Friday, July 27, 2007

Survival Guide

I promised a Guide to Surviving the Bar Exam once I had detoxed from all of it a bit, so here we go.

  1. Find a friend who has previously taken the bar. E-Mail them daily venting. People who have not been through this have no idea what it's like and while they really try and be supportive a lot of times they just have no clue and do not understand that "pep talks" are really not helpful.
  2. You will probably want to tell your mom to "f*ck-off" at least once. Mine happened when one week before exam I was mildly freaking out she told me I was just going to "buckle down" and "learn it" since I'd "always been able to before"...I didn't actually cuss at her, but I did goan in disgust and demand to talk to my dad who isn't the "pep-talk" type.
  3. Realize that your friends who are taking the bar might not be the best support system since either they will make you feel that you are not studying enough or they are neurotic freaks, or both.
  4. Stop talking to friends who are not supportive, like the ones who tell you that you're "moody" when they call you drunk at 1 a.m. in July. You can talk to them after this is all over if you choose. I have one friend that was such a jerk during all this I highly doubt I will talk to him ever again.
  5. Make your own plan. Stick to it. The BarBri study plan is insane and it's unlikely that you will be able to keep up with it and keep your sanity, particularly if you are doing PMBR problems.
  6. If you think you are not studying enough you probably are studying the right amount.
  7. If you know you are not studying enough you probably are not.
  8. The week before the exam start figuring out how long it takes your coffee or other morning caffeinated beverage to go through you.
  9. Make lists. What you're going to pack, what you're going to take into the exam, what you need to buy still. There is just so much going on in your brain that sitting down and taking 2 minutes saves you 20 in the store as you wander around thinking about what else you needed. The one day I forgot my list at the grocery store was a disaster.
  10. Study the subjects which are not often tested. Everyone knows the big areas (and I guarantee you do too), but when I got to the essay question on Partnerships and later to the one on Bailments was extremely happy I'd read back through my notes for those.
  11. Use your words. If people are pissing you off, tell them. If you do not want your family to tell you about deaths that occur one week before the exam, tell them.
  12. If you're fussy, and it's possible, go get your caffeinated beverage the day before since I really doubt you are going to want to run to Starbucks right after you get out of bed at 6 a.m.-I ran and picked up like Quad-Venti-Non-Fat-Iced-Latte the night before, but I asked the Barrista to hold the ice so I could take it back and put it in the fridge.
  13. Pack your Gallon Sized Plastic bag (if your state allows you to take things in) the day before the exam.
  14. Take basically everything they say you can into the exam. Even if you do not have a runny nose, take in tissues. You might want to throw them at the crazy girl crying across from you.
  15. Have a good breakfast the day of the exam. I had leftover pizza the first day. It was perfect, it soaked up the coffee, kinda stuck to me, and gave me carb energy. The second day I had Special K and I was starving around 10:30.
  16. If you're a smoker throw a pack with 1-2 cigarettes into your pocket with a lighter. Worst case you lose a couple smokes and a lighter-which in reality is a typical night at the bar. Best case, you are smoking on your way to the car to get your lunch while everyone else is wishing they were.
  17. Take an Aleve each morning before the exam. It won't make you drowsy and it'll help prevent headaches.
  18. There is no possible way to prepare for how much your hand is going to hurt during the essay day. You are aware that it hurts while it's going on, but then when you try to put your pencil down and your hand looks like some sort of weird deformed claw you have to force open it becomes clear just how badly it really hurts.
  19. Don't be the person who takes out their inhaler after reading the first question on the essay day.
  20. Scope out the bathroom scene in case you have to go. I didn't need to or have time during the essay day, but during the MBE during the morning I needed to and during the afternoon I just needed to get my head together. I was flustered since I hadn't paid attention or asked what the procedure was (which was admittedly easier than many states).
  21. Calm down during the exam. For all my freaking out beforehand I was remarkably calm during the exam. I knew I'd done everything I could and that knew this stuff.
  22. Pack your lunch. I've heard about schools offering lunches, I suppose that would be ok. My site opened the concession stand, but trust me there is nothing you are going to be able to eat there if you have a nervous stomach.
  23. Drink something caffeinated on the lunch break. If you're like me you'd been consuming about 9-12 shots of espresso per day leading up to the bar so just having one in the morning will probably cause a pretty bad afternoon crash.
  24. If you can, take in something like chocolate covered espresso beans. It's a good way to get a much needed energy boost in the afternoon of the MBE.
  25. Do not talk to many people during the break the day of the MBE. First off, not everyone has the same questions in the morning, so you might be giving away answers. Second, it will most likely freak you out.
In terms of surviving the whole process I would like to thank: my Parents, my Brother, my friends who had previously taken the bar, my Roommate, Caribou Coffee, Potbellies Sandwiches, and the Makers of: 5-Hour Energy Drink, Adderall, Aleve, Airborne Nighttime, and Marlboro Lights.

Now, if I only knew how to put this all out of my head until November 22nd (seriously that is when they told us they would be released) I would be all set. Until then I am going to read some non-law related materials for the first time in a really long time and work on adopting a dog.


angela said...

Congrats on making it through!

Irina said...

I don't know USA system of education, but what opportunities will you recieve after putting BarBri Exam?

Dizzy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.