What to Do After the Bar Exam to Live a Normal Life Again (21 Fun Ideas)

Weeks and months of insanity putting on life on hold to study for the bar exam.

The onslaught of psychologically tormenting questions.

It’s over.

The hard-fought battle has ended. The dust has settled. There’s nothing left. No rewards. Just palpable silence (filled only with “how do you think you did? oh wow”) and an empty space in your heart. What were you fighting for this whole time?

It’s hard to believe it’s over, isn’t it?

We get attached to the struggle.

Now yet another difficult part called “waiting” begins. It might be harder than the actual prep. After the shell shock that was the bar exam, what do you do?

mixed feelings after bar exam

What is “free time” again? Is it edible? Will life be the same?

Some people seem to be completely happy with this state of being, while others get post-bartum depression. Let’s recover from your mixed feelings and bring life back to normal.

Here are 21 ideas on what to do (and a few things NOT to do) to stay sane now that the bar exam is over (ideas that have nothing to do with studying for the exam “just in case”).

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Admire the Buttcrack (and 9 Other Last Minute Tips for the Bar Exam)

Ahh shit… You utter the first word of the day as a dying declaration.

Because it’s time. Is it really that real? Let’s do this!

Implementing, practicing, and doing. I hope, by doing those things consistently, you’ve made solid progress!

Maybe you don’t feel ready. The good news is that the more prepared you actually are, the less you feel prepared. The bad news is that the other way isn’t necessarily true.

Not all hope is lost, ye weary traveler. It’s time to put your training to the test.

For now, go in with a “might as well, even if I don’t feel ready” or a “you never know until you try” attitude.

You'll never know unless you try

You’ll be able to say, “I’m glad I tried.”

You’ve worked hard these past weeks and months. You’ve come all this way. Let’s finish it without any hiccups at the very end.

We don’t want a “failure of the last mile” to undo all we’ve done up until now.

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5 Reframes to Power Up Your Mind and Emotions for the Bar Exam Right Now

Preparing for the bar exam forces you to cycle through various emotions over weeks and months.

One moment calm, feeling like you’ve done all you could. Panic and anxiety the next moment. Frustration. Utter confusion. Overwhelm. Back to relief. Rinse and repeat.

Reality can betray the most reasonable of your expectations and daydreams at whim, coloring the past with regrets and the future with despair.

But it can also present us with gifts if you look carefully. Some days you have to look much harder than other days. 

If life only gives you lemons, you weren’t looking out for the oranges.

Here are five philosophies you can apply right now to mentally reframe how you feel about the bar exam:

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Tired of Bar Prep? Guarantee Motivation to Beat the Bar Exam with These 5 Reminders

I’m going to shift gears here. Your gears actually.

You might feel exhausted, plateaued, and generally not inspired to go at it even though the bar exam is looming on the horizon.

Whatever calmness you may have had before ago is now fair game for anxiety to go after.

It’s right before the finish line we lose steam, leading to a “failure of the last mile.”

I won’t let that happen.

Here are 5 reminders for you so that you don’t give up now. Here’s how you can shift into second gear. (Is that an accurate analogy? You get the point)

"your email this morning was EXACTLY what I needed. Teared up reading it. Thank you for your hard work and saying it like it is."
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What to Do in the Last Two Weeks of Bar Prep

You might be panicking or experiencing setbacks as you prepare for the bar exam. Whatever calmness you may have had 1-2 months ago is now fair game for anxiety to go after.

But the last two weeks are when things often click.

The final couple weeks are typically best spent consolidating your knowledge and intuition by using what you know — attempting to solve past exam questions and self-critiquing against model answers.

This impending pressure is an opportunity to do what you need to do: ditching the easy work of passively consuming, and doing the not-so-easy work of putting fingers to paper/screen, agonizing over identifying the issues, bearing the stress of grading your MBE question set, and enduring the embarrassment and promising to yourself not to make the same mistake again.

Keep pushing and you’ll break through that plateau.