Legal

Bar Exam Tips: Tackling the Final Week Before the Exam

Relaxed student learning about bar exam tips for the final week before the exam

Can you believe it? The bar exam is only one week away, which means you’re almost at the finish line! Although you probably are mentally and physically exhausted, it’s time to make the final push. Here are some things you should do in the last week of bar prep to increase your confidence, reduce your stress, and help you ace the bar exam. We hope you find these bar exam tips useful.

Stay Healthy

The bar exam requires a lot of mental, physical, and emotional energy. Depending on your jurisdiction, you are about to engage in a two- or three-day marathon. Now is the time to eat well and get regular sleep. These habits have been proven to boost cognitive performance in test-taking. Practice these healthy habits so that you are in peak condition on exam day. 

Remember Test-Taking Skills

You’ve learned several test-taking skills such as reading the call of the question first, answering each MBE® question in 1.8 minutes, etc. Reflect on these strategies, so they are fresh in your mind on exam day. 

Continue to Study—But Strategically

Prioritize your studies in the final stretch. Focus on heavily-tested areas of the law, and answer MBE, essay, and MPT questions. This focused studying will keep your test-taking skills sharp leading up to exam day. Also, reduce your study time during the two days before the exam. Marathoners stop running long distances shortly before race-day to conserve energy.

Similarly, conserve your energy so that you will perform at a peak level during the exam. Lastly, remember that no one can master all of the material on the bar exam, so don’t panic if you are still struggling with a few topics. Focus on the wealth of knowledge you have in all the other areas of law. 

Make or Review Your Travel Plans

If you plan to commute to the exam, practice a dry-run to the test center at the same time of day that you will leave for the test. This rehearsal will allow you to become familiar with the route and determine if you need to adjust your departure time or plan an alternate route for exam day. 

For those of you traveling a long distance to the test center, be sure to confirm your travel plans and hotel accommodations before you leave. You don’t want to be the person who discovers that the hotel lost your reservation the night before the exam (true story!). Avoid this stress by planning ahead.

Prepare Your Test Supplies

What to Take: 

Each jurisdiction provides information regarding the specific items examinees are allowed to bring with them to the test center. Some common things that you can (and should) bring along include your admission certificate, proper form(s) of identification, a laptop and power cord, an analog watch, pencils, pens, highlighters, and a clear water bottle. Put these items in a clear plastic bag (check your jurisdiction’s allowable size) ahead of time, so you have one less thing to worry about on exam day.

What Not to Take: 

The NCBE has published a list of items that are not permitted in the test room regardless of jurisdiction. You may access the complete list here. Most importantly, do NOT bring any electronic devices (e.g., a cell phone) into the test room as the presence of these devices can result in your dismissal. Other generally prohibited items include food, paper, and backpacks. 

Plan Your Lunch

Since you can’t take food into the exam room, make lunch plans. Check if lunch will be provided at the test center or look for restaurants nearby where you can quickly grab a bite to eat. Be sure to try out the restaurant beforehand—you don’t want to risk food poisoning or slow service on the day of the exam. If you’d rather bring your own lunch, make sure you have a well-insulated cooler to store your food safely. 

Most Importantly. . . Relax, Be Confident, Think Positive

It’s completely normal to be anxious the week before the bar exam. After all, the last three years in law school have been focused on this moment—passing the bar exam. While the stakes are high, don’t let negative thoughts overwhelm you in your sprint to the finish. You’ve just spent several weeks preparing for the bar exam. It’s time to take a deep breath and relax. You’re ready. We hope you’ve enjoyed these bar exam tips and are already feeling more relaxed, confident, and optimistic.


If you’re ready to up the ante on your MBE® prep, click here for our FREE trial. We’ll have you prepared to ace the MBE on exam day.

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