Bar Exam Basics: The Week Before

Bar Exam Basics: The Week Before

The February Bar Exam The Week Before

Many law students and bar examinees wonder what to do the week before the bar exam. Do not try to review everything every day during this final week! Reviewing too many subjects will make you feel overwhelmed and not help with retention. Always keep the daily workload manageable. Also, do not try to save time by eliminating sleep, exercise, or a good diet. These things are more important than ever.

Here are some other useful tips for the week before.


Determine the likely primary subtopic areas that will be on the test and focus on them rather than focusing on those rarely on the exam.


Emphasize the mental component of the bar exam and use visualization to help you remain positive and confident when the day of the bar exam arrives.

Practice bar exam affirmations and develop the proper mindset. The right attitude can truly make a positive difference in passing or failing the bar exam

Respecting mental health is just as important as studying the substantive laws.


Review test and security procedures. Make sure you have a packing list. Confirm hotel reservations and method of transportation to and from the exam.


It’s not a bad idea to avoid other examinees around the bar exam. Talking about the test after taking a portion of it typically leads to nothing positive but nervousness and anxiety for whatever’s remaining.


When practicing essays, review all the answers from the practice questions. Spend 10-15 minutes spotting issues and outlining essays. There’s no need a week before the test to spend 30 minutes writing practice essays. If you’ve been writing and practicing timed essays, you will be accustomed to the timing and ready on exam day.


On the day before the exam, many students take the day off, which is not altogether an unproductive act. Study “passively” rather than “actively.” Page through your outlines, flashcards, and any other study materials. Now is not the time to write full essays or take extremely long MBE practice exams.

Keep your brain active all day and into the next.


During the essay portion of the exam, if you don’t know it, make it up. You won’t lose points for making an argument, and one of two things may happen. Either thinking and writing about it will help you remember the correct answer, or some or all of what you wrote will, in fact, be correct.


As far as forgetting an element of a certain cause of action in the third essay question, as well as making other mistakes, it happens. The bar exam does not require perfection to pass. No examinee is ever perfect on this exam. At some point after the exam, you may realize or remember an error. There’s nothing you can do about it, so forget it and hope for the best.

The California Desert Trial Academy helps students prepare for the bar exam. We look at the bar exam as a challenge rather than an obstacle. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more about the unique law school experience that we offer here.

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