Experiencing The Michigan Bar Exam With A Friend
Though thousands of other people are taking the test at the same time as you, its easy to feel like you’re going through it alone. For many, experiencing the Michigan Bar Exam with a friend is great option to combat a lot of the test’s anxieties. In this post, we discuss why going through the bar exam with a friend is a good idea.
Experiencing The Michigan Bar Exam With A Friend
Choose your bar exam buddy wisely
Going through the bar exam process with a friend provides a lot of benefits. However, you should think carefully about which friend you choose. At first, the choice may be obvious. Perhaps you only became close with one person in law school. On the other hand, you may feel close with a dozen people.
- Exam performance
Analyze how that person acted before an exam in law school. Overly-confident? Exceptionally nervous? And what did they do after an exam? Did they obsess over the details of the questions? Insist on getting your feedback? Did they just move on and/or say something like, “talking about it won’t change anything?”
Chances are, your friend will respond in relatively the same way to the bar exam. You want someone who will react the same way you do (or in a healthy manner you’d like to emulate). Choose someone who treated you like an ally—not a competitor.
- Bar exam administration
Be sure to choose a friend who will be taking the bar exam at the same time as you. The bar exam is offered twice a year (or four times if you’re taking the exam in 2020 due to COVID-19). It’s important that you’re signed up for the same exam so you can go through the entire process together. If your timeline is off by a few months, it’s harder to feel the support or camaraderie that you may need.
- Study needs
If you like to study independently but your bar exam buddy wants to meet up every day to study in person and discuss things, you might not be a good match to go through every aspect of the exam together. Remember, you don’t need to meet up or study together to be a good bar exam buddy.
If you’d like to create some distance, remember to check-in with your friend with texts to encourage him or her. Better yet, if you discover a helpful study tactic, let your friend know about it! Try not to share study techniques a week before the bar exam, though; doing so could cause your friend to panic. In a perfect world, all the texts exchanged would be positive ones. But don’t be afraid to discuss the nerves you’re feeling. It is comforting to confide in others who understand exactly what you’re going through.
Make accommodations and share costs
Did you know that you can book your hotel room at the Kellogg Center, which is the hotel connected to the testing enter, up to a year in advance? We highly recommend booking a room as close to the testing center as possible. The Kellogg Center is a great option because you can walk to the testing center from your room in the morning without dealing with the stress and uncertainly of traffic and parking.
At this point in your bar exam journey, you’ve expended significant money. Booking a room with a friend is a simple way to save 50% on a hotel room you were likely to book, anyway. From personal experience, I roomed with a law school friend. Upon check-in, we were surprised to learn we got upgraded to a corner suite! We each got our own bathroom and the suite was quite large so we didn’t have to compromise when we wanted quiet time in the evening to call family or just relax.
Exam day schedules
On both mornings, we ordered room service breakfast—oatmeal, eggs, and coffee. This way, we could control our environment and not run into nervous fellow bar examinees. I even scheduled a wake-up call on both mornings! Never have I used that service at a hotel, but I did not want to take the chance of our cell phone alarms not going off and us scrambling to get to the bar exam on time!
During the lunch breaks, we would make a mad dash out of the testing center toward the Kellogg Center. We did not even wait around at the doors of the Breslin Center for each other—everything to avoid running into ‘competitive’ peers from law school who could jeopardize our confidence. Our law school provided complimentary boxed lunches to us full of nourishing food. If your law school offers this, I would highly recommend you take them up on the offer. They know you need brain food, so it won’t be junk, and it’s just one less thing to worry about. And, the best part is that you can just take it up to your room and avoid being around nervous peers.
My bar exam buddy and I agreed to grab our boxed lunches and just meet in the room. I won’t say we didn’t talk about the exam at all, because we did. But, because I chose a friend who is my ally, talking about the exam made me feel great because I discovered we both spotted the same issues in the essays and at the very least had identified the correct essay topics.
On both evenings, we did a lot of walking around the Michigan State University campus which felt great, especially after the first day of testing. We looked at our materials for about an hour and then we had dinner. When all the testing was complete, we decided to head back home. Our husbands were waiting for us at my house with cold beers and pizza. Boy did that beer taste good.
During the whole summer in preparation for the bar exam, I refrained from most alcohol and junk food and fueled my body—and brain—with healthy food. I recommend doing this. It’s easy to look to food as comfort during the stress of bar prep. Turn to exercise instead. The next day, I gave myself the biggest, laziest treat to myself and laid on the couch with my dog binging my favorite shows. Again, I really restricted ‘laziness’ during my bar prep. I told myself, if I just commit to my bar prep for two months, I will never have to do it again. I will have the rest of my life to have carefree summers. About a week after the bar exam, we had a big party to celebrate.
Waiting for results
For about two to three months, the relief of being done with the bar will come and go. How can you know if you were truly done with it? My buddy and I would text each other through those months and we would reassure each other. On the day our results came, we were relieved to hear we both passed. If you don’t pass, give yourself time to grieve and then go through your options. Also, just as it was impolite to ask peers how they did on law school exams, do not ask friends or peers if they passed the bar exam—wait for them to tell you.
Don’t go through bar prep alone! We hope after reading this post that you consider experiencing the Michigan bar exam with a bar exam buddy!
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