Keeping Your Sanity and Strength In July: Mentally Preparing For The Bar Exam

Bar exam study is stressful, but when you enter bar exam month, the stress level definitely increases. You may find your stress level beginning to rise as the days move on this month. Although it doesn’t seem like it, there is good news in this: stress is something you can control. Not only is it something that you can control, but it’s something you need to control to be the best possible version of yourself come exam day. This blog post discusses some ways you can keep your sanity and your strength during bar exam period.

  1. Eat Well, Exercise and Sleep. I know I have said this before, but this is critical this month. It’s important to be healthy, both mentally and physically, when you take the bar exam. Eating well, exercising, and sleeping well will help you get there. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to eat healthy or exercise, and sometimes we cannot shut our minds off to fall asleep. Make the time – you need it. It’s okay to take breaks to take care of yourself – please remember that.
  2. Surround yourself with positive people. When you’re not studying, spend time with those who are positive and supportive. Do not surround yourself with those who are also stressed and projecting their stress on to you. All of your emotional energy and attention needs to be on yourself right now.
  3. Focus on your tasks at hand in the moment. Even though we are in the month of the bar exam, it’s important to still be focused on our daily tasks instead of stressing ourselves out looking at all we have to accomplish this month. Take it day by day, and do not overwhelm yourself by looking ahead constantly.
  4. Believe in yourself. Picture what it looks like when you receive the news of passing the bar exam. Where are you? What does it feel like? Let these visions and feelings guide you towards a path of success. This will motivate you, rather than crush you.
  5. Come up with a plan to calm down. This is extremely important, both when you’re studying this month and for the days of the bar exam. When you’re feeling high anxiety or panic, come up with a plan of attack. This may include a breathing exercise (breathe in and hold for 4 seconds, release for 4 seconds, and repeat), taking a walk, or telling yourself a positive mantra with your eyes closed while you breathe. Practice your coping mechanism while you’re studying for the bar, so you can use it on exam day.

When you’re ever feeling lost, frustrated, or panicked, think about all of the work you’ve done to get to this point. The countless case book readings, the outlining, the cold call survivals, the final exams, the papers, the oral arguments, the competitions, and the like. Then think about all of the obstacles you’ve overcome in your life outside of the school setting. You’re stronger than you sometimes give yourself credit for. In a moment of weakness, remind yourself of this. Let it be a moment, but let it be one where you quickly realize you’re more than the bad moment you’re having, and that you’re capable of anything.

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