The Weekend before the Bar Exam: What to Do and What Not to Do
The weekend before the bar exam has different effects on different students. Some students freak out, answer hundreds of multiple-choice problems, and study as much as possible. Others have the attitude of “if I don’t know it now, it is too late anyway” and cannot motivate themselves to do very much. Or they feel as ready as they will ever be and spend the weekend wishing that the bar exam was over. Here is what we recommend you do the weekend before the bar exam:
1. Do your “final review.”
Go back through your outlines, attack outlines, one-sheets, or whatever you have flagged for yourself to review. Look at the material one more time. Actively review it so it is cemented in your brain. This can be a pretty quick review or it can take a while. It depends on what you have reviewed up until this point and your comfort level with the material.
2. If you must practice multiple-choice or essay questions, approach them in the following way.
If you have been practicing multiple-choice problems and answering essay or MPT questions all along, great. You can stop the weekend before the bar exam. (Or you can do a “light review” and go back to problems you have seen before to make sure you know how to approach them on bar exam day.)
If you have not been practicing questions, now is not the time to do a 200-question MBE exam. (You risk freaking yourself out right before the exam and you will not get nearly as much out of a practice exam at this point.)
Instead, take questions one-by-one and approach them methodically. Answer questions on a subject in conjunction with your review of that subject.
3. Don’t ignore the written portion of the exam.
In two days, you will not be able to increase your MBE score substantially. However, you have a much better chance of being able to increase the written portion of your score if you have not yet begun to tackle the written portion in a significant way.
For example, make sure to review the highly tested essay topics. And make sure you know how to organize your MPT if your state offers one. (Check out our post on MPT attack outlines here!)
Read our tips here on:
- how to study for the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) at the last minute
- how to study for the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) at the last minute
- how to study for the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) at the last minute
Note: If you have been studying all along — the MBE and the written portion — then there is no need to spend hours revisiting what you have already studied. This tip is geared toward those who have not yet started making significant progress toward the written portion of the exam!
4. Mentally prepare for the bar exam.
We have several tips on how to mentally prepare for the bar exam in this post. These include:
- practicing visualization
- avoiding negative people or people who may stress you out
- planning something fun to do post-bar exam.
We also recommend you check out this post on how you can overcome test anxiety by getting “excited” about the bar exam. This can be especially helpful if trying to “calm down” does not work for you!
If you are anxious because you do not feel ready for the bar exam, you are not alone. It is normal to not feel ready for the bar exam – and many students who do not feel ready still pass!
5. Physically prepare for the bar exam.
While it sounds obvious, make sure to do the following:
- Get enough sleep this weekend! Walking into several hours of testing feeling sleep deprived is not a good idea.
- Pack for the bar exam! Here is a lovely bar exam day checklist, packing list, and to-do list! Go through it carefully and make sure you have everything you need!
- If you can think of any extra amenities you may need — like a fan, a microwave, a coffee maker, or a late checkout — call your hotel (if you are staying at one) and ask for those amenities now. It is usually first-come, first-served, so you might as well call early rather than waiting until Monday!
Good luck to everyone taking the bar exam next week!
Ashley Heidemann is the owner and founder of JD Advising. Ms. Heidemann scored over a 180 on the Michigan Bar Exam in February of 2011 after graduating as the #1 student in her law school class of over 200 students in 2011. She, as well as a team of others, offer bar exam courses, seminars, and private tutoring for bar exam students nationwide. This includes services for the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) and Michigan bar exam. Please click here to contact her company, with any questions.