Can you believe it? It’s only a little over a month until the July 2020 bar exam! Obviously, this year has been a little bit unconventional with COVID-19 throwing a wrench in the plans of bar examiners everywhere. I know some states have postponed bar exams, offered alternative exams at later date, or granted diploma privilege. Others are carrying on business as usual. Personally, I cannot imagine extending the bar prep period any longer than the end of July. I was SO ready to be done. For those of you taking the July exam, I’m sure you are feeling the same way.

     The good news is, your time studying is almost over forever! Yay! The bad news is that you have to take a gigantic test soon. Yikes! Overall, I’m sure you a feeling a mix of emotions right now. Luckily, you’ve got a month left to get everything in line to ensure your success on the exam. So, without further ado, here is a list of things you should be doing a month before the bar exam!

1. Confirm your travel plans (if applicable)

Do you have to travel to the exam? A lot of people do. The last thing you want to be doing is figuring out travel last minute! Confirm your hotel reservations, plane/bus/train tickets, make sure your car has gotten any required maintenance, etc. Figure out the answer to some questions like, “How am I getting from my hotel to the exam?” and “Is parking available at my test site?” Making sure you have all of this in line will give you peace of mind as you get closer to the test.

2. Read your test site rules/guidelines

I remember that my test site had a big, thick packet of rules we had to follow including what we could/could not bring into the test center, lunchtime rules, arrival times, etc. Take time now to read them through. It may seem early, but it will help to be familiar with the guidelines before test day. You also might discover there is something you need to buy/do before the test day. Do you need to buy a Ziploc bag for your belongings? Do you need a doctor’s note for medications? Regarding COVID-19, do you need a mask? These things are important to know in advance!

3. Do a practice test with test conditions.

Most bar prep courses incorporate a practice test, but try to emulate your test environment as best you can. Make your space quiet, eliminate distractions, only have permitted items near you, and even practice having whatever lunch break your test center will have. This will bring you comfort on test day knowing that in some way, you’ve done this before. Also, as a nice tip for 2020, if your jurisdiction requires masks – take your practice test with a mask on.

4.  Don’t be afraid to change up your study habits if things aren’t working!

With a month left before the exam, you’ve got plenty of time to absorb new material. By this point in the study process, I was starting to notice what study activities did and did not work for me. So I changed up my routine! I doubled down on what was working and eliminated what wasn’t. I attribute most of my exam success to doing this – I listened to my own instincts and learned in the way that was best for me.

5. Take some days off.

Yes, listen to me and do it. As the exam gets closer, you’re going to feel the pressure to not stop studying. That’s normal. I did the same thing. But you’ll get burned out. So make sure to take some time now to reset. Take a full weekend off and hang out with your family or friends. Do something fun. Watch a lot of TV and eat junk food. But don’t run yourself until you can’t take it anymore – that’s not good for your body or brain. So take some days off now and reset.

6. Keep your body healthy – eat well and exercise

If you feel your best, you will perform your best. Simple as that. Make sure you take care of your body in the weeks before the exam. I know it’s easier to just eat junk food and hide in your house all the time, but please don’t. Get outside and exercise, or take a break and go to the gym. You don’t have to eat salad for every meal, but please make sure you are getting vitamins and nutrients in your body during your meals. You want your body to be healthy during the exam, it’ll help you perform better.

7. Be confident!

I think a month before the exam is when I started to have my “I’m going to fail!” breakdowns. Spoiler alert: I didn’t fail. I wasted time doubting myself when I should’ve just been confident. You’ve been studying hard and preparing, doing what you need to do. You’re going to pass, you’re going to do fine. Just be confident.


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