Last-Minute Bar Exam Tips! - JD Advising
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jd advisingThe bar exam is rapidly approaching! Right now most students are reviewing and doing everything they can to try to keep their sanity!  To help out, we have compiled a list of last-minute bar exam tips to help you mentally prepare for the bar exam, physically prepare for the bar exam, and do everything you can possibly do to put yourself in the best position to conquer the bar exam.

Last-Minute Bar Exam Tips

1. Mentally prepare for the Bar exam by practicing visualization.

Visualization is a powerful tool. Many athletes use visualization prior to games. You can use the same tool to help you pass the bar exam. If you visualize yourself getting overwhelmed, forgetting the law you just reviewed, and running out of time – you probably will. Conversely, if you visualize the bar exam going well, having perfect recall of the law, and managing your time wisely – you have already put yourself at a huge advantage. In order to practice visualization, imagine the testing site in as much detail as possible. Imagine the test going well in as much detail as possible. Picture yourself having a clear head and perfect recall. And envision yourself not getting overwhelmed or anxious. For more visualization tips, see this post.

2. Physically prepare for the bar exam. 

In addition to mentally preparing for the bar exam, physically prepare for the bar exam by eating right and sleeping enough prior to the test. If you are reading this a week before the bar exam, make sure you are syncing your sleep schedule with the testing day. Get used to getting up early and going to bed early

3. Get excited to take the bar exam.

I love this tip so much!  It sounds unusual at first glance, but a lot of studies focus on “relaxing” before a test – when that is like trying to go from 100mph to 0! It is against our instincts. Instead, try to get excited to take the bar exam (and have it over with!). We recently wrote a post on how to do this and how it can significantly improve our score on a test!

4. Write your thoughts down.

If you get really anxious, write down what you are worried about. Sometimes naming and identifying a fear can help you face it head-on. That way, your fear is not an ominous thing hovering in the back of your mind. Instead, it is nailed down to paper, identified, and easier to tackle head-on.

5. Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can happen?

So many students fear failure. But often the fear of failure is worse than the failure itself. If you fail, you can retake the exam. It is only a test. It is not a life-or-death situation.  Some students have an overwhelming fear and dread of the bar exam. They make it more than it is and this anxiety paralyzes them. By keeping the bar exam in perspective, not only will you feel better, you will actually increase your chances of passing it!

6. Talk to someone who is not taking the bar exam.

Call an understanding family member or friend who will let you vent, identify with how you’re feeling, and also keep you grounded. Choose who you call carefully! You do not want to call someone who won’t listen, who will stress you out, or who will make your situation worse. Call a trusted friend or family member who will provide the support you need.

Avoid your family members or friends who are overbearing or annoying. Some people may increase stress and anxiety without even realizing it. Stay away from them for the time being!

7. Envision what you will do when the bar exam is over.

Do you have a vacation ahead of you? (See this post for tips on planning a post-bar exam vacation!) Or a nice dinner planned? Taking a break from ruminating over the test and thinking about fun plans will help you keep the bar exam in perspective.

8. If you must review the day before the bar exam, review intelligently.

If you want to review notes the day before the exam, that is okay, but review intelligently. By that we mean – don’t do practice exams! Don’t do any “new” problems. Instead, just review what you have already looked at or questions you have already gone over. Better yet, do not review at all and take the day off to give your mind a break before the bar exam days. (See this post on “Should I study the day before the bar exam?“)

We also do not recommend reviewing in between essay sections or multiple-choice portions. That break is crucial to let your brain rest and gear up for the next part of the bar exam.

9. Make sure you have everything packed!

Do you have your earplugs? Did you get a late check-out from your hotel? Did you run your exam software on your laptop to make sure it’s working? Don’t overlook anything! Here is a lovely bar exam day checklist, packing list, and to-do list! Go through it carefully and make sure you have everything you need!

If you are taking the Michigan bar exam, come visit us on Monday night in the Kellogg Center, and in the morning or during lunch on Tuesday and Wednesday! We will be passing out more last-minute bare exam tips then!

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