You’ve now had some time since the bar exam to recover. Hopefully you have gotten back to the life you were forced to neglect during the study period. Maybe you have even taken a vacation or bar trip of some kind, which we definitely recommend!
I went to Dubai to volunteer teaching kindergarten for four months, and the novel experience certainly helped me revive the shadow of my former self I had become while locked away with my books for months on end. After all, it’s really hard to think about your exam performance when trying to oversee the building of a dinosaur fort or teach someone how to read!
Sometimes trips, even shorter sojourns closer to home, can help to quiet the nagging that inevitably tries to set in.
Did I study hard enough? Will I pass? Why, oh why did I neglect to write about that one intentional tort that I spotted but didn’t have time for!? What if I fail and ruin my life, and my reputation, and the trajectory of my entire career, and the world at large?
This kind of ruminating is completely normal, but if you don’t stifle it now, it can really destroy the next few months as you wait for results.
Invariably, around this time of bar season, students start wondering if they should begin studying again. Are you wondering whether to unearth your outlines and begin anew? In this first of two posts, we offer a few scenarios that may describe how you’re feeling post-bar exam.
Did you flee from, faint during, or otherwise completely compromise your exam?
One of my favorite professors in law school told our class how he, on the last day of the bar, decided he couldn’t face another day of essays and performance test (PT) questions and convinced himself he had probably already failed anyway. So what did he do? He decided to drive right past the freeway off-ramp to the exam center, and he just kept driving. He ended up hours away in some remote location and forgot about the exam entirely until he was ready to take it again. (Unfortunately, when he got his scores back, he was actually on track to pass the first two days! This is just one reason that you should never, ever ditch your exam until it’s over. He could have saved himself a lot of time and trouble if only he had stuck with it!).
In any case, if you did something like this, or if some kind of medical or other event pretty much guaranteed a failing score for you, then you may be the perfect candidate for hitting the books before results come out. Take a little time off and make sure you’ve taken care of whatever health issue sealed your fate or conquered whatever demon made you feel that you had no choice but to run. If you’re currently too sick or exhausted or traumatized to think about studying now, wait. Give yourself a head start by beginning in September or October.
Did your exam software eat your essays or PTs (for sure)?
A lot of students have asked about the exam software issue that reared its ugly head in July. If you know for a fact that the graders did not get your exam for some reason, then study early. If you’re just suspicious that you wrote your essay on the wrong screen, deleted the whole thing, or failed to upload, then just wait to see how everything ends up. No one can predict how this software debacle will play out for everyone and we can’t know what adjustments or allowances may be made, or whether they are even necessary.
Did you leave any exam session largely incomplete?
If you stayed for the full exam but were unable to get to essays 3 and 6, or only did three quarters of the multiple choice questions or half of each PT before time ran out, you should consider studying sooner rather than later. If timing was your issue, then chances are, what you need is more timed practice. You probably need to work on synthesis in every area of your studying. Condense those attack plans, shorten your rule statements, and tighten up the old IRAC. Honestly assess your grasp of the substantive law as well to see if that needs some work too. Knowing the law well will speed things up, but you can’t get very far without actually practicing timed multiple choice exams (blocks of questions, not just one by one), and writing out full essays (not just outlining them).
Check out the next post in this series to learn more reasons why you should study while waiting for bar exam results.
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Did you find this post helpful? Check out some other great articles:
- Should I Start Studying Early for the Bar Exam?
- 5 Tips for Studying Now for the February Bar Exam
- Bar Exam Studying: What to do If You Want to Study Now
- Are You Next to Take the Bar Exam? 5 Tips for You!
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