It is finally here, exam week. The weeks (or months) of studying you have put in have come to an end. You likely know more law than you ever thought you could know. You have written more essays and done more MBEs than you thought possible. You are prepared. Now, you just need to execute the exam just as you have prepared. To help you get through exam week, we have some tips for you.
- Make sure you have everything you need at the hotel.
- Make sure your computer is ready to go (if you are typing the exam).
- Make sure you eat plenty of good food. Food is fuel and can actually help you perform better.
- Make sure you know where you are going to upload your answers.
- Try to get as much sleep as you can.
- Don’t study at night (and if you have to study, then just a very little bit). You have worked hard throughout the day (six hours taking an exam is really challenging) and you need time to rest and recuperate.
- Don’t talk to others about the exam answers after the test. Doing so will just make you feel terrible and doubt yourself.
Writing Portion Tips
- Remember to execute your answers as you have practiced. You don’t want to throw out the window all of the excellent exam writing skills that you have honed over the past months, because of fear, adrenaline, or a lapse in judgment. (I know this sounds crazy, but I know students who have done this!)
- Don’t worry about what people around you are doing. Many students feel pressure on exam day because of what someone else is doing (if the person next to you starts writing, you must start writing). No. There is no point in paying attention to what others are doing; just focus on yourself.
- The MBE day, in my opinion, is about staying focused, managing time, and being deliberate. Give each question the right amount of time; don’t go crazy second- guessing yourself; and move on if a question seems just too terrible (you know I am talking about some of those crazy mortgages questions!).
- If you are having trouble focusing, are getting too tired, or just need a moment, take a mini break! It may be worth it to walk to the bathroom and throw water on your face or get a drink of water from the drinking fountain or just close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Do what you need to do to keep focused. Not carefully reading the MBE questions is the easiest way for things to take a turn for the worse.
- And lastly, remember my dad’s advice: “At least you know the answer is on the page!”
If You Feel That Anxiety Is Getting the Better of You
The best thing you can do is to breathe. I think the most anxious time is when you are standing outside or just sitting in the exam room waiting for things to begin. If you feel the anxiety taking over, just take a moment and breathe. Remind yourself how hard you have worked leading up to this moment and how prepared you are. If quotes help you, you might be interested in some of them from this book. I think this one is great for exam day:
“Panic and clarity cannot coexist.
Panic breeds panicked thinking.
Calm and steadiness breed clarity of thought.
I choose calmness and clarity over panic.”
A Special Tip for Those Taking the California Bar Exam
For my dear readers taking the California exam, I wish you a special bit of luck. The last day of the exam is extra challenging because you need to keep going while basically everyone else is done. Because there are three days, you really need to make sure you are taking good care of yourself throughout the week in order to have the stamina for all three days of the exam. The exam is a three-day marathon—not a sprint. Get some sleep, eat well, and be kind to yourself. That will help you be ready to take on the final day.
Best of luck on the bar exam everyone!
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