The real effort began about Thanksgiving of 2011, when an on-line bar refresher course was available to me-- the Kaplan Bar Review (Hawaii). Wow! Things have changed since I last studied for the Arizona Bar Exam (1983), studying out of one large book. In short, there is now no limit to how much reading, watching, listening, testing, reviewing and practice an applicant can do to prepare for a bar exam. The written materials came in two or three big boxes.
The first real order of business became to thin out the materials to what I'd realistically be able to (or want to) study. More than half the volumes had to be thrown away, including practice exams. On-line practice tests were to be taken only until I understood how to answer them and obtain a better than 50% result. There would simply not be enough time to do everything.
The remaining materials had to be put into an order that would show progress-- namely, lists that could be measured, completed and checked off. The key would be to stay optimistic by seeing results. Otherwise, sitting before a computer or book for hours upon hours, day after day, week after week, would be discouraging.
In short-- step by step, page by page, paragraph by paragraph, video by video-- each goal was checked off. Finally, I would visually see that I'd completed not everything, but what I reasonably believed could be achieved.
My advice to younger, future applicants-- don't try to read and do everything possible. Just study and memorize enough to reach your comfortable saturation point. Beyond that, you'll only get discouraged. Treat the materials as if you're preparing one of the most important two-day jury trials you'll ever have in your career. That's workable. That's do-able.
Well, the process worked. I took the February 2012 Hawaii Bar Exam along with about 180 other applicants. About 98% of the others were younger than I. A good group of people. After two full days, the test was over. (In May I was notified that I had passed the exam, and could be admitted at a ceremony in June, which I attended in Honolulu and was sworn in). I'm thinking that, having sat and passed the Washington State Bar Exam (1974), Arizona Bar Exam (1983), and now Hawaii (2012), there probably won't be a fourth effort. This is enough.
Following the taking of the exam, I took a little time to go fly fishing for Bone Fish. While studying for the examination, I'd relaxed by studying Bone Fish and flies. It looks like I'd organized the Bone Fish subject the same way as all the Hawaii legal subjects--