Post bar exam anxiety won’t go away!
If you are feeling a lot of post bar exam anxiety, you are not alone. Many students feel stressed out after they take the bar exam. They worry about whether they passed. And they can’t stop thinking about the questions they answered incorrectly! If you are feeling a lot of post bar exam anxiety, we will tell you tips for easing it in this post.
How to Ease Post Bar Exam Anxiety
If you find your post bar exam anxiety is still at an all-time high, it is worth it to keep the following tips in mind:
Remember that what you are feeling is normal and often does not mean you failed!
So many students think that feelings correlate with results. That is, if they feel good about an exam, that means they passed. And if they don’t feel good about it, that means they failed. This is simply not true for the bar exam! Some people feel great about the exam and barely pass. And we’ve had some students feel terrible about it and suffer from extreme post bar exam anxiety, then score in the 90th percentile!
There are many reasons for thinking you failed when you did not:
- One reason is that the bar exam does not require a high score to pass (in jurisdictions that require a 270 out of 400 or 135 out of 200, that is a D+ or 67.5% — and that is after the curve that you need that!). So, maybe you didn’t do great on the bar exam. The good news is – you don’t have to!
- Another reason is that students tend to think about what they didn’t know rather than what they did know. For example, you may keep thinking about how you had no clue how to answer that Real Property question or Torts question — and you will not think about the answers you did know. This is human nature.
- Further, if you talk to friends about what they wrote, you may have convinced yourself you answered something incorrectly when you didn’t. (We have had entire groups of students convince themselves that they answered a question incorrectly based on what someone else wrote, when in reality, they answered it correctly!)
- You forget you are not compared to the model answer. Graders naturally tend to compare students to one another. So your answer will be compared with others who may not know the answer either.
Please read this post that details how you may feel after the bar exam and why it does not correlate with results.
Take a break.
Spend time with your family and friends. Go on a post-bar exam vacation. Look for a job or something to occupy your time. Volunteer. Sometimes to ease post bar exam anxiety, you just need to remind yourself that the bar exam is not the end-all-be-all. Yes, it is an important test. But it is not life or death, and life will go on whether you pass or fail.
Stop analyzing the exam.
Reminder yourself that it does not matter what you wrote. Or what you didn’t write. And it does not matter whether you ran out of time. Or whether the answer was (A) or (B) to that tricky multiple-choice question. It is over and you cannot change it now! So let it be!
When you find yourself analyzing the exam, tell yourself that it is out of your hands. This is much easier to do as the bar exam gets farther and farther away! Generally, students feel anxious right after the exam. Then, it starts to calm down. Then students begin to feel anxious as the results release date approaches.
Stay away from “toxic” people who increase your post bar exam anxiety.
If you have friends that took the bar exam that will not stop talking about it, or that are increasing your post bar exam anxiety, take a break from them! Or nicely tell them that you do not want to talk about the exam. Sometimes just changing who you talk to or what you talk about can make a huge difference.
Make a “Plan A” for if you pass.
Come up with a “Plan A” for if you pass the bar exam. What will you do? Will you look for jobs? Reach out to specific contacts? Move? Think about this in detail. For some people, the prospect of passing is just as anxiety-inducing as the prospect of failing! Having a plan can help you ease this anxiety. We have more about creating a Plan A here.
Come up with a “Plan B” for if you fail.
If you fail, what will you do? Who is in your support group? Will you get tutored? Take time off work? Having some kind of plan in mind will help ease your anxiety if you fail. We talk more about creating your Plan B here!
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