In the weeks before the bar exam, your study regime should be winding down in order to give your mind and body a rest. This is also the time to double check your travel plans and packing list for the trip to the exam location.
Thorough preparation during this time is essential because the days before the exam are guaranteed to be hectic, and preparation will ensure that nothing is forgotten and your time before the exam is less stressful.
The Weeks Before The Bar Exam
Find A Hotel
By now you should have received your information packets from the bar examiners containing your admission tickets and any necessary instructions, such as the address of your testing location. As soon as you know where your location will be, you should start looking for hotels in the vicinity of that room.
Aside from other examinees, you will be competing with other travelers for rooms, and you definitely don't want to be stuck a long distance from your test location in a strange town. Having a short commute will help you maximize sleep and will give you a little cushion in the morning, if you happen to be running late.
Make Travel Plans
Bar exams are typically held in the most populated cities of the state with multiple forms of transportation available. You will likely be able to choose between vehicles, flights, or trains for transportation; but each has it's own drawbacks.
You could drive or carpool to the exam location, but this form of transportation can make for a long day without much opportunity to relax. If you choose to fly, you will have time to relax, but will also have to deal with the hassles of security, potentially lost luggage, and delayed flights. If you choose a train, you are often looking at a long slow trip, but you will have the time to relax.
If possible, choose an early arrival date. Having a day to settle into your room and have your belongings organized, prior to the hectic morning of the exam, can do wonders for stress relief.
You should be using the last weeks before the bar exam to prepare for the trip and to rest your mind, but you shouldn't forego all studying. Set aside a couple hours each day to look over your attack outlines and do a few practice questions. Doing so will keep legal elements fresh in your mind, and will help keep you recall the thousands of facts you've memorized over the previous months.
The Days Before The Bar Exam
Gather The Essentials
Pay close attention to what the bar examiners will require from you. Do you need a government issued ID to get in? Then get a second one if your state allows you to, just in case. Do you have to bring an admission ticket? Make a copy, just in case. In fact, bring duplicates of everything so that you will not have to endure the nightmare of being in a strange town and trying to obtain a needed document in a rush.
Aside from these admission materials, don't forget to purchase and pack your favorite writing utensils, watch, snacks, clear bags, and anything else the bar examiners require or allow you to bring. Pack all of these necessities securely into one bag that is small enough to carry with you during your travels to the exam location
When traveling to the bar exam, there will be two separate packing lists that you need to pay attention to, your personal items and the items needed for the exam. You will want to pack comfortable clothes for the exam itself, and perhaps some nicer clothes for the celebration night after the exam. For the exam itself, you will need your admission tickets, writing utensils, your laptop (if using it), and anything else that the examiners require or allow.
It would be wise to pack lightly, though, especially if flying or taking a train. You will want to pack all of the essential items into one bag that is small enough to keep within arms reach at all times. If you were forced to check this important bag, or keep it in the luggage rack of a train or bus, there is a chance that it could get lost or stolen. This is not the day to let that happen.
Relax & Refresh
Upon arrival to your hotel room, do not spend all of your free time studying these last days before the test. If you insist on studying, limit that studying to skimming condensed outlines and be sure to include frequent breaks. You do not want to be mentally exhausted the day of the exam. Take the time to walk around the city, meet fellow examinees, and unwind.
The night before the exam, most examinees will get little to no sleep. This is another good reason to arrive to your hotel early. Becoming accustomed to your new room can really help one fall asleep. But, If you cannot sleep, so be it, you will be in the same position as many of your peers taking the exam. Don't be foolish and try to force sleep with medication though, as any side-effects of grogginess the next day could be detrimental to your test taking abilities.