Day Before the Bar

Do’s and Don’ts the Day Before the Bar Exam

One of the common questions bar students ask is, what do I do the day before the bar exam? Do I review outlines or should I review flashcards? What about looking at old exams? You might be surprised to learn that none of these answers is correct. The below discusses the best and worst things you can do the day before the big test. (Note: This post assumes test takers are sitting for the bar in-person. Due to Covid-19, please review guidelines from the state where you plan to take the test.)

Do’s and Don’ts the Day Before the Bar Exam

DO: Travel to the city where you are taking the bar.

Most states only offer a handful of testing locations, and it is likely that where you live is not one of those sites. If you live more than an hour from the testing site, it is likely worth it to book a hotel close to where you are testing. Trust me, there is nothing worse than car troubles the day of the test. Use the day before the exam to travel to your test city and play some confidence-boosting music. Nothing is more important than going into the test day with the right mindset.

DON’T: Cram (or even study)

At this point, you know what you know. There is no amount of cramming that will help you learn the last part of the rule of perpetuity. It is also extremely unlikely that you will remember whatever you look at the day before and recognize it on the test. If anything, studying the day before will make you even more nervous because you will begin to panic if you realize there is material with which you are unfamiliar. The best thing you can do is leave the study materials behind before you travel to your destination. If you do feel the need to study, do a form of “light” studying like reviewing flashcards or some notes.

DO: Create a bag with your admission ticket, ID, and pencils

The goal for the day before the bar is to reduce as much stress about the test as possible. Making your test day bag will be a big help. Print out your admission ticket and pack whatever else is required for you to take the test. Doing this the day before will be one less thing to worry about when you wake up the next day.

DON’T: Look at past bar passage rates

Bottom line, just about anything that has to do with the content of the bar exam is prohibited the day before the exam. Do not look at how many people passed last year and do not look at essay topics that have been tested in the last couple of years. Just don’t do it. None of these activities will reduce your stress, and as I stated above, the goal for the day is to reduce your stress.

DO: Scope out the test site and surrounding area

While you should not stress about the content of the exam, it is very helpful to know how far the test site is from wherever you are staying. This is not the day to be late because you took a wrong turn or are not sure where to go. Additionally, if you are not eating a lunch provided by the exam site, it is good to know what type of food venues are close. Again, you do not wait to either miss lunch or be late coming back because you do not know what is around the area.

There’s a lot to consider the day before the bar exam. Check out more advice on what to eat before and during the exam and how to get a good night’s sleep to ensure you’re ready for the big day!

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