Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Bar Exam -- It should be noted...that you'll [probably] be just fine!

...Or..."how I can make all of you feel better by sharing my Bar Exam experience."

As people gear up for the home stretch of this summer's Bar Exam season, take comfort in my slackerdom as I share some words of (maybe not so wise?) wisdom:

  1. Don't freak out.
    • No, really, with this one I'm serious. DON'T freak out.
  2. It's okay to go to the Argo Tea/Starbuck's/Insert-Indie-Coffee-House-Name-Here and use the wireless while you "study." Just don't spill tea/coffee/free-trade-coffee on the BarBri materials, okay?
    • The truth: Really, I spent my days after the BarBri course from around noon/1PM until 5PM or 6PM at the Argo Tea, sorta studying and um...sorta chatting online...
  3. It's also okay to skip a couple of the BarBri essays. Just make sure you do a couple on your own and do a couple that are graded -- just to light the fire under your butt!
    • The truth: Really, I think I only turned in two essays for grading -- the first one and the last one.
  4. While it's okay to cram a little the day before (no matter what they say at BarBri, you're gonna do what you're gonna do in the end), it's NOT a good idea to be awake (and definitely 100% NOT a good idea to be STUDYING) at 3AM the morning of the Bar Exam.
    • The truth: I spent the day before the Bar Exam cramming while sequestered in my hotel room, only leaving to acquire [and bring back to my room] sustenance. Around 3AM, I took an email break and went from the dining table to the desk. I checked my email. I got up and headed back to the dining table. And my laptop CAME WITH ME as my foot caught on the cord. Yes, my laptop, ON WHICH I WOULD BE TAKING THE EXAM IN A SHORT 6 HOURS, slid off the desk. As I watched my laptop come tumbling from the desk to the floor in slooooooow moooootion, it hit the carpet on one corner and then cartwheeled off another corner only to come full stop at my feet, lid shut. A thousand thoughts flew through my head as I watched The Fall in horror. Thoughts ranged from "Ohmigod, where can I buy a laptop at 3AM??" to "Will they let me download the software for the Bar Exam on a new, unregistered laptop...???" I gingerly picked up The Fallen. I placed it on the bed, kneeling before it in what I now realize is something of a prayer-like position. I closed my eyes. I took a deep breath. And I slowly lifted the lid. And...IT'S ALIIIIIIIIVE!!! My breath whooshed out of me as I took in the blessedly NORMAL-looking screen, and I typed a couple of nonsense words for good measure. Lesson: Sometimes you just get stupidly lucky, but it helps if you ARE NOT awake at 3AM the day of the Bar Exam.
  5. Finally, it's okay to think you failed. Seriously. Everyone feels dumb after the Bar Exam, and if you don't, then...let's just say the one person I know who said it was "easy" ended up um...not really on the "pass" list.
    • The truth: After two grueling days of spewing out and applying arcane law to situations that were 99% likely never to arise in my practicing career, I felt like I made up about half the stuff I said in the essays, and the other half I threw in within the context of one of those infamous BarBri-advised "It should be noted..." sentences. I felt pretty terrible and had a feeling um...February would NOT be out of the question. This feeling, it seems, is actually quite normal. In case you didn't know, I passed. And all went well. And, if you've been attending your classes and doing at least half of your homework, all will likely go well with you, too. BUT...even if it doesn't, allow me to reiterate point 1 above: DON'T FREAK OUT. It's not the end of the world. Because...if it were...then I'd guess at least half the lawyers out there -- including the former dean of Stanford Law School -- would not be lawyers.
That's all I got for now, y'all. Break a pencil!*

*But not a laptop! :)

1 comment:

ttorrence said...

Thanks for the advice. I'm still nervous, but thanks for the advice.