The Day Of The Bar Exam

The morning of the bar exam can be an extremely stressful moment for a law school graduate. Most will awake in a hotel room, in a strange town, mentally exhausted from months of study, sleep deprived from stress, and with the knowledge that they will soon face the most difficult test of their lives. 

Althought this particular morning can be a little chaotic, it is necessary to remember that there is absolutely nothing you can do to increase your score. While this may sound like a pessimistic statement, it is quite the opposite. Once you realize that "what will be will be" you will be in a much better frame of mind to maximize your score on the exam; stress is the worst enemy of examinees.

What you need on the day of the bar exam:

Admission Materials - Required and Prohibited

Whatever type of materials your state's bar examiners require, be sure that you have them together and securely stored for your commute to your exam loaction. Most states will require at least an admission ticket and form of ID; If possible, have duplicates secured in a separate place.

Also know what materials are prohibited from the exam rooms in your state. Typically, you will not be allowed to bring electronic devices or certain types of clothing such as hats, so be sure that you leave your personal items back at the hotel.

Examination Supplies

It is in your best interest to bring in the maximum number of supplies that your state will allow. If your state allows four pencils, two pens, and a snack; then bring four pencils, two pens, and a snack. If having even one of these things prevents you from wasting time or being distracted (by sharpening your pencils or dealing with hunger pains), then it is was well worth it.

A Positive Mindset

The most important thing you can bring to the bar exam is a positive state of mind. Being stressed out during the exam definitley won't help, but will almost certainly hurt your scores. One way to help improve your attitude is to remember how good your chances are.

Most state bar exams have extremely high passage rates. sometimes up to 80% of examinees pass. Just by showing up and not being one of the famous "freak outs" that leaves the test early, you have excellent odds of passing.

Even in a state with low passage rates, you still have 50/50 odds. These passage/fail rates also include the examinees that are no-shows, that freak-out & leave, and those who don't return the next day for any number of reasons. That being said, if you are able to endure the exam until the end, your chances are still good because you are being graded against people who have no chance of passing.

Every examinee is in the same situation as yourself. They are just as stressed, exhausted, and scared as you are; you are on equal footing.


When it comes time to open your booklets and begin taking the exam, do exactly what you have done the last three years of law school; the same things which helped get you to this point. Ignore all of the distractions and focus solely on the questions presented to you. After reading the first question, simply outline it, note the potential issues, outline your answer, then deposit your answer on paper and move on to the next question. Easy stuff.




        There, that is it. As long as you have prepared as well as most of your classmates and refrain from freaking out (or at least walking out), you have an excellent chances of beating the Bar Exam and subsequently being sworn in as a lawyer. I will go ahead and say it prematurely. Congratulations!