Tips on Getting Into (and Staying) the Bar Zone:
- Follow the Bar Exam Pace: Follow the bar exam schedule. Get up and study by 8-9am, take a break at noon, study until 5-6. 8-10 hours, max. That’s it. No 12+ hour days. No studying until 3am and crashing until noon. It’s time to get your brain and your body on the bar exam schedule.
- Balance Review and Practice: This is not a law school exam where you are expected to know absolutely everything and get points simply for discussing it. This is the bar exam and although substance matters, so does style. Your response has to be thorough, organized and concise. If all you do is memorize then you won’t be able to actually write a response. If all you do is answer questions without self-assessing you won’t know if you made a mistake that needs addressing.
- Don’t Fight the System: Every time you read a question remember that it’s not about what you want to say, it’s about what the bar examiners want you to say. Use this week to get comfortable with answering questions and developing a rhythm so on exam day you can let the routine take over. By the end of the week (if it hasn’t happened already) the process will become second nature as your thinking and writing come together.
- Control Anxiety: Pre-exam jitters are absolutely normal and very necessary. It’s called adrenaline and it is actually useful because the adrenaline rush ensures that you’ll operate at peak performance. The problem occurs when it interferes with performance. It will subside once you start working because you know how to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Take a moment to think about all the work you’ve done to prepare. Look at the list you wrote last week- the reasons you will pass. Be confident in your abilities to have prepared as best you could for the exam. Begin the exam and work your way through, one question after another. As you move forward, your exam preparation will take over and you’ll soon be thinking of the questions and nothing else.