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Tips for the February Bar Exam

Frustrated student with their head in their hands at a desk
By Laura Temme, Esq. | Last updated on

The February bar exam is just a few weeks away, and whether it's your first crack at the test or you're retaking it the process can certainly be daunting. For those of you staring down that final study push, here are a few tips:

If It's Your First Rodeo

The best piece of advice we can give first-time test takers is: Practice, practice, practice. The exam's essays, multiple-choice sections, and performance tests are likely different from what you encountered in law school. By practicing under similar conditions to those you'll encounter during the exam (timed, etc.) you stand a better chance of finishing each task in the time allotted.

For Those Testing a Second Time

If you haven't already, examine your score from the previous exam. If you were close to passing, you probably don't need to change a lot in terms of studying. Just take a closer look at the subjects where your scores were weakest. If you really missed the mark, think about what you struggled with on exam day. Run out of time on the essays? Make sure to write practice essays and time yourself. Second-guess yourself on the multiple-choice section? Spend some time working on strategies to narrow down your choices. One I found particularly helpful was this: If two answers are essentially saying the same thing, they're both wrong.

Most importantly, try not to psych yourself out. Failing the exam the first time around does not mean you can't pass it.

One Last Thing

Whether you're studying for your first bar exam or your fourth, remember to take some time for yourself. The study schedule is brutal, we know all too well. But do your best to carve out time for a healthy mind and body. Hit the gym, if that's your thing. Listen to music, see friends, do whatever you need to do to still feel human. The test won't be any easier if you're sleep-deprived and malnourished.

And remember: It's normal to be a little scared. The key to conquering the exam is using that fear to motivate yourself.

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