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Emond Exam Prep: Tips and Strategies for Studying at Home

At Emond Exam Prep we are dedicated to providing students with the support and resources they need to prepare for their professional licensing exams. During this period of uncertainty, you may be feeling anxious about preparing for your exams, which you will have to write on a date that is yet to be determined. The best way to handle this situation is to stay focused on the next stage in your career and to develop a study plan that will help you reach it. When the time comes, it is important to be ready to write your licensing exams and to move forward with the goals you have set for yourself.

In order to enhance your preparation, here are some tips on how to utilize your study time effectively. The following includes general tips as well as specific study habits.

General At-Home Study Tips:

1. Make a To-Do List

A to-do list is a useful tool that can help you in your organization, focus, and recollection of tasks. There are many online apps, like Microsoft To Do or Google Tasks, that can provide you with strategies for tracking your tasks. Some people like to write out a list of things to do on a piece of paper so that they can have the satisfaction of checking off a completed task. Whichever way works for you, try making a list and checking off your accomplishments—there’s nothing more rewarding!

2. Schedule Your Own Hours

Now that you are at home, you have the freedom to set your own schedule! You no longer need to account for travel time or a long morning routine. This leaves you more flexibility to vary your activities throughout the day. Some people are more productive early in the day, while others are night owls. Some people can finish a lot of concentrated work in a few hours, while others need frequent breaks in between. You might even be all of these people depending on the day. You now have the freedom to find out what routine works for you. Discover the times during the day when you are most productive and use your newfound knowledge to develop a regular study routine.

3. Set Achievable Goals

Before setting a goal, reflect on which tasks you can perform consistently. The cycle of setting high expectations for yourself and then feeling disappointed after you don’t achieve them is an easy pattern to fall into. Start with small goals and then slowly make them bigger, working through them at a consistent pace. You don’t have to finish an impossible mountain of work in a day. Break the work into small tasks, then tackle them one by one. By the end of the day, you will feel like you have accomplished something.

4. Exercise

Staying healthy is particularly important in keeping up your day-to-day energy and spirits. A morning exercise routine can help maintain the level of activity that your body was used to during your morning commute. Or perhaps an afternoon or evening break is a more ideal time for you to exercise—the schedule is up to you! There are many exercise videos available online, as well as mobile apps that have structured day-to-day schedules. You can even try learning a favourite dance routine that you never had the time to practise before. Whatever form of exercise you prefer, make sure you schedule the time to take care of your body.

Tips for Licensing Exam Preparations

1. Organizing Study Materials

Collect all of your study materials in one binder and separate the different categories with coloured tabs. You can also have different binders for each category; this will make it seem like you have less material to flip through.

2. Reading

There a few ways to tackle the formidable amount of reading before an exam.
The LSO suggests reading the study materials three times, each time with a different focus:

  1. Establish a general understanding without highlighting or note-taking
  2. Seek out important concepts in each chapter, highlighting and note-taking as appropriate
  3. Review and reinforce overarching concepts

Emond suggests keeping the big picture in mind while reading. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to memorize all the details on the first reading. Focus on trying to understand the fundamentals in each area and how the key elements fit together so that when a question arises, you’ll quickly recall the underlying principles, know what language to look for, and recognize answer choices that are blatantly wrong. A good way to guide your progress is to take a practice exam after your first read-through of your materials. This exam will give you a good idea of what to look for in your subsequent readings. It will also help you understand how to construct your exam reference materials so that the important information is easier to find during an exam.

3. Factors to Consider While Studying

  • Other time commitments: work or caring for a family member
  • Preferred learning style: audio, visual, or applied. If you are an applied learner, you may want to make notes as you go along or type up summaries at the end of each section
  • Reading speed and attention span: make sure you take breaks when your attention starts to wander. Stay away from social media and the internet during these breaks. Instead, go for a walk, make a cup of tea, or do some exercises so that your five-minute break does not become a 50-minute break
  • Familiarity with the subject matter: the material that you didn’t study in law school (or that you don’t find particularly interesting) will likely require the most time and effort for you to work through. Be aware that these days will require more stamina and focus.

4. Preparing Review Materials

  • Highlighting and colour-coding can be a useful tool to help you read actively, engage with the text, and identify information that is important enough to be on the exam. You can take it a step further and use different colours for different categories: formulas/calculations, time periods/deadlines, statute names, etc.
  • You can rely on the Detailed Table of Contents included in the study materials; you can even modify it to suit your individual needs
  • You can also rely on indices (an alphabetical list of key terms with corresponding page numbers). A set of indices consists of an index for each subject area on the exam
  • Preparing topic summaries can help you develop a thorough understanding of what you are reading while you’re studying

5. Practice Exams

  • By going through a practice exam with the help of your reference materials, you can learn how to use these reference materials efficiently and determine which ones work best for you
  • A practice exam can help you identify topics you may have missed, as well as any weaknesses in your study materials. It is a quick way to identify the areas in which you are not as strong and adjust your studying to improve your knowledge. Doing one practice test early on and then another closer to the exam date will help you make sure you have covered all you need for the exam

We hope that everyone preparing for a professional licensing exam can use these tools to get through these next months with a plan to move forward. There has been a slight detour in your career path, but this time in self-isolation will pass. In the meantime, Emond is committed to supporting students. Our practice exams have been extended to the next scheduled exam date, exam preparation courses will be held online with opportunities to speak to instructors, and our online courses can be extended upon request. More help and information is available through our customer services at emondexamprep@emond.ca.

We hope that you are all staying healthy and motivated during this time, and we wish you luck in your at-home studies!

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Barrister Exam: March 2–6, 2021  |  Solicitor Exam: March 16–20, 2021