Congratulations! You are in your last year of law school and you are looking forward to graduating! So you finally get to take a break and relax a bit, right? Unfortunately, even though you are ready for some much deserved rest, you are about to enter the next segment of your marathon, the bar exam! I remember how I felt after I finished law school and had to transition into bar prep. I was tired, stressed, and ready to put the bar exam behind me. Looking back, it’s hard to imagine myself going through it all! In order to make your life easier, I have curated a list of things that I did before I took the bar exam that helped me survive one of the most difficult periods of my life. Here are ten things for you to do before taking the bar exam:
Finish Law School
This may seem like a no-brainer, however in order to sit for the bar exam, you need to finish law school! The end of your 3L year can go by like a blur, and I am sure senioritis has solidly set-in. However, you will want to buckle down and finish your last semester strong! This will get you in the right headspace to start studying for the bar exam after graduation.
Take the MPRE
The MPRE, aka the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, is an exam that tests issues of professional responsibility in the legal field. This test deals with the Model Professional Responsibility rules that explain legal professional duties and responsibilities to their clients, other professionals, and to the world at large. In addition to the bar exam, most jurisdictions require prospective lawyers to pass the MPRE in order to become a licensed attorney (among other requirements). Fortunately, you can take the MPRE prior to passing the bar exam, thus, many people get the MPRE off their plate and take it prior to the bar exam!
Submit Your Bar Application
Many people do not realize there is an additional step other than just signing up for the bar exam–you must also submit a bar application for the jurisdiction you intend to practice in. The bar application is a very important task that law students must complete to be eligible to be admitted to the bar. This is something that is VERY time consuming so you will need to give yourself plenty of time to complete it, far prior to the bar exam. Each jurisdiction chooses the specific bar application process and the documents they require so you will want to check out the state bar website for more specific information.
Get Your Bar Prep Plan Together
Although you don’t want to admit you have to get right back to studying, you will need to get your bar prep plan together. Meaning you will need to decide what you are doing to prepare for the bar exam. There are numerous different ways to get ready for the bar: you can go through a bar course, self-study, or even get private tutoring! The Bar Exam Toolbox also offers tutoring and courses for certain bar exams. Ultimately, you will need to choose a method that works for you and helps you feel most comfortable.
Plan Your After Bar Trip
Many people take a trip following the bar exam to celebrate their law school graduation and being done with the bar exam. Not everyone takes one, so you will need to decide if you want to take a vacation following the bar exam. If you do end up wanting to get away after the exam, you will want to plan your trip long before the exam! Soon you will be too busy studying to focus on getting the details of your vacation hammered out so make sure you take some time to plan your after bar trip before you study for the bar exam.
Book Your Hotel and Accommodations
You are likely not sitting for the bar exam in the same city that you live in. Thus, you will probably want to stay the night at a hotel leading up to the exam and on your test days. The closest hotels to the testing center typically book early so you will want to get your accommodations situated way before you go to sit for the bar exam!
Get Your Supplies
Most bar exam administrators do not provide supplies that you need to take the bar exam. So you will want to make a trip to the store to stock up on pencils, erasers, highlighters and other office supplies before you take the bar exam. Also, make sure you check out your jurisdiction’s list of what you can (and cannot) bring with you into the testing facility. For example, here is a helpful link on what to take for the California bar exam.
See Your Friends and Family
As I have mentioned already, you are about to be very busy studying for one of the most important tests of your life. However, it is still important to maintain social relationships and experience the comfort of your loved ones. So make sure to go see your friends and family before the exam. They will provide you with love and support to help you feel ready for the bar exam.
Let Your Emotions Out
Cry. Get upset. Have an emotional breakdown! I know it may seem like I’m joking, but I’m being serious. Try to get all of your stress, anxiety, and built-up emotions out so that you can have a clean emotional state for when you take the bar exam. You will enter the exam with a clear head ready to focus on what the test has to throw at you!
Take a Deep Breath!
BREATHE!! This is the start of a very stressful time in your life. Finishing law school, going through bar prep, and sitting for the bar exam happen in quick succession. I remember feeling so overwhelmed by everything that I stressed myself out even more than I should have. So take a moment to just take it all in and breathe. You will be able to get through bar prep and you can pass the bar exam. Best of luck and you’ve got this!!