Free last minute advice/affirmation for the bar exam

It was 11 years ago, but I still remember it like it was yesterday, right down to some of the most idiotic and intentionally confusing fact patterns that could be imagined.

Of course, I’m talking about taking the bar exam. On Tuesday and Wednesday, this summer’s crop of up & comers and go-getters will converge on Lansing for the semi-annual rite of passage from apprentice to master, padawan to jedi, you get the picture.

But fret not, grasshoppers, as there’s one ultra important thing to keep in mind on the day before the test. Everyone has advised you to take today off. You’ll convince yourself at some point that you need to take one last look through everything. But resist that with every fiber of your being.


You’ve been studying law for three years. They forced you to take Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Property, Constitutional Law, Torts and Professional Responsibility whether you wanted to or not. There was a reason for it.

Then you voluntarily took things like Secured Transactions, Conflicts of Law, Michigan No-Fault, Family Law, Criminal Procedure and other subjects because you were interested in it, or it just fit a nice “no morning” schedule. (I’m not judging!)

You’ve most likely paid a ridiculous sum of money for BarBri or some other bar review program and have had all of these subjects reexplained to you in a three hour lectures. Or maybe you were learning it for the first time. Either way, these programs boil it down to give you enough to get through a 20 minute essay.

You’ve given half of a summer to studying this bar review program and taking practice exams.

After all of that, you’ve seen everything you need to see. So be confident. Don’t let doubt settle in. Even if you don’t have some parts down cold (“Property” can cover an awful lot), you do know enough to drag a few points out of it and you’ll make it up on the other essays that cover subjects you know a lot better. After all, it’s a pass/fail test. A C-minus means as much as an A.

So enjoy today. Go for a walk. Go to Lansing a day early, check into the hotel and enjoy the hot tub for a while. Try to relax. And most of all, just be confident and believe in yourself. For all that hard work is going to feel worth it when you get that letter in November telling you that you passed.


Had I thought of it earlier, I’d have handed down a couple pieces of advice. But here’s what’s still relevant:

1. If you are currently booked to stay at the hotel across the street, cancel and find a hotel a few miles away. Try in Holt or Okemos or something. There will be certain people who will try to drag you to a bar for some beers tonight or tomorrow. Or at least they’ll get in the way of that “relaxing” thing you should be doing. That might not be such a good idea.

2. Tonight and tomorrow aren’t good nights to try Indian food for the first time. Or the next time, for that matter.

3. Don’t – I repeat – DO NOT talk to anyone about parts of the test once they are over. Several of your cohorts will want to do this. They will be unsure of their answer and they want you to make them feel easier about it. Heck, you may want to do it and want someone to make you feel easier about your answer. But find your way out of such a conversation as soon as you can because nothing good can come of it. What will likely happen is you will still be unsure about it, or you’ll regret an answer that you can’t go back and change. What ever you wrote, it’s in the past. Leave it there. I’m sure it was good enough for a few points anyway.

4. Finally, you get a lunch both days, so don’t bring in food. When I took the exam, some guy across from me thought it would be best to open a two pound bag of Skittles right after the proctor began the test. Of course, it exploded all over the table. It was a huge mess. Unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from going three hours without food, wait until lunch.


Good luck.

1 thought on “Free last minute advice/affirmation for the bar exam

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s