As I write this, thousands of aspiring attorneys are staring at the most important test of our careers. Failing the bar exam isn’t fatal, but nobody wants it to happen. You can retake it, but that delays your license, costs more money, requires more studying, and might even cost your job.
My exam (and other Virginia examinees) is less than four days away. So what should I be doing right now? What should you do? How are these final days best spent?
1. Review the big picture
Now is not the time to try to study tiny exceptions for every rule. If you don’t know it by now, it’s likely a write-off.
But you can try to get the big picture in your head. Review the broad strokes of each subject. Recall the primary rules that govern.
2. Study your best subject
You still have a little time for studying, but you have to be selective. You likely have a strong subject, where you usually do well. Study that.
You may think this is crazy, but you might improve performance in this area and pick up a few extra points. Your brain obviously retains a lot of it, so maybe you can remember a couple more exceptions or examples.
3. Focus on your worst subject
On the flip side, maybe you can spend a few minutes on the most treacherous subject. If several are equally difficult for you, pick one.
Don’t try to master the entire subject at this point. But try to retain some of the important points. Perhaps one subtopic is weak for you; study that. Again, you’re just trying to pick up a few extra points on the exam, not to master this material.
4. Make a packing list
If you’re traveling to take the exam, you’ll need to pack appropriately. Now is the time to reflect on your needs. Start making a list with all the essentials.
You’ll need clothes for the test – if you’re in Virginia, pick out your most comfortable suits. For you slackers elsewhere, dress comfortably, but in layers so you can adjust to the room’s temperature.
Don’t forget some items to help you be comfortable outside the test. Maybe even pack a swimming suit, so you can take a dip in the evening. Or bring your exercise clothes for a relaxing jog.
5. Confirm travel arrangements
If you have a hotel room or rental car booked, be sure it’s confirmed and ready for your arrival. The last thing you need is a travel screw-up before the big day. A simple phone call will help ease your arrival and check-in.
6. Have a fun weekend
Yes, you should study some this weekend. And you shouldn’t get drunk. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun.
I think my wife and I are going to see the new Harry Potter film (yeah, we’re dull). But it will be a temporary escape from the books. That’s what you need. Your brain needs some rest to perform well next week.
Any other ideas?
These are just my thoughts on our final days here. If I fail the bar, I’ll rename this post “what NOT to do.” Hopefully that won’t be necessary.
Do you have specific plans for the weekend? How are you going to spend these last few days? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
[tags]bar exam, study[/tags]
Get more legal tips