The bar exam may seem like a battle that is far in the distance, however it will be here before you know it! I know that is a scary thought, but time has a way of getting away from you when you are busy preparing for one of the hardest tests you will ever take. When I took the bar exam, the testing days were some of the most stressful, tiring, and exhilarating days of my life. There was so much that was riding on me passing the bar, so I tried to be as prepared as possible. That meant doing a LOT of prep before the month of the exam came. However my efforts were rewarded, and I successfully passed. The good news for you is that I have plenty of helpful tips so you can be successful too. Here are some of the things I did in order to set myself up for success on game day!
Get A Place to Stay
The best thing that I did for myself was to make sure I had a hotel room for the nights before and during the bar exam. I only lived about an hour from the testing facility but having a secured place to stay close by helped reduce my stress significantly. I didn’t have to worry about traffic or commuting, which meant I could just focus on getting myself prepared for a full day of testing. Seriously, do yourself a favor and get a place to stay close to the testing center.
Decide If Anyone Is Coming With You
Personally, this is something I highly suggest. My fiance (now husband) stayed at my hotel with me during the bar exam, and I was so thankful that he did! He made sure I was fed, well-rested, and prepared for my exam days. And it was also nice to have someone there for emotional support. However, not everyone likes having someone be there when you are trying to focus. Thus, you can help yourself get ready for game day by deciding whether you are going to bring anyone with you and have the appropriate conversations regarding this.
Make Your Action Plan
The days of the bar exam are going to be stressful. You will have limited time each day to review, eat, and sleep. In order to make these days easier for you, it is best to plan ahead. This means you should make a list of things you want to pack beforehand, decide where/what you want to eat during the days of the test, and figure out how you are getting to and from the testing center. Having concrete details decided will allow you to focus on what is important on game day, rather than getting stressed over the little things.
Schedule a Vacation Post-Bar
Having a vacation to look forward to after the bar exam is a great way to motivate yourself. Trying to plan a trip while you are in the height of your studying will only add to your stress. Thus, it is best to plan your post-bar trip now and iron-out all of the travel details. Following the bar exam, you will be able to relax and enjoy your much deserved break and will be thankful that you planned everything out beforehand!
Plan To Take A Break From Studying the Week Before
I know this sounds crazy, but trust me here. The bar prep period is long and daunting. There are so many topics and details to cover, and the studying seems endless. However, things come up during the bar prep period because life continues even though you are studying! So it is possible that you will get behind in your studying and feel stressed out before the exam. Thus, if you plan on taking a week off before the exam, you will have some wiggle room with your study schedule. Plus, taking a break before the bar exam will help clear your mind and allow you to focus on game day.
Write Yourself a Pep Note to Read Before the Exam
The first day of my bar exam, I spent the morning getting myself motivated and gave myself a pep talk to get my head in the game. Although I knew I hadn’t memorized every detail of every law, I went into my exam feeling confident that I would be prepared for whatever was to come. Thus, one way you can help prepare yourself is to write a short note or letter to boost your confidence. It could just be an inspirational quote or a few words of praise, but I promise you it will give you a little boost the morning of your exam.
Success is in Your Future
The bar exam is hard, not that you aren’t already aware. Because this is such a difficult test, you have to be extremely prepared mentally, emotionally, and physically. In order to be successful, you have to set yourself up for success. Fortunately, you are taking the steps to get ready and prepared for the bar exam. I know that you may be stressed and anxious now, but you will get through it like many attorneys before you. Take a deep breath and focus on what is best for you to do. You’ve got this. Best of luck during your study period and best of luck on game day!