The Bar Exam Sucks, But Your Life Doesn’t Have to When It’s Over

There is no denying it: the bar exam sucks. By the time this goes to press, in addition to having completed several months of rigorous study, February bar examinees, myself included, will have tackled one to three grueling days of the worst legal torture of our lives. As if that isn’t masochistic enough, we’re going to have to wait at least two months to receive the results. The bar exam is a cruel mistress, but we don’t have to let this soul-sucking test continue to control our lives after it’s said and done. The bar exam sucks, but your life doesn’t have to when it’s over.


We’ve previously written about how to de-stress after the bar and avoid the post-bar exam blues. While July bar examinees may take a vacation after the test, that option may not be feasible for February bar examinees, as many of us are employed and have to get back to work. Even if you have to return to work the week after the bar exam, you can still take a mini-vacation over the weekend. These are just a few things that you can do to relax.

Celebrate good times, come on!

You’ve been studying for months, and it is time to shut your brain off. With equitable servitudes and hearsay exceptions prancing around our heads, some bar examinees may have trouble finding the off switch.

What’s the easiest way to pull the switch? Many February examinees will be heading down to the local bar to celebrate being done. After all, that is a bar that everyone can get behind. They don’t call it a mind eraser for nothing. Just be sure to drink responsibly, because that’s what the reasonable person would do.

Reacquaint yourself with your television set

Next, try turning on your television. My DVR has been getting a major workout over the past few months, and it’s definitely time to catch up on all of the shows that I have missed. In the alternative, it’s fairly easy to find relatively entertaining television shows that will somehow numb your brain and make you feel smarter, all that the same time. My top picks for this category in the days following the bar exam include:

  • February 25, 2011: 1000 Ways to Die, 7pm EST – 11pm EST (Spike)
  • February 26, 2011: Hoarders, 7pm EST – 4am EST (A&E)

If you still can’t get enough of the law, even after suffering through a few days of bar exam hell, don’t miss USA’s Law and Order: SVU marathon on February 26, 2011, from 1pm EST to 1am EST.

Catch up on sleep

Last week, I had a nightmare that the girl sitting next to me during the MBE had had enough of the exam, and decided to stick her hand into a meat grinder. They didn’t give us any extra time. I was really mad, and really grossed out because there was blood on my Scantron sheet. Is that not the strangest bar exam nightmare ever?

If you’re experiencing nightmares about the exam, like me, try some aromatherapy. You’ll be surprised how well it works to reduce stress. If you’re interested in trying aromatherapy for stress relief, I’d recommend the vanilla verbena body mist from Bath & Body Works. Not only does it smell delicious, but it also actually works!

When the exam is over, try to get the best, most peaceful sleep that you can, and when you wake up, you’ll feel rested and hopefully free from the mental restraints of the bar exam. Try to catch up on all of the sleep that you’ve missed and you’ll be a happier, much less cranky person.

Indulge yourself at the spa

After being slumped over a desk for the past few months, your back probably hurts a lot. If you’re in a state where you have to handwrite the entire bar exam, your hand probably hurts a lot, too. Some law schools provide massages to their alumni during their exam lunch breaks, but not everyone is so lucky.

In addition to giving your brain a rest by catching up on sleep, it’s important to find a way to relax your body after such a stressful period of time. Why not treat yourself to a day at the spa as a reward for all of your hard work? Don’t worry about the price, either—Groupon is famous for offering affordable deals on massage packages.

A spa day is something that both men and women can, and should, enjoy, especially after the bar exam. Take some “me time” after the exam to indulge in some massage therapy. You owe it to yourself! My post-exam spa schedule includes a full body massage as well as a hand massage – yours should, too.

Cross your fingers, remain positive, and move on

While you’re waiting for the results of the bar exam to be released, there’s no use in making yourself crazy. The waiting period is stressful enough, and constantly thinking about whether or not you passed will only make the situation worse. You will be much less of a miserable person in the aftermath of the exam if you try to remain positive.

Cross your fingers, hope for the best, and move on with your life. This too shall pass, and so will you. I wish the best of luck to all of my fellow February bar examinees!

(Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sepblog/3941048713/)

  • http://www.netdocuments.com Danny Johnson

    That’s amazing! 3 in a week. If it was me, hoarders would be hours and hours of NBA TV. Especially after that crazy deadline.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/stacizaretsky/ Staci Zaretsky

      So last night I watched a few hours of Jersey Shore, had a few drinks, ate a metric ton of Chinese food (because I swore off all stomach-offensive food the week of the test), and then took a 6 hour “coma” (a long, long nap). Then I woke up and watched some of the trash that’s been waiting for me on my DVR — American Idol is great this year! I’m SO HAPPY that the bar exam is over!

  • Cooley Miami Lawyer

    Staci Zaretsky – you dumb F! Why dont you first pass the bar before you write about it. And trashing Cooley. Listen Idiot – last time I checked Western New England College Law or whatever you ended is even a bigger shit school. No wonder you are working for free!!

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      I bet you make your alma mater proud.