It’s bar exam time – let’s do this

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GUEST BLOG by Sara Valentine, Graduate of Capital University Law School

Bar Exam is Next Week…

This post is all about your ability to crush the bar exam. Regardless of whether you haven’t been doing your best leading up to this point, you’ve been learning and putting in the time. You know that you have this and you’re going to do it.

Be Confident!

Obviously putting in the work is a large part of passing the bar exam, but it’s also a mental game. You have to be confident walking into the bar exam. If you engage in negative self-talk, now is the time to stop. Telling yourself that you’re going to fail or that you don’t know enough only causes you to have more anxiety going into the room. You have to be confident that you’re going to pass this thing. You’ve put in the work. You’ve sacrificed your summer to be an attorney. You’re going to do this. You’re going to pass.

Stay Calm

We’ve all heard the stories of a bar examinee freaking out and not being able to write something coherent on their essays. Odds are that if you don’t know what the essay is asking about, a lot of other examinees don’t know what it’s asking about either. If this happens, take a second to regroup. Think about the policy behind the law and come up with your best answer. Remember: your goal isn’t to ace this test! Your goal is to pass. You’ve put in the time. You’ve put in the effort. You can do this!

You Don’t Have to Get a 7 on Every Essay. You Don’t Have to Get 200 Points on the MBE.

Okay, so what if you’ve been reviewing essays and missing things that you know, but you missed for other reasons? What if you haven’t been scoring your greatest on the MBE? It is okay. Again, your goal is not to be perfect! I know that the goal in law school was to be as prepared as you could be; you needed to study all of your lecture notes, your outlines, your textbooks, and your hornbooks. The bar exam is not a law school exam.

It is impossible to know everything. There are going to be some subjects that you know inside and out, and there are some that you’re just familiar with. That’s okay. You cannot know everything walking into the bar exam. What you can do is continue to put in the work and review. Have a good understanding of the topics that you need to know and stay confident.

Make Sure That You Take a Break on Monday.

Yes, the day before the bar exam begins is going to be incredibly stressful. You’re going to be tempted to spend the day attempting to review everything that you can. You’re going to want to put in a full day of studying so that you can walk into the exam with as much information as you can handle. It’s important to review before Monday, but it is just as important to take a break. The bar exam is intense. It’s going to be stressful. You’re going to be tired. The last thing that you want to do before heading into the bar exam is to be suffering from burnout. You’re going to need to give yourself a break so that you have enough stamina to last you through the bar exam. Wearing yourself out before the exam is probably one of the worst things that you can do.

If You Have a Bad Day…

The bar exam lasts more than one day for a reason. Regardless of which state you’re taking the bar exam in, you can have a bad day and still pass. First, you don’t know what your score is when you walk out of the room. You could have done better than you suspected that you did. Second, you have another day (or more than one day) left to recover. The bar exam doesn’t come down to how you did on one day and on one performance. You have multiple days and multiple chances to do well. If you think that you did poorly, do not give up. Do not engage in negative self-talk. Stay positive! You didn’t fail the exam after one day. You can do better the next day and you could have done better than you thought.


Stay positive, stay calm, and walk in the bar exam with confidence. If you do, you’re going to #OwnTheBar.

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