HEY YOU!! Yes, you!! YOU ARE LESS THAN A WEEK AWAY FROM TAKING THE TEXAS BAR EXAM!!!
I don’t say that to scare you… so please wait until your heart rate has slowed back down before you continue reading.
All good? Okay. Let’s go.
So you are less than a stinkin’ freakin’ week away from the biggest test of your career, thus far. I have spoken to so many of you over the last few days and I have gathered a general consensus of apprehension, anxiety, and fear.
But guess what? I am here to tell you that none of that is necessary!
Look. You’ve been studying for this TEST (yes, it’s only a test!) for nearly two months. You have spent the last three years of your life learning the materials you need. You can do this right now, just as you are, and you can SHINE.
My biggest fear going into the Bar Exam in February was the unknown: How would I perform? Would I be nervous that day? Would the person sitting next to me smell bad and make me want to throw up every day and then cause me to lose valuable time because I had to keep going to the bathroom for fresh air breaks????? (seriously, that was a BIG fear lol)
What I realized was none of that mattered. There is a bigger plan going on than just the here and now. I can’t pretend to know you and your beliefs, but no matter whether you are a Christian, Buddhist, Atheist, Agnostic, whatever, remember that this is just a test and you are better, bigger, and stronger than it. No matter how much you have studied or what crazy things life threw your way over the last few weeks, none of it matters.
You know how to be an attorney. You know how to argue. You know how to make your point. You know how to win. The more calm, cool, and collected you can stay over the next eight days, the better you will do. If you are reading this article, you care. You have put in the effort. You give a sh*t. Keep giving some of that and you’ll be golden.
The only way you will fail is if you didn’t do the work and we all know you have.
To (hopefully) help calm your fears, here are the three things I wish I had known going into the Bar Exam.
- There is assigned seating but if you are concerned about your seat mate (like me lol), the BLE is actually pretty accommodating. If you get sat somewhere that for real just doesn’t work for you, let someone know. That first day, go into the testing room a few minutes early (but not too early – no reason to get prematurely worked up!!) and scope things out. Find the bathroom. Spot your proctor. Get your seat into that perfect position. Taking care of these little things can help with the ONLY THING THAT MATTERS AT THIS POINT – staying calm.
- It’s no big deal to eat by yourself. The first day you don’t have to worry about lunch, but on Wednesday and Thursday you have a break before wrapping up the day. Our guest blogger, Job, mentioned this a few days ago, but it’s actually pretty normal to just sit in your car and chill the heck out in between sessions. My Bar Exam took place at the GRB in Downtown Houston, so I spent my breaks sitting outside Discovery Green on FaceTime with my boyfriend and my best friend, depending on the day. Spending those few precious minutes talking to people who knew nothing about the test and who wanted nothing but my success were CRUCIAL to my sanity both days. Some people chose to sit together and unwind, that’s cool too. Whatever feels comfortable for you, do that. I promise, no one is judging you at that point. Take whatever time to collect yourself and get ready to crush that afternoon session, just like you did in the morning.
- You don’t need to study at night. No really. I am not kidding. I took all of these study materials Downtown, POSITIVE I would at least look over my outlines or do some practice questions at the end of the day. But honestly, by the time the Exam was over all I wanted to do was eat some crappy food and chill out. At most, I would use my Study Guides to review for about 20 minutes the morning of, before walking into the Exam room. Other than that, nada. After all three days, I surrounded myself with that same support group I keep talking about (shoutout to Brittany, Lara, Andres, Job, Cameron and Linny!!) and just let myself relax. Was it easy? Hell no. Was it the only thing that helped me pass? Probably not. Was it exactly what my overworked brain needed? HELL YES. Do what feels right for you but do not feel the need to push more into your head.
In closing, you have probably heard over the last few days/weeks of people studying for this insane amount of hours each day and getting astronomical scores on various tests. Take it from me, they are either lying or freaking Einstein-level geniuses. Either way, you aren’t trying to be OR beat them.
YOU are the only person you need to worry about. YOU can do this. YOU WILL do this.
Stay calm. Stay confident. You know this stuff. It’s law. Seriously, that’s it. It’s some rules you have been learning for years. It’s some stupid questions using the same cheesy “P” and “D” names you’ve seen a hundred times. It’s some random fact patterns with much more simplified answers available, if only the people weren’t so dang idiotic.
BREATHE. You’ve got this. YOU ARE GOING TO DO AMAZINGLY.