Seven Tips to Relieve Bar Exam Stress: Stress can take its toll on bar exam students. Many students feel stressed out about the bar exam—especially now—and start to feel overwhelmed at the thought of how much they do not know and stressed out at the prospect of not passing the bar exam.
If you fall into this boat, please keep in mind these seven tips to relieve bar exam stress. Try one or two of them. Trying to minimize stress and anxiety is not only important for your mental health (which is way more important than the bar exam!) but will also make it even more likely that you pass the bar exam since you will keep a clear head and be able to focus! Thus, below are seven tips to relieve bar exam stress:
Seven Tips to Relieve Bar Exam Stress
1. First, avoid people who are competitive or annoying or overbearing.
This could be physically avoiding them by not studying with them. It also helps to stay away from social media if your friends constantly post about the bar exam. Sometimes students do not realize how much their friends or classmates stress them out until they take some time away from them! Instead, spend time with people who are not taking the bar exam (or who are, but are not constantly talking about it!)
2. Have something to look forward to every day and every week.
It could be 30 minutes of your favorite television show and a glass of wine at night. It could be brunch with your significant other on the weekend. Do not neglect breaks. They can re-energize you and refocus you for the bar exam. (If you feel guilty about taking breaks during bar prep, or are wondering how to schedule them, see this post titled “Should I take breaks during bar prep?“)
3. Instead of thinking about how little you know, think about how much you have learned.
A lot of students will fret about not yet mastering present and future interests, or still not quite understanding negligent infliction of emotional distress—but yet they learned so much and forget to account for how much they learned! Instead, think about everything you have learned so far that you have not even thought about in law school!
Also, keep in mind that you do not need a perfect score to pass the bar exam. In most jurisdictions, you need the equivalent of a D+ (and that is a scaled score!). So it is okay to not know everything.
4. Get excited to take the bar exam.
This sounds unusual, 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!
5. Practice visualization.
If you picture the bar exam going terribly, running out of time, and not knowing anything, that could very well happen! Instead, picture it going well. Picture having a clear head, recalling the law, and staying within the time constraints. (We have some more tips on practicing visualization here.) The idea is to imagine your study time leading up to the bar exam going well as well as the bar exam going well — in as much detail as possible. Practicing visualization can make a big difference in your attitude and your score.
6. Make a bar exam study schedule.
You may just feel overwhelmed because you have so much to review and not enough time! So instead of staring at a huge list of things to do, divide it into days. Come up with a plan for the next few weeks. You will feel better as soon as you do! Then you won’t be staring at one long list, you will break it down into bite-sized chunks! It will feel much more manageable and less overwhelming to see a daily schedule.
7. Eat healthy and exercise. Get plenty of sleep.
This sounds like something you may have heard a million times, but it is important. Go on a 20 minute run (or do some other cardio for twenty minutes) and I can almost guarantee you will feel better, more energized, and be able to concentrate better. Do not sacrifice sleep for more “study time.” If you do this, you won’t be able to focus, learn anything new or file away information. On the flipside, if you make sleep a priority, you’ll be able to focus, learn new information, and retain what you learn.
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