February 2021. The second month of the new year and thankfully two months after 2020. The month that we celebrate Black history, and also the month of the dreaded bar exam. After much back and forth about whether a bar exam would even be administered, it appears that all US jurisdictions that issue a February sitting of the exam have decided to follow through with the bar and for the most part to do so remotely.
As we inch closer and closer to February 23 and 24, the dates that the bar exam will be administered in most jurisdictions, examinees should begin getting to the end of their bar prep checklists. If you’re asking what exactly a bar prep checklist is or looking for ways to supplement your current checklist, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I will be digging into some helpful checklist items that can assist you through your final two weeks of bar prep.
1. Adjust to your Exam Day Schedule
The last two weeks before your exam is a great time to begin adjusting to your exam day schedule. This means doing your best to wake up at the time you will on exam day and begin your study session at the same time your bar exam will begin. Adjusting to this schedule beforehand will only help you to be more proficient, focused, and, most importantly, awake on exam day.
If you don’t know your exam day schedule just yet, check out your jurisdiction’s website. A detailed schedule should likely already be uploaded, giving you your exam block times as well as the breaks you will receive throughout the day.
During these final two weeks try to mirror this schedule as best you can. For example, if your exam begins at 8:45 am and ends at 5:30 pm, try to wake up early enough with time to eat breakfast and be in front of your laptop at start time. Throughout the day try to take breaks during the allotted break times, and then, if you feel satisfied with your work for the day, wrap things up at 5:30 pm.
2. Gather your Supplies
Do you know what supplies you will need for the bar exam? Having a laptop is a given, but don’t overlook any other items you may need for the exam. For example, will your essays be open book? If so, do you have the scratch paper, paper outlines, paper notes, and paper books you are allowed to bring in? Do you have an older laptop with a faulty webcam? Do you need to repair your webcam before exam day? Do you have the snacks that you are allowed to consume during the breaks? If not, now is a good time to gather these items.
3. Acquaint yourself with your Jurisdiction’s Rules
Acquainting yourself with your jurisdiction’s rules is perhaps the most important checklist item. Unfortunately, the remote bar exam has extensive rules that you must understand or you risk failing the exam.
One rule to keep in mind is the mock exam. Jurisdictions offering remote testing are issuing mandatory mock exams to test the online exam system and your camera’s visual features. Remember, your camera will need to be on throughout the exam as a virtual proctor will be watching you throughout the test. Also, bar exam software has been unreliable over the years, therefore, if required, you must complete the mock exam to sit for the bar.
Also, some other rules I’ve seen that could be easily overlooked , include: not wearing a hat, headphones, or earplugs during the exam. If you have a water bottle, it must not have a label. Be sure to dig into your jurisdiction’s rules so that you are prepared.
4. Secure your WIFI
Ensure that you secure your WIFI before the exam! Remember that if testing remotely, you can choose the setting where you sit for the exam. So, choose somewhere that has a strong and reliable internet connection that will likely hold up throughout the exam. Your jurisdiction may have already posted the internet connection required. For example, the Georgia bar states that a minimum internet speed of 2 Mbps is required to upload your exam answer and monitor files. If you are taking the exam from home, I recommend having your WIFI provider’s technician test your connection to ensure you will meet your jurisdiction’s required speed.
If you are still wondering where to take the exam, I recommend checking in with your school. Some schools are providing testing locations for examinees. Also, consider private study rooms at a local library or maybe even your employer’s conference room. Do whatever it takes to make sure your internet is all set on exam day.
5. Keep Doing Practice Questions
Finally, keep doing as many practice questions as possible! I know this checklist item is no fun, but the more questions you do, the more exposure you will have to the prospective type of questions you will get on the exam. Also reviewing the answers to these questions will only improve your technique and proficiency on the exam.
If you can do at least 50-100 MBE questions and at least two essay questions each day, answering these questions under timed conditions and completing a careful review of the answers will only increase your likelihood for success on the exam.
As you implement these checklist items remember to put your health and your sanity above everything else! We are still going through an extremely difficult and unprecedented time as a country and you have already succeeded by making it this far.