calmIf you are taking the bar exam next week, you are probably already getting advice from friends, family, high school buddies on Facebook, and any other random people you run into when you are not curled up beneath your BarBri study aids.

I have also been getting advice from lawyers I communicate with on Twitter, and since it has been so helpful to me, I thought I would share the love. I sent out this tweet yesterday:

“Please send me your bar exam advice (in 140 char.) for a @lawyerist post this week. Thanks!”

I got responses from lawyers from Minnesota, Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado, Utah, Texas, Maryland, Washington, New Jersey, and California. Here are my top ten:

Alexis Martin Neely (@AlexisNeely): be rested, relaxed & calm. The test is as much of a test of ur ability to not freak out as anything else.

Shirley Huang (@ShirleyHuangESQ): Get lots of rest on nights before exam days. Don’t spend too much time on one MC q. When in doubt, pick C. BREATHE!

Jennifer Frantz (@jenniferfrantz): Book a hotel room near the exam to eliminate the stress of traffic and getting to the exam on time – also allows for extra time to sleep.

Porter Heath Morgan (@trialslawschool): Scan twitter #barexam, understand everyone is in the same boat as you & then unplug (atleast next week). Practice Questions: write out complete answers, which should be more than 140 characters, unfortunately.

John Jacobson (@jjhelp): Know your rule statements cold. During the exam is not the time to craft them.

Shaun Jamison (@shaunjamison): stay on time! Be like a shark, always moving forward. Follow bar prep advice, that’s what you paid them for.

Michael P. Maslanka (@worklawyer): You only need to get a C.

Karen Brady (@karenbradylaw): On the bar exam, time your self to hit all your major points, then go back to discuss subpoints. Forget everything you learned in College English.  It’s not about style but about blunt content.

Michael Reitz (@mike_reitz): Leave it all in the exam room. Ignore the other test takers. Hydrate. Do something fun each night.

Eric Cooperstein (@Ethics_Maven): Don’t stay up too late using Twitter.

Good luck next week! See you on the other side!

(Photo: Pete Reed)


  1. Will Geer says:

    “You only need a C.” I like this.

  2. Aaron Street says:

    In Minnesota, you only need 60%, which is really more like a D-. More than that, since the bar exam is pass/fail, a D- counts the same as an A+.

    My advice, follow the 80/20 rule: ~80% of the bar exam are bread-and-butter main-issue questions, while ~20% are really-difficult side-issue questions. If you focus on knowing the basic 80%, you then don’t need to stress yourself out trying to memorize the far more difficult final 20%.

  3. Tonya Coles says:

    My tips: don’t study the day before the exam and stay away from people who want to discuss answers during exam breaks.

  4. I agree with Tonya and I also agree with the sentiments that all you need to do is pass. I still don’t know what I did other than pass and that’s all that matters.

  5. It’s true that one only need reach a particular score on the bar exam to pass (whatever that total number is – it’s not in the bar exam rules) and that getting a higher score than the passing number doesn’t get you anything (as if you’d ever find that out – you can only find out your total score if you fail, except maybe as described below), but there is a score. More importantly, some jurisdictions will let you use a multi-state bar exam score from another jurisdiction to get in, if the exam was taken relatively recently (for MN, it’s two years). Each state sets it’s own passing score. So, if you’re looking to become admitted in more than one state, it may be important to do better than just pass in MN. It’s a pass/fail test with caveats.

  6. It’s important to remember where you can make up points and where you can’t. With the Multistate, you HAVE to get the correct answer or your out of luck. With the essay section, reviewers have a bit more room for interpretation. So, remember that the multi is a test about how you answer this quirky brand of test. But write like heck on the essays — somewhere in there, you can pick up points. Spot an issue, write about it. Remember also that it’s an endurance contest — don’t lose your focus after the first day.

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