Next week is the February 2012 bar examination. That means some of our readers just finished slugging through the marathon preparation the bar exam requires. Now it all comes down to next week. But we still have a few final tips to help you get through the bar exam.

Get Organized

There is nothing worse than getting to the exam and realizing you forgot something. Whether it’s something small like an extra pencil, or something catastrophic like your laptop charger, it can easily be avoided. This weekend, create a checklist and put everything you will need for the test in a bag. Then print another copy of the checklist and check the bag again before the test. Some suggestions for your checklist:

  • Laptop
  • Laptop charger
  • Three pencils
  • Three pens
  • Hilighter
  • Photo ID
  • Admission ticket
  • Chewing gum
  • Mints
  • Snack
  • Water bottle

Know the Terrain

The beauty of living in the future is that we don’t have to go somewhere to see what the place looks like. This means that if you’re taking the bar exam in an unfamiliar city, you can check out the surroundings without leaving your chair. So fire up Google Maps’ street view and check out the test center. Use the route tools to actually drive along the route. You don’t need to memorize it, but even glancing at it once or twice can help you remember landmarks and keep you from getting lost on test day.

Gather Yourself

You’ve prepared well. You know the material. Take some time this weekend and Monday to just relax. No crazy partying of course. But maybe go for a relaxing walk or take in a movie. Try to have some time on your own or with friends and family where you aren’t thinking about the test. This will help you recharge your batteries to stay focused when it’s time for the exam.



  1. Ruth Carter says:

    Your bar exam let you bring so much more than the Arizona Bar proctors! We were only allowed our laptop, power cord, and a 1-gallon ziplock bag containing our car keys, wallet, and any pills we might need (outside the bottle).

    My advice to bar takers is to eat a filling breakfast (even if you’re not hungry) and dress in layers. It was freeeeeeeezing cold during my bar exam. I could not feel the tips of my fingers by the end of the day. I strongly suggest wearing lots of layers, including fingerless gloves.

    Here’s my blog post of all my bar exam tips based on my experience:

  2. Susan Gainen says:

    1. If you use the timing trick of setting your watch at 12, noting the “time’s up” time for each question based on minutes from 12, you will need a watch with hands. Beg, borrow, but do not steal one for the duration of the test.
    2. At least Illinois, and, perhaps other states, will kick you out of the exam site if your phone rings. Leave it home. No phone call is worth that risk.

  3. Jeff says:

    if you are taking the MPT (the “real world” essays with statutes and cases) scan over both of them instead of doing them in the order they give you and spending 90 minutes on each one. Last bar, one MPT had more cases, more statutes, more issues, and a longer fact patter than the other. Time management on the MPT is key. You would be able to spend the entire 3 hours on either essay. Spend more time on the essay with the most material.

    If you use mnemonic devices to remember things, jot them down and write what they stand for before diving into the Q’s.
    Use the earplugs they give you.
    Take headache medicine and LIPBALM
    Not only eat, eat protein-rich breakfast and lunch. IOW, eggs, meat. Do not eat sugary or starchy.
    Don’t OD on coffee, you will be jittery enough and you don’t want your bladder too active.
    Sleep as much as you can. Earplugs can help with that too.
    If you are doing commercial bar review, be certain to do some “officially released” Q’s. The commercial Q’s are good for learning, but the MBE Q’s are worded differently.
    Don’t vomit or panic if you can help it.
    Giving birth is WAY more stressful than the Bar exam (I’m a man, but I watched and it was totally stressful)
    The Bar exam proves nothing. Cram these next few days, take it, and get on with your life. If you fail, you take it again. There are worse things.
    You are still a lawyer, when you interview, tell them you are cautiously optimistic, and ask if they will fire you if you don’t pass.

    Trends: PR was all over the essays in the July ’11 bar. There has been no Civ Pro on the last 2. There have been Wills and Trusts on the last 2.
    I would not spend much time studying commercial paper, RAP, LP’s.
    GOOD LUCK!!!!

  4. Matt Racine says:

    Did you see my post about street view a few days ago? We’re obviously on the same wavelength.

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