Bar Exam Feelings

Common Post Bar Exam Feelings And What They Mean

If you have taken a recent administration of the bar exam and are one of the thousands of people anxiously awaiting results, you’re not alone! Take a deep breath and realize that the hardest part of the bar exam process is over with. Now that you have taken the exam, you may be dealing with anxiety, stress, or frustration in connection with your performance on the exam. These are common bar exam feelings!

You may be thinking – “Did I fail the bar exam? I definitely feel like I failed the exam.” First, relax. Second, nobody really talks about the mixed emotions that accompany most test-takers after the exam. Instead, most of the emphasis during bar prep is focused on managing expectations and emotions prior to and during the exam. Third, as mentioned above, you’re not alone. It’s totally normal to feel this way after the bar exam!

Common Post Bar Exam Feelings And What They Mean

Common Feelings After the Bar Exam

Let’s be real for a second. Nobody comes out of the bar exam and feels remarkable or spectacular about their performance. The most common feelings and emotions experienced by test takers after the exam are anxiety and frustration. Check out this post on post-bar exam anxiety and just how normal it is!

You may feel anxious about whether you passed or failed the exam. You may worry whether you will still have your job if you fail. In fact, you may even wonder about what life will look like if you have to study and take the exam again. Many test-takers are plagued with anxiety over employment offers being rescinded (which they rarely are), having to give up another two months to study for the exam, and thoughts about how friends, family, and colleagues will view them if a passing score isn’t achieved. These thoughts are all and reasonable, rational, and more common than you think. For those concerned about being fired if they fail, check out this post for some reassurance.

Feeling frustrated that you should have known that MBE question? Feeling annoyed at yourself for failing to identify a certain essay issue? If you are feeling this way, know that there are one thousand other test-takers that feel the exact same way. It’s normal to feel frustrated after spending so much time practicing, studying, and preparing.

Why You’re Feeling Like This

Now that we have established that your feelings are totally normal and that thousands of other test-takers are in the same emotional boat as you – it’s time to explain why you’re feeling the way you do.

The first and most obvious reason is the fact that the bar exam is an incredibly difficult test that assesses a variety of different subject areas in a short amount of time. Like we mentioned above, almost nobody walks out of the bar exam feeling like Mario after defeating Bowser. It’s only reasonable that you may be experiencing anxiety, stress, frustration, etc.…based on just how big of a deal the exam is and what you may have riding on a passing score.

Second, it is almost inevitable that immediately after the exam you started talking with friends. You wanted to get their opinions on what they thought of the questions, the exam length, and the overall difficulty, etc.…These conversations are a major source of feeling inadequate, unintelligent, and like you flunked the exam. In reality, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, but we tend to only focus on our weaknesses when comparing ourselves to others.

Third, it is an innately human characteristic to focus only on what we did not know on the exam, rather than everything that we did know. Most people don’t remember the questions they nailed. Instead, they remember those that they narrowed down to two potential correct answer choices, those that other test-takers answered differently, and those that they flat out did not know.

What Your Feelings Don’t Mean

Your feelings are real, but they do not mean one thing over another. There are literally thousands of people who feel like they bombed the bar exam that end up passing. On the flip side, some people fail the exam but felt as though they performed sufficiently enough to warrant a passing score. Your feelings don’t reflect reality. Your feelings are not facts.

For example, just because your boss looked at you in a funny way, or spoke with a sharp tone, doesn’t mean that he or she is mad at you. There are a million potential reasons why your boss acted this way. So, there is no reason for you to spend the next couple of days wondering whether you’re in trouble or whether you’re going to lose your job.

The same reasoning applies to those feelings and emotions experienced by test-takers after the bar exam. Remember, what’s done is done and what’s to come is…what’s to come!

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