As you get closer and closer to the bar exam, it’s important to prioritize a solid game plan for essentially everything. At this point, if you haven’t already done so, I recommend instituting a solid plan for how you will tackle timing on the MBE, MPT and Essays and as it gets even closer to the day, I suggest putting a full rehearsal into action. A rehearsal could include: running through a drive to the test center, getting together your wardrobe for each day and even testing everything you plan to consume on both days. Being better prepared means less surprises and having less surprises is truly a gift of security that’s undoubtedly essential in this highly stressful period.
As you put your preparation plan in place don’t just limit this to before the exam. Extend your preparedness to night one of the bar exam. I know I know that by this point in your educational career you’ve already experienced and overcome many exam marathons. However, if you’re anything like me, those marathons were oftentimes tainted by unreasonably long nights, intense cramming sessions and overall unhealthy traits. Traits which I do not recommend for the night after you’ve completed six hours of essay and MPT writing and before another six-hour day of completing 200 MBE questions. Put a solid plan in place that encourages rest, rejuvenation and a good mental space before day two. As you get your plan together here are five recommended do’s and don’ts.
1. Upload Your Essay and Prepare for Day 2
Well technically my first Do would be to take a full breath and completely relish in all you just accomplished. Tackling a full day of writing is no easy feat. However, after you’ve exhaled, please upload your essays! During the exam, you won’t have access to Wi-Fi and therefore you won’t be able to upload your exam to the system right after you’ve completed it. Therefore, the second you get Wi-Fi access be sure to get your essays uploaded.
2. Eat Something
Get some food in your system! Be sure to eat something that’s healthy, filling and that you don’t anticipate making you ill. Because you are now a master planner, I recommend eating whatever you planned beforehand. Now is not the time to try out that new restaurant that just opened up down the block. Save that for night two.
3. Contact Your Mentor
After day one you may have a lot of questions, concerns and anxieties about your performance that day and about how you anticipate performing on day two. This mindset is completely normal, but instead of dwelling in it and causing even more stress or instead of talking it over with your friend who just underwent the same experience, I recommend contacting your mentor. Talking over your experience with someone who is knowledgeable and removed from the situation could be just the encouragement you need to be ready for the next day.
4. Self-Care Ritual
If time permits, engage in your preferred self-care ritual. Whether that is 30 minutes of yoga, a 20-minute bath or just mindlessly watching your favorite show on TV, do something that makes you happy and takes your mind completely off what you just experienced.
5. Go to Bed Early and Set your Alarm
If you do nothing else (with the exception of your exam upload which you must do) go to bed early! I recommend getting at least eight hours of sleep. If you can do more, do more. Ensure that you set multiple alarms to wake up on time. But getting enough sleep will be the most crucial step towards day two success.
1. Discuss the Exam with your Friends
Do not, I repeat do not discuss the exam with your fellow bar exam friends! Discussing the exam will only deepen your anxiety as there is a strong likelihood that your friends arrived at different conclusions and utilized a different legal analysis for the essays. Although your answers may vary, it doesn’t mean that you’re wrong. However, it may be tough for you to remember this as you’re burdened with stress and doubt and you may just go down a pigeon hole that gets you nowhere. Just don’t do it.
2. Cram MBE Questions
Don’t try to cram MBE questions. Be confident in all you already know and instead rest your mind so that it can be at its peak for the next day. On night one you will likely be exhausted so it won’t help to squeeze in any last minute preparation. Truth be told, I was guilty of cramming MBE questions on night one and I got them all wrong. This didn’t help whatsoever for my mental state. So just avoid this and go to bed early.
3. Walk through your Exam Experience in your Mind
What’s done is done, so don’t try to walk through your day one experience in your mind. By this point, there is literally nothing you can do to change your answers. Your fate is already sealed so just be confident in the hard work you put in and shift your mind to thinking positively about day two.
4. Irresponsibly Celebrate
Don’t irresponsibly celebrate and sabotage your day two experience. Yes, you just achieved a major accomplishment, but save the celebratory bar hop for night two. A minor celebration is totally justified but do so within reason.
5. Don’t Review Online Bar Exam Message Boards
During bar prep, the internet can equally be your best friend and your worst enemy. There are many bar exam message boards out there designed to assist with the many questions you may have during your experience. Although many of the messages are effective, many can also be detrimental, as students openly talk about their dreaded experiences. Don’t delve into these message boards on night one or even night two for that matter. As you prepared for the exam, selective posts may have been helpful, but now that you are near the end, these boards may instead have an adverse effect.
Good luck with day two!