Published June 4, 2018
You want to do well on the bar exam. Actually, you want to do awesome on the bar exam. But you’re nervous - are you prepared? Will you pass?
While you can’t guarantee success, you can help yourself stay focused to improve your performance. Here are some quick, last-minute bar exam tips for the final stretch. Good luck!
Sleep is your secret superpower for the bar exam (and really, every other day of your life). Sleeping well helps you process information. It’s also easier to think critically, make connections, and express yourself verbally when you’re well-rested.
Do not: Pull a bunch of all-nighters close to/during exam time. Study smart, start early, and get some rest!
The bar exam can be life-changing. It’s draining emotionally, mentally, and physically. You’re going to want to spend all your time studying, sitting for the exam, and trying to sleep.
Try to remove as many daily stresses as possible during this week. Delegate or pre-prepare childcare, petcare, chores, meals, and other responsibilities so you can dedicate your focus to to the exam.
Do not: Neglect your responsibilities (obviously), but also try not to get sucked into lower priority tasks. There will always be emergencies, and those are understandable. Use your best judgment to decide whether a person or event takes precedence over your bar exam.
Start writing your answers before you finish reading. Give yourself time limits for how long you’re allowed to spend on one question or section.
Answer the questions you DO know first, then come back to the ones you’re struggling with. This ensures you get as many points as possible. Plus, other questions may spark your memory to help answer the tough ones.
Do not: Let yourself agonize over one question for too long. In the time it takes to stare at one question, you could be answering five more!
Get familiar with the structure of the bar exam. Figure out which topics you’re most likely to encounter. Here’s a pretty neat resource on MPT frequency.
While there’s no guarantee YOUR bar exam will use the most common topics, it gives you somewhere to start.
Do not: Stare at the list of topics until you go bald from stress. It’s a big list, and it can seem overwhelming. If you’re this type of person, start studying months in advance so you don’t freeze up in the final stretch.
No matter the outcome of the bar exam, you’re a trooper for seeing it through to the end.
Also, give yourself permission to shelve responsibilities and personal problems during exam time. There will be plenty of time when the exam is over.
Do not: Beat yourself up for prioritizing the bar exam, or for getting a less-than-awesome score. If you did your best, well - that’s all any of us can do.