.
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