If I had could change one thing about my legal studies, it would be to approach them from a more practical perspective. In academia, many students (including me) tend to think of things in an abstract, theoretical way. And that is certainly at least part of the point of studies- to stretch your thinking, expand ideas and broaden your horizons. But in law school, everything you learn is, in reality, designed to teach you how to "think like a lawyer".
"Thinking like a lawyer" is tough to define by observation. This is because the skills involved are applied in so many different analytical situations. Certainly most people view lawyering as making logical and effective arguments. But there is a great deal more to it. It might mean scouring apparently unrelated and insignificant facts, in order to draw a reasonable inference. Or one could be "thinking like a lawyer" as they are drafting a contract, in order to ensure that the parties actual intentions are reduced to written form. Simply, there are limitless scenarios in which a lawyer has the opportunity to use and demonstrate the critical thinking skills common to all good lawyers.
In practice, I am reminded every single day of the many lessons I learned in law school. Certainly, learning the "black letter" law plays a role. In practice I've learned substantially more law than I learned in law school. However, in law school, I learned everything I needed to know, in order to learn the law. And because the law is constantly evolving, the law school pedagogy of teaching one to "think like a lawyer" is incredibly effective. Law school taught me to fish, rather than providing me a meal of salmon.
And that is where the bar exam comes in. Preparation for the bar exam will provide you with salmon, cod, mahi mahi, lobster and a buffet of seafood. At the same time, appreciating and digesting a meal of this magnificence requires time and perspective. As a result, I suggest you begin to at least think about the bar exam now. It will make the entire process less stressful during the two months or so you have to prepare for it after you graduate.
You may be thinking that you don't have enough time to do this. However, I think you can incorporate it into your law school studies. There are a couple of ways to accomplish this. First, begin to shift your thinking from abstract to real world concepts. The only way to apply the law is to memorize it. If you don't know the law, it is difficult to identify legal issues. So, you should begin to memorize the law you learn in law school as soon as possible. I describe one way to do this in my book, "Law School Labyrinth". I call it the Pyramid Outline method. It's a process to take vast amounts of information and boil it down on a regular basis.
The second way to begin thinking about the bar is to visit a bar examiner website. Take a look at the subjects tested. Decide whether or not it would be worth it to take a course in law school that you might not otherwise. It might help you to avoid having to cram an unfamiliar subject into the limited amount of time you have to prepare for the bar.
And finally, remember that pretty much everything you learn in law school can be applied in law practice. Begin to think of yourself as a lawyer. You are only a few short years away from advising clients on very important matters, and representing them in what may be life and death matters. Try to avoid the "it's only school" mindset. Instead, think of everything you do in law school as acreting to your portfolio of knowledge and skill.
I wish you the best in your legal studies.