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summer and fall 2020 uniform bar exam recap

Five Essential Last-Minute Bar Exam Tips

Taking the bar exam in a few days? Here are five essential last minute bar exam tips to keep in mind. These last minute bar exam tips make the difference between passing and failing for some!

Five Essential Last Minute Bar Exam Tips

1. If you must review the day before the bar exam, don’t review the wrong way.

If you want to review notes the day before the exam or look over outlines, that is okay. Some people get more stressed out if they don’t review. However, do not do timed exams the day before the bar exam (or, say, the Sunday before). Do not do any new problems that you have not already looked at!

Why not? Doing “new” problems can hurt you more than it can help you. It can make you feel anxious if you happen to answer questions you do not know. It can make you lose sleep or lose focus during the actual exam. Stick to what you have already seen if you must study!

If you can help it, take the day off before the bar exam and let your brain rest and get ready for the task that lies ahead! (See this post on “Should I study the day before the bar exam?“)

Note: Some students ask us if we recommend studying during the lunch break in between essay sections or multiple-choice sections. We do not!  That break is crucial to let your brain rest and gear up for the next part of the bar exam.

2. If you visualize yourself failing, you will fail. Visualize yourself succeeding instead! 

Visualization is a powerful tool. And thus this is one of our essential last minute bar exam tips. Many athletes use visualization prior to games to get in the right mindset. They credit visualization to being a reason that they succeed.

stay healthy in law schoolYou can use the same tool to help you pass the bar exam. If you visualize yourself getting overwhelmed, forgetting the law you just reviewed, and running out of time – you probably will. Conversely, if you visualize the bar exam going well, having perfect recall of the law, and managing your time wisely – you have already put yourself at a huge advantage. In order to practice visualization, imagine the testing site in as much detail as possible. Imagine the test going well in as much detail as possible. Picture yourself having a clear head and perfect recall. And envision yourself not getting overwhelmed or anxious. For more visualization tips, see this post.

3. Get excited to take the bar exam.

This is not a tip you hear often, but it is one of our favorite last minute bar exam tips!! A lot of

people tell you to “relax.” But, relax? Who can relax? It is the huge test you’ve been dedicating every minute of your time to for months! Good luck trying to relax. That is like trying to slow down from 100 mph to 0! In other words, very against our nature.

So instead of trying to relax, instead “get excited” about the bar exam (and about the prospects of having it over!) We wrote a post on how to do this and how it can significantly improve our score on a test!

Some of our students find that this not only changes their attitude but they strongly feel as though it helps them get a passing score.

4. Make sure you are ready to go.

Do you have your earplugs? If you are staying in a hotel, did you get a late check-out from your hotel? Also, if you are staying at a hotel, did you call and ask for a microwave or fridge or whatever else you need? If not, call now – it is usually first-come, first-serve!

Did you run your exam software on your laptop to make sure it’s working? Don’t overlook anything! Here is a lovely bar exam day checklist, packing list, and to-do list! Go through it carefully and make sure you have everything you need!

5. Do you feel like you may not be ready? Good.

Do you feel a little unprepared? Do you feel like you could use another month to study (though you do not want another month to study)? Good.  That is a sign you have studied a lot.

People who are super-confident they will pass are the ones that usually fail. The people who have a healthy reverence for the test (and are a little nervous or very nervous about passing or not feeling like they are ready to take it) are the ones that take it seriously and usually pass.

You do not need to know everything to pass. Let’s say your jurisdiction requires a 270 (out of 400) to pass a UBE (or a 135 if you are in Michigan or a state that uses a 200-point scale). That is 67.5 percent. That is a D+! When has a D+ ever been what you aimed for? Also, this is a scaled D+! So you do not even need to get a 67.5% — you can actually get a much lower score and STILL pass. You could probably even get a “failing” grade and still pass the exam!

So if you don’t feel good going in and you don’t necessarily feel like you nailed it walking out of the exam, remember that is okay. In fact, that is normal! And in fact, it is a good sign! (See this blog post for why it is normal to not feel ready for the bar exam.)