Three Ways to Have a Better Bar Exam Experience
After you’ve suffered through the challenges of preparing for the bar exam, you’ve probably become terrified about what the actual test itself is like. While the bar exam is difficult, there’s no getting around that, there are a few things you can do to have a better bar exam experience. Thinking about these things ahead of time will hopefully relieve some of the stress that those few days will bring. We want to help make your bar exam experience go as smoothly as possible!
Three Ways to Have a Better Bar Exam Experience
Check out these three things you can do to have a better bar exam experience:
1. Take it easy the day before.
It’s going to be hard to resist the temptation, but you shouldn’t study the day before the bar exam. Trust in your preparation and your study habits – you’ve done everything you can do! If you try to study the day before (while you’re understandably stressed and overwhelmed), you could end up undoing a lot of the work you’ve already done. You might see a question you don’t understand and it could send you into a tailspin of nerves and panic. At this point, you know what you know. You aren’t going to learn an entirely new concept properly the day before the bar exam. You will have a better bar exam experience if you don’t study the day before. Note: If you must study, just review outlines or problems you have already done. Don’t look at any new questions!
So what should you do? Take it easy. Travel to the testing site (if you’re staying overnight), get settled in your hotel and make sure you have everything ready to go. You don’t want to be scrambling in the morning looking for your ID and ticket. It is a great idea to visit the actual testing location if it is open. The first time you walk in can be incredibly overwhelming. Get this moment out of the way ahead of time and you will have a much better bar exam experience the next day. You’ll know what to expect. Make sure you get a good dinner and go to bed early! Don’t forget to set multiple alarms!
2. Be prepared and pack for all possible conditions.
Proper packing is critical for having a better bar exam experience. One thing to remember is that it is often very cold in the testing location. The best thing you can do is dress in layers! If you get too hot during the exam, then you’ll have a layer you can take off. If your bottom layer becomes too warm, you can always go back during your lunch break and change. You need to be prepared for all possible temperature conditions! You don’t want to end up distracted and shivering while you’re trying to take the exam!
Also, consider bringing things like earplugs. Some people get distracted by any sound, and with hundreds of people all in one location, there’s bound to be some amount of noise. Everyone will be typing away on their keyboards, there will be an occasional cough and sneeze, etc. If these are things that could interrupt your concentration, you will have a much better bar exam experience if you have earplugs. To help you know what to pack, we have created this excellent printable bar exam packing list!
3. Put each session out of your mind after the time is up.
After each portion of the exam, it can be very tempting to want to rehash each essay with friends or look up a multiple choice question you were unsure about. You will have a much better bar exam experience if you resist this temptation. Everyone most likely answered each essay in a slightly different manner. And that’s ok! But when you hear about someone who wrote something different from you, you might start to panic and worry about whether you were right.
That’s not productive, and it can throw you off for the rest of the exam. As soon as time is called for each section, that section is over. It’s done. You can’t change anything! All you can do is do your best on the remaining sections. If you look up answers and realized you missed something, you’ll just put more pressure on yourself to get everything else right. It’s best to remain in blissful ignorance. Put each section behind you and focus on the next. That’s really all you can do!
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