Thursday, September 23, 2010

My experience studying for the bar: the bar itself

The bar exam is a two-day test. The first day is about 8 hours of essay testing. The second day is multiple choice testing.

My bar exam is located in a hotel. Last year I called the hotel and made reservations so that I would be guaranteed a spot. Boy, am I glad that I did. This is one girl who did not need to be driving the day of the exam.

A few tips about the exam itself:
- If you have a hotel room at the testing site, bring your own lunch. I brought healthy but fun food (think carrots, apples, peanut butter, pita chips, etc.) so that I could scarf it down during my lunch break and relax.
- Do not study after the first day....or do not go crazy studying. A lot of people told me this piece of advice and I am glad they did. The urge will be to study all evening long after your first day, but do not feel obligated to do so. I went out with friends and had a glass of wine that evening.
- Bring ALL of your bar study materials for your own sanity. If you do not, you will have a question for yourself that is not in the book that you brought, and you will regret not bringing the book.
- If you do not want to talk about the exam, tell your friends! Mine were so understanding about my preference not to talk about the exam itself, which I really appreciated. Sure, I did some, but what we did talk about only made me feel much better.
- You will have a breakdown a few days before the bar exam. Mine occurred a week before, where I just started crying to David and said that there was no way I would pass, it was too much information to learn, and I would never memorize everything. He was really supportive and did a good job of not freaking out right along with me. He helped me put things into perspective: if I do not pass, I could just retake the exam in six months. I think that it is important to keep in mind that so many other life events--a marriage, a baby, or a divorce--are all way more important than not passing the bar.

Finally, this is unrelated to the bar exam itself, but be sure that your family knows how hard you will have to study. My family was so understanding and supportive about the fact that they barely spoke with me or saw me for two months. David was great about helping out around the house and indulging in my cravings for Chinese food. If you find your family guilt-tripping you into family events that you just do not have time to attend during the study months, have a sit-down conversation with them. Let them know that it is nothing personal about them, but you just need the two months for studying. Luckily most families understand.

No comments: