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Law School Applications

How to Stay Calm Before the Bar Exam

With the bar exam this week, you might feel nervous, anxious, worried, or any of another hundred emotions! In order to perform your best, you need to keep your head clear. Here are our tips on how to stay calm before the bar exam, both for the day before and the days of the exam!

How to Stay Calm Before the Bar Exam

The Day Before The Bar Exam

1. Find a method of stress release!

To stay calm before the bar exam, find a way to channel your nervous energy into something else. Many people find exercise a good outlet, but it can really be anything that helps you refocus your mind. Sudoku puzzles, knitting, cleaning,  walking, or pretty much any other activity can take your mind of the exam and help you calm down. Find something you like to do, and use it to get as much nervous energy out of your system as possible before exam day.

2. Visualize yourself doing well on the exam.

If you cannot stop thinking about the bar, you can control how you frame your thoughts. Visualization techniques are a great way to take negative thoughts and transform them into positive ones. You can control the way your mind frames your experiences, so try to channel positive thoughts and emotions before the bar exam. A mind that is not bogged down with negativity will perform much better than one that is!

3. Do a test run to your testing site.

Regardless of how close your exam site is, do a test run to see how long it takes you to get there. Develop a strategy in case you need to take an alternate route. This is also an activity that can calm some of your pre-exam nerves since it is one of the few things you can control on exam day.

The Morning Before The Bar Exam

1. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the testing site.

Do not make the morning of the bar exam more nerve-wracking than it needs to be. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to the exam site. It will be hard to stay calm during the bar exam if you have a last-minute dash to make it on time! Set several alarms so you do not sleep through your wake-up, and arrive early if possible.

2. Do not let doubt bog you down!

Believe it or not, it is completely normal to feel uncertain and unprepared for the bar exam! Remember, everyone feels this way! Don’t let your momentary doubt get you off on the wrong foot.

During The Bar Exam

1. Use a relaxation method.

If you find yourself panicking on the day of the bar exam, find a way to center yourself. Close your eyes and give yourself a pep talk. Take deep breaths to calm your heart rate. If you start to feel overwhelmed, stop, and count to ten before you start again. All of these techniques are good ways to work around nervousness while taking the bar exam.

2. Try not to think too far ahead…

Another way to stay calm during the bar exam is to compartmentalize it. Do not think too far ahead, and take each section as it comes. Try not to worry about the afternoon session of the MBE while you’re taking the morning session. Focus on the essay you are currently working on, and try not to worry about what might come up next. Remind yourself you can only control what is right in front of you this minute.

3. …Or Focus On Completed Questions

It is counterintuitive to agonize over questions you’ve already answered. If you think the morning session of your bar exam was rough, put it behind you. There’s nothing you can do about it now. Focus your mind instead on doing well on what is still in front of you, not over something that you no longer have any control over.

We wish you the best of luck on the bar exam!