The month leading up to the exam can be nerve-racking. So much goes through one’s mind as the exam date approaches. You may be asking yourself: how did the time fly by so quickly? Am I ready to sit for this administration?
Working consistently and diligently will get you to the finish line. If you are fretting, there are helpful things you can do in the weeks ahead of game day:
Focus on Learning From Mistakes
Take timed and simulated practice
Confronting the application of rules with more practice is critical at this stage. Lectures and the lengthy outlines are also helpful but be sure that most of your time is going toward practicing exam portions and reviewing your answers. Be sure to use a timer, and stick to it throughout the section. It will help with your pace for exam-day.
One of the reasons many of us do not spend as much time practicing is because it is a tough pill to swallow if the answers we select are wrong. If you are afraid of confronting practice for this reason, then remember that the mistakes you make along the way are to help clarify rules and their tricky application before the exam day.
Embrace the Learning Process
Learning from your mistakes, even if it is a month from the exam, is normal and necessary. Making mistakes is necessary for your bar exam journey because:
- You will learn from these mistakes by reviewing the material and digesting it in a comprehensive and easy-to-understand manner
- The main point is that you learn something important from your practice. You won’t make the same mistakes on test-day. Make it your mission to learn this now so that you will not repeat the same misunderstandings on game-day.
- Remember that not being perfect at this stage is in your best interests and makes you better at this exam! If you got all the answers correct, then you might mistakenly believe that you are all set a month before the exam.
- It teaches you to have self-compassion during the learning process and to let go of any negative feelings you have from the results.
Practice Remaining Calm
Some of the most stressful aspects of the bar exam involve the test-taking experience itself. Especially now that many states have shifted from a remote exam to an in-person administration, what does this mean for you? Do you need to worry about the exam-day logistics such as how you will get to the exam? Are there exam-day protocols that you need to be aware of? Will you have to wear a mask during the lengthy exam?
Anxiety has its upsides such as pumping you up for your best performance and push through your studies. Then there is the downside – anxiety can be debilitating. However, the upside to this is that your anxiety can be managed. In fact, there are techniques to help you to develop new ways of thinking before the July exam.
Here are some ideas to help you to slow down and remember you can do this:
Implementing breathing exercises as a daily habit for a month is an excellent way to train your brain and body to be calm in chaotic and stressful situations.
Whether you do yoga or another form of breathing and movement, it is not time wasted! A strong body makes a strong mind.
Statements to affirm positive thinking and revive your motivation can help you have a positive mindset about the exam. Some ideas include repeating a mantra to yourself such as:
“I am putting in the work, and I am prepared to pass”
“I believe in myself and my capabilities”
“I am calm and strong enough to overcome anything I face on the exam”
“I can still make progress”
“I am going to be a licensed attorney!”
Reset your Mind with Meditation
Take a little time each day to close your eyes, take deep breaths and release distractions and negative thinking (such as “I suck at Property”).
It may seem like a major commitment if you are new to meditation, but all it takes is as little as five minutes a day to make a major difference. You can get started by checking out a guided meditation exercise on Youtube, Spotify or even tips on TikTok.
Developing healthy habits are not only helpful for stress reduction but can also increase confidence for exam-day.
Prepare for Exam Day Success
Equip yourself with information to prepare to enter the exam with ease and confidence in your preparation.
You can get started by reading your state’s board of law examiners website and any emails from them so that you are familiar with important information such as test day protocols. For example, does your testing site restrict certain items? It’s important to know this ahead of time. Being caught off guard on exam-day may add unnecessary stress to your exam experience.
Make Each Day Count
You can accomplish anything that you focus on between now and the end of the bar exam marathon.
Remember that while time feels like it is running out, it is not over until it’s over! That the progress you are making today and tomorrow and the next day— it all counts!
Keep going until the very end—when the proctor says it’s over on day 2!