It is difficult to actually envision what the test day(s) will be like when you go and sit for the bar exam (unless you have already taken it, of course). Personally, I had so many questions and thoughts about what it would be like when I sat for the Michigan bar exam. I didn’t know how meals would work, where I would be mentally, or even how I would sleep the nights before the exam. I was a nervous wreck to be honest. Personally, studying and taking the bar were the most stressful times of my life. Thankfully, I am on the other side of that difficult experience and am now a licensed attorney. However, there are several things I would have done differently if I had to go back in time and take the bar exam again. However, one thing that I would not change is having my fiancé come with me to where the bar exam was being held.
There are so many positive things I could say about having a loved one join you on your bar exam journey. But what exactly are the benefits of having someone come to the bar exam with you? Why should you consider having a person stay near the testing facility waiting while you take the hardest exam of your legal career? And who should you pick if you decide to take someone? In this article, I hope to use my experience of having someone join me for the bar exam to help you in your upcoming testing experience.
I am a first generation college student and have absolutely no lawyers in my family. So it is safe to say that I really didn’t know what to expect. I took the Michigan bar exam in July after I graduated from law school. If I am being honest, studying for the bar was one of the worst times of my life. I have never felt more stressed and overwhelmed than I did immediately before the bar exam. I kept thinking about the “what ifs” and was worried about the logistics of the testing days. The Michigan bar exam is a two-day ordeal and both days are exciting and scary in their own ways. I stayed in a hotel that was about a five-minute drive from the testing facility where some of my friends from law school were also staying. My fiancé, Sam, took three days off of work to come with me to the hotel and be my support during the bar exam. This was the best part of the bar exam for me. I had the person I love the most with me to make sure I could be the most successful I could be all while feeling loved and supported.
Personally, I am not someone who has anxiety about driving or traveling. However, the days of the bar exam, I was an absolute mess. I was so focused on studying and figuring out how to pass the bar, I literally could not have had anything else on my plate. My fiancé was a rockstar and drove me to and from the test facility and the hotel (and to and from home to the hotel, for that matter too). I did not have to get stressed about traffic, figure out what way I needed to go, or where I needed to park. I was able to be dropped off and picked up and just focused on killing the exam that day. This is one of the big benefits to having someone at the testing center with you because you can have someone else worry about something that seems trivial but can really affect you on test day!
Caretaker and Mental Support
Having support during the bar exam is very important. This can be physically, with making sure you are taking care of yourself mentally, and by having a cheerleader there to make you feel confident! Personally, my fiance helped me in both aspects. He made sure I had my meals taken care of, ran out to get me anything I needed, and did everything in his power to anticipate what to do in order to help me the most! Also, he was able to comfort me in the middle of the bar exam experience. The first day of the bar exam was nothing like I expected, and I was very overwhelmed when he picked me up. I was thankful to have him there to vent, work through my insecurities, and get a little pep-talk. Having someone there to support you is such a positive experience when you are taking the bar exam and extremely stressed!
Who to Choose?
Okay, so let’s say you decide that you should bring someone with you on game day, the next question you should have is who should you take? You will want to pick a person who you feel makes you the most calm, can cater to your needs, and make you feel supported. The last thing you would want is to have someone who makes you more stressed on the day of the bar exam. It is best to have someone who is not also taking the bar exam, because they will need to focus on their own success and needs. You will want to also make sure that person has the flexibility to be there as the bar exam is usually in the middle of the week. Ultimately, choosing a “support person” is up to your preferences and needs for the bar exam.
Best of Luck on the Bar Exam!
The stress and anxiety of taking the bar exam is very real. Thus, it is important to set yourself up to be your best self on test day. If that means having a loved one at the testing facility with you, like me, then go for it. If you feel like being alone is the best way for you to focus and feel prepared for the exam, then do that. Ultimately, you have to figure out what would make you most successful and feel ready to kick the bar exam’s butt. You are going to do great and best of luck on the upcoming bar exam!