Should I Write or Type the Bar Exam?
This is a question that must be seriously considered by all bar examinees. You will hear some bar exam tutors or advisers say “You must type it!” It is dangerous, however, to make such a broad statement as there are pros and cons to both options.
If you are debating whether to write or type your exam, consider the following factors when you decide what the best option is for you.
Below, we list four factors to consider when making the decision to type or write the bar exam:
(1) Consider the Advantages and Disadvantages of Writing the Exam
(2) Consider the Advantages and Disadvantages of Typing the Exam
(3) Consider the Testing Environment You will Be In:
Do writers and typers take the exam in different rooms in your state? Do you get easily affected or distracted by your working environment? If so, find out whether the room for writers is smaller or more comfortable. Would the sound of a thousand typers drive you crazy or could this be remedied with some good ear plugs? Ask past bar examinees what they thought about their room environments and whether this affected their experience.
(4) Consider Your Preference and Comfort Level:
What are you used to? Did you write or type all of your law school exams? Do you like writing or typing better? Is the thought of your laptop crashing going to keep you up at night (even if it is a remote possibility)? Will you get irritable in a room full of typers? Or if you hand-write, will you worry about your hand cramping up? Decide what you will be more comfortable with.
Ultimate Issues to Consider when Deciding to Write or Type the Bar Exam:
If you are leaning toward typing, ask yourself these questions:
Do you have a laptop that is up for the job? If you have a laptop with a bunch of viruses or battery issues (or worse, one that randomly crashes!), you may want to reconsider typing the exam or you may want to borrow or buy a new laptop. If you choose the latter, then make sure you practice typing a few exams on the laptop you buy or borrow so that you are used to it and you know it is up for the job.
If you are leaning toward handwriting, ask yourself the following questions:
Is your handwriting legible? Can you write quickly enough? More importantly, can you hand-write for three hours in a row for a couple of sessions (or more, depending on your state)? Will your hand cramp up? If you decide to hand-write your exam, make sure you practice writing for lengthy periods of time that mimic the bar exam before the actual exam.
Ultimately, there is no decision that will be “right” for everyone. Consider all of the factors mentioned above, and then decide what is best for you. Good luck!
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