What To Expect At The Next In-Person Bar Exam
As a COVID-19 vaccine is more widely distributed, so too does the process of taking the Bar Exam in-person again. With positive COVID-19 vaccine news getting released daily, it won’t be long before the country begins returning back to normal. While we’re still some months away from going to the movies and sitting inside restaurants, the light is getting brighter at the end of the tunnel. If you’re sitting for the July 2021 bar exam, check out this post where we track which states are delaying or modifying the July 2021 bar exam. You’ll notice that many have already announced the summer exam will again be remote.
However, if you’re scheduled to take a Bar Exam in 2022 or beyond, there’s a good chance that the bar exam will be in-person again. If this applies to you, you may have questions regarding in-person Bar Exams. With much of the current information focused on the upcoming remote exams, we are looking into the future to predict what the next in-person bar exam will look like. This information will help manage expectations and prepare you for success on day one of the next in-person Bar Exam.
What To Expect At The Next In-Person Bar Exam
Expect A Lot Of People…Like A Lot
Students are often shocked at the sheer size of testing sites and the large numbers of people all packed in. (Check out this account of someone who sat for the California bar exam. For those taking the UBE, read this post about the UBE testing experience. The Washington DC test is recapped here. For everyone else, check out this post on what it’s like to take your state bar exam.) While it may be hard to imagine now, testing sites can accommodate between 500 and 1000 students. Once inside, you’ll likely be in awe (or mortified) at the seemingly endless rows of tables, chairs, and power strips. We hear students report back that simply popping your head up during the exam to look around is electrifying. With large numbers of people, be prepared for hundreds of students flipping pages, typing, and thinking at the same time. The sound of hundreds of students typing at the same time is something memorable.
The Nervous Energy
Everybody, no matter how confident they may seem, is nervous and apprehensive to take the Bar Exam. With a large number of students, expect nervous energy before, during lunch, and after the exam. You’ll undoubtedly hear students before the exam asking other students the elements for a crime, the rule for strict scrutiny, etc… Like a racehorse, we suggest you put on your blinders (headphones) and focus on yourself. Taking part in conversations like these can give you last-minute anxiety and panic.
Expect more of the same at lunch, only this time arguments and reasoning from the morning session will be debated. Although the exam instructions explicitly prohibit talking about the morning session, it’s inevitable that students will gossip during lunch. Similar to the period before the exam started, try and ignore these conversations. You’ve already submitted your answers for the morning session and what’s done is done. There is no reason to garner a false sense of confidence or a feeling of doubt going into the afternoon. After the exam has concluded for the day, expect students to talk about their experiences, certain questions, etc.… Again, try and focus on yourself and the job that you have to do.
Your Test-Taking Neighbors
You may experience your neighbor making small talk or being friendly before and after testing has concluded. It’s common for chit-chat to occur when tests are being handed out or collected, which can sometimes take a while. Many students end up making friends with their Bar Exam neighbors, which is great. You’re going to be sitting next to these people for six hours per day, so get to know them. You’ll find that most of the time a common “we’re all in this together” mentality develops. By the end, you’ll feel as though you served in combat with these people! Ok maybe that’s a bit exaggerated but you know what we mean.
Stamina and Fatigue
Stamina and fatigue are huge aspects of preparing for and taking the Bar Exam. If you’re reading this article, you likely haven’t started bar prep yet, so don’t worry too much about this. However, expect that no matter how much you prepare for the exam, you’re going to feel drained during it. The experience of taking the Bar Exam is mentally and emotionally draining. Bar prep doesn’t prepare you for the items mentioned above. As a result, dealing with those on top of the Bar Exam can be a lot to handle. Just remember that it is normal to feel tired at some point during the exam. It is not an indicator of how well you’re doing on the test. You can also expect to feel wiped after day one, which is also normal.
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