Improve Your Writing on the MPT

Bar Exam Manners: Permissible and Impermissible Bar Exam Conversation Topics

Do not be that person—the one that is constantly making bad conversation choices at the bar exam—and stressing out everyone (including yourself!) in the process!

How do you make sure you are not that person?  We made a list of what not to talk about at the bar exam—and what to talk about instead:

What not to talk about at the bar exam:

Before the bar exam starts:

Do not say, “yeah I’m really glad I just reviewed the Zylagy-Hicks  case, who knows it could be tested.” Or “how do you perfect in a commercial tort claim again if you are secured creditor?” If you don’t know it now, asking inane questions about issues that possibly could — but probably never would —  come up will not help you.  Look it up while you are in your room.  Or forget about it and move on.

Once you are done with the essay portion: 

Please do not turn to your seatmate and start rambling on about what you wrote, or what issues you caught, or how you are so surprised they tested Conflicts of Law.

There are two reasons we strongly recommend against this:

  • First of all, you could easily be wrong.
  • Second of all, all you will do is stress  out yourself and others. You will stress yourself out because others will inevitably say something different than you did (whether right or wrong). You will stress others out because they will think that what they wrote is wrong if they didn’t say the exact same thing you did, which they probably didn’t.

But most of all there is nothing you can do about it once it is over!   It really makes no difference what you wrote. It is over.  Stop thinking about it.  Stop talking about it. Move on.

If you cannot help yourself and need to talk about what you wrote on the essays, call your mom or sister or your best friend, or someone else who is polite enough to listen.

If you are thinking, “Well if I don’t talk about what I wrote, what will I talk about?” You’re in luck. Because, in order to stop stressing yourself and others out, we have made a permissible list of conversation topics at the bar exam.

What to talk about at the bar exam:

Permissible Bar Exam Conversation Topics include:

  • Post-bar exam plans (whatever they are, whether it’s going on vacation or sleeping 14 hours. . .)
  • How you’ll be happy when it’s over
  • The weather
  • The bar exam security policy
  • Game of Thrones
  • Taylor Swift vs Kim Kardashian, or whatever celebrity nonsense  shows up on your Facebook news feed

Impermissible Bar Exam Conversation Topics include:

  • What you wrote for question 1
  • What you wrote for question 2
  • What you wrote for question 3
  • What you wrote for question 4 . . .
  • Any sentence that begins with “hey didn’t you graduate last year. . .?” Or “Didn’t you take the bar exam already. . . ?” Stop talking. It’s none of your business.
  • Politics (*may be a bit too depressing)

Wondering if you are that person?

Here are some signs you are THAT person:

  • People avoid eye contact with you.
  • People abruptly walk away from you, usually after you say something like, “Hey, for the Real Property question, did you catch that . . . .”
  • Someone has posted this to your Facebook page.

In the end . . .

We know you are nervous and stressed out and do not want to have to think about taking the bar exam again. We know that the people that tend to talk about the exam questions are the ones that are the least confident about themselves passing and are looking for reassurance. Indeed, it is a mechanism to reassure yourself and to cope with stress.  And we understand that.

But it can also be very taxing on others and cause unnecessary anxiety and stress at an already very-stressful event. It will not only stress out others, you will inevitably end up stressing yourself out too.  In the end, it does more harm than good. And when people are already feeling their worst and completing the scariest test of their life, they do not need—and you do not need—any extra unnecessary stress added to the mix.

Conversely, by talking about something other than the bar exam, you could actually lessen anxiety. Remind yourself and others that this is not the end-all, be-all. That pass or fail, life will go on, and you will still have a mom or dad or significant other or dog that loves you and you will still survive and be awesome.

So best of luck. Stay strong. Stay focused.  Voice your very strong opinions about the weather, and  T. Swift and Kim Kardashian. Talk incessantly about your future plans to see Ghostbusters. No one will care, but remember your shallow and unmeaningful conversation has never been more powerful or meaningful than now.