GUEST BLOG by Shaun Sanders,
3L at Chapman University’s Dale E. Fowler School of Law
I recently registered for the bar and have learned a few things worth passing on to the next crop of 3L’s.
First, the bar assigns seats sequentially based on when you sign up. This means that if your goal is to sit by your friends during the test, you have to make sure that you sign up at the same time. Usually this isn’t a problem, or so I’ve heard — but this year, California had a bit of a hiccup with getting its page up at midnight, which left a lot of us waiting until the wee hours of the morning in hopes it may come online. In the end, registration ended up opening up at the start of the day, which left a lot of folks in my class scattered in their registration. It is unlikely that we will have too many friends near us — but, then again, maybe that’s a good thing.
Second, don’t get too obsessed with getting your nearest testing location. Chances are, you live further than a quick drive to your testing facility, which means you’re going to have to rent a hotel room near the testing facility. Once you consider that, then it opens you up to a lot more possibilities and even better testing facilities with better amenities and/or nearby hotels.
Third, when you do find a hotel room, make sure to get one with a fridge. Often overlooked, and when your hotel is swarmed with other test takers, its possible for them to run out of fridges for all requests. Then where are you going to put those toaster strudels, or PB&J?
Fourth, if you have ever been to a convention, you know how the “morning rush” is in tall buildings. The higher up you are, the more stops your elevator will need to make on its way down. Sure, maybe not a huge deal — but also not ideal in worst case scenarios. The closer you are to the check-in area, the more relaxed you can be when you start the morning.
Finally, the test date is no secret — so you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to get your reservations. My friend reserved her room in January for about $80 per night. In contrast, I reserved my room last week and paid about twice that. It feels a bit silly to pay so much when I could have easily done this much earlier and saved so much. For those of you not aware, you’re looking at 3 days worth of cost: the day before the bar, and then the first two days of testing (this lets you save some money by checking out the next morning before the test and stashing your stuff in your car… or you can just opt for another day).