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  • Writer's pictureTommy Sangchompuphen

"Pho"-nomenal Bar Prep Tips

If you follow my postings, you know I believe in using nontraditional methods to engage students and bar exam takers and make the learning process enjoyable (or, at least, for some, more tolerable). I have a particular fondness for dad jokes and a good pun, which I find can lighten the mood and make challenging concepts more memorable.


Recently, I came across a restaurant named “Hot as Pho,” and it sparked an idea for a unique blog post. In the spirit of combining humor and education, I’ve drawn inspiration from punny and funny pho restaurant names to offer several study tips for the bar exam.


(For those who may not know, “pho” is pronounced “fuh,” but sometimes the puns are even better if you pronounce it as “fo.”)


Okay, let’s pho-cus on how these cleverly named pho spots can provide important lessons for effective bar exam preparation.



Study Tip: Turn Up the Heat on Your Study Routine


Of course, I must begin with the joint that’s the inspiration for this post. Just like “Hot As Pho” suggests a spicy and intense experience, you should turn up the heat on your study sessions to maximize bar exam preparation. A hot bowl of pho relies on concentrated flavors, much like your study sessions should focus on specific, distraction-free time blocks. Using techniques like the Pomodoro technique can help maintain the intensity and productivity of your study sessions. The Pomodoro technique involves working for 25-minute intervals followed by a short break to enhance focus and efficiency.


Study Tip: Embrace Humor in Learning


The name “Pho Shizzle” is a playful twist on the slang phrase "fo shizzle," popularized by rapper Snoop Dogg, meaning "for sure." Just as the name “Pho Shizzle” makes me smile—especially when I think of the time Snoop Dogg taught Martha Stewart the phrase “fo shizzle”—find ways to incorporate humor into your study routine.

Research shows that humor provides numerous benefits to the learning environment, whether it’s a K-12 classroom, a college lecture hall, or a law school setting. These benefits include increased interest in learning, reduced anxiety and stress when dealing with difficult material, the creation of a positive social and emotional learning environment, and the development of a common psychological bond between students and faculty.



Study Tip: Be the King of Your Study Domain


The playful name “Pho King” uses a bit of cheeky humor and slang, making it memorable. Similarly, incorporating everyday language and slang into your bar prep can make complex legal concepts more relatable and easier to understand. For example, instead of saying "mens rea," think of it as the "bad guy mindset." This approach can demystify legal jargon, helping you to remember and apply legal principles more effectively.



Study Tip: Certainty Through Practice


The name “Pho Sure” reflects confidence. Similarly, gain confidence in your bar exam readiness by consistently practicing multiple-choice questions, essays, and performance tests. The more you practice, the more certain you’ll feel.



Study Tip: Embrace the “What the…” Moments


Just as the name “What The Pho” cleverly plays on the phrase “WTF,” making you pause and think, embrace those moments during your studies when you feel confused or overwhelmed. These WTF moments are not setbacks but opportunities to dig deeper into the material and clarify your understanding.


When you encounter difficult concepts or challenging problems, take a step back and analyze why you’re feeling stuck. Break down the material into smaller, more manageable parts, and approach it from different angles. This process can reveal gaps in your knowledge and help you build a more solid foundation. Remember, every “WTF” moment is a chance to learn and grow, turning your “What the…” moments into “Aha!” moments.



Study Tip: Get Real with Your Weaknesses


Like the name “Pho Real,” which plays on the phrase “for real,” it's important to be honest with yourself about your weaknesses. Recognizing and acknowledging the areas where you need improvement is the first step towards effective bar exam preparation.


Start by taking practice exams and assessing your performance critically. Identify the subjects or types of questions that consistently challenge you. Once you’ve pinpointed these areas, allocate extra study time to focus on them. This might mean dedicating additional hours each week to review complex topics, doing more practice problems, or seeking help from professors or study groups.


Real self-assessment is crucial because it prevents you from becoming complacent. It's easy to focus on the subjects you enjoy or excel at, but true progress comes from addressing your weaknesses head-on.



Study Tip: Consistency is Key


Just like the name “Pho Sho” flows smoothly, your study routine should be consistent and steady. Establish a regular study schedule and stick to it. Consistency builds a strong foundation of knowledge and ensures continual progress.


Create a detailed study plan, setting aside specific times each day for studying. Regularly review and reinforce what you’ve learned through weekly quizzes, note summaries, or discussions with study partners. Consistent practice with bar exam questions will also improve your familiarity with the exam format and enhance your time management skills. By maintaining a consistent study routine, you’ll create discipline and structure, reducing overwhelm and building confidence as the exam approaches.



Study Tip: Strive for Excellence


Strive to make your study time fabulous by creating a positive and productive study environment. Just as the TV show "Absolutely Fabulous" featured characters who aim to live their best lives with flair and style, aim for excellence in your bar exam preparation with the same enthusiasm and dedication.


Begin each study session with a clear goal in mind. Whether it’s mastering a specific legal concept, completing a set number of practice questions, or improving your essay-writing skills, having a target helps keep you focused and motivated.


Create an environment that enhances your productivity. This could mean finding a quiet, comfortable place to study, using good lighting, and minimizing distractions. Equip your study space with all necessary materials, such as outlines, notes, and flash cards, so everything you need is within reach.



Study Tip: Make Studying Fun and Fantastic


Just like the name “Pho Tastic” is a fun play on the word “fantastic,” make your study sessions enjoyable and engaging. Incorporating fun elements into your study routine can help keep you motivated and make the learning process more enjoyable.

Use colorful study aids such as highlighters, sticky notes, and flashcards to organize and emphasize key information. Visual aids can make complex legal concepts more understandable and memorable.


Additionally, incorporate short breaks and rewards into your study schedule. After completing a study session or achieving a specific goal, take a break to do something you enjoy. This can help prevent burnout and keep your motivation high.



Study Tip: Enjoy the Journey


The name “Pho Ever Yum” suggests enjoyment and satisfaction, reminiscent of Rod Stewart’s hit song “Forever Young.” Just as the song encourages embracing life’s journey with a positive spirit, find joy in the learning process as you prepare for the bar exam. Celebrate small victories and acknowledge your progress along the way. Maintaining a positive attitude can make the bar prep journey more manageable and even enjoyable.

Set realistic goals for each study session and celebrate your small wins, like mastering a legal concept or completing practice questions. Make your study environment pleasant and engaging by personalizing your space and using techniques that spark your interest.


Regularly reflect on your progress to stay motivated. Even when the material gets tough, remind yourself of how far you’ve come. Enjoying the journey, much like the sentiment in “Forever Young,” can make your bar exam preparation both pleasant and effective.

As you can see, there’s a lot to learn from these cleverly named pho restaurants. Next time you hit the books, remember to keep it “Pho Real” (Charlotte, NC) and spice up your routine.


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