Coronavirus and Bar Exam Preparation (Do You Study Now or Later?)

You’re probably getting a headache from all the news about the novel coronavirus, the contradictory posts in your social feed, and companies you forgot existed emailing you random thoughts about COVID-19 (“we’re here for you”).

While I reserve the right as an introvert to smugly judge those who have cabin fever after ONE day of quarantine (what the hell’s wrong with you guys), I understand that this pandemic may be seriously impacting your livelihood—or even threatening your lives or those around you.

Bad news one minute, good news the next.

Despair and hope, rinse and repeat.

Look. Things have changed. Accept it.

We don’t have all the information. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We have to adapt to the new situation, but without panicking.

We’re all susceptible to panic. Panic causes regressive reasoning, which effectively turns us back into children. But we also have the ability to trigger a “circuit breaker” to go back to making rational and growth-oriented decisions.

Just like how we are “flattening the curve” of new infections through social distancing and lockdowns, we can “flatten the curve” of how we react to the situation.

Here are some “circuit breakers” to consider if you are preparing for the next bar exam (or just scared in general).

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Preparing for the 2020 Bar Exam: Learn from Their Biggest Mistakes

It’s that time again. Results for the 2019 July bar exam are in for every state.

You’ve endured the obligatory “aww… you got this” and “I’m sure you passed” comments for weeks and months.

Anxiety squirting into your heart every time you thought of the moment of truth. Heart ricocheting around your ribcage as you check for your name on the pass list. Waiting is the hardest part.

Well, the insanity of the wait is over. But it turns out your nightmare isn’t over…

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Why Are Pass Rates Lower in February? (Yours Doesn’t Have to Be)

Bar exam takers are some of the most anxious and superstitious people on the planet.

  • They spend more time agonizing over which subjects will be tested than prepare for each subject (and then get really mad when the subjects actually get leaked, like it did for California did in July)
  • They plug in numbers into score calculators to figure out how many correct MBE answers they could get away with… AFTER the bar (I’m also guilty of this)
  • They get worked up over the smallest indications of possibly passing the bar (“My account won’t let me sign up for the next bar exam! There’s some text that changed colors! My C&F status is different! Does this mean I passed the bar?!”)

It wouldn’t surprise me if someone used a ouija board to divine what a magic 8-ball would say about their bar results. (Spoiler: The answer is always “maybe” because there is no way to know beforehand.)

I’m only judging a little bit because it’s natural to get anxious over a high-stakes exam. But we sometimes focus on trivial minutiae as a proxy for the fundamental questions and answers.

One question that some repeaters (or first timers who don’t take it in July) have is whether they should take the bar in February or July. The lingering concern is whether the bar is harder in February than in July.

This is a valid question, but one that you ultimately need not worry about.

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