Getting on track if your bar exam is in September

The fog is clearing up in bar world. We wanted certainty. We got it.

Some of the more populated states are postponing the exam to September 9–10 or September 30 – October 1. Others are staying put in July. You can check the status of each state here.

In an interesting move, California is moving the exam to September 9 and is administering the exam remotely. Oh you, always such a rascal.

In any case, it’s happening. Things are moving, and so must you.

As the dust continues to settle, what should you do to keep your mind focused on track?

I would say it’s business as usual, with a few caveats:

1. Find or make a designated place at home to study (and to take the test, for California or other states that will have adopted remote proctoring).

If quarantine has introduced new distractions (roommates, children, family members, etc.) then it’s important that you let them know that you need your safe haven. A quiet and private space to focus.

2. Watch for burnout. More time isn’t necessarily better.

This is now a marathon.

The longer you marinate your brain in the bar material, the more things may blur together and the more you may feel your progress plateau. Just be wary that you’re still in focus as you get closer to September. Keep studying, but also mix up your routine and have light days.

You can get started on crafting your own schedule. To avoid burnout, four months is probably as long as you want to go. To avoid burnout as a repeater, shoot for three months.

3. For those taking the California bar or other exams that may adopt remote testing, look out for how the remote testing will be done, and be ready to get anything you need in order.

For example, they may require a mirror behind you and a properly working webcam if you don’t have one. You may also want a larger desk or work space for studying and testing.

You may also consider taking the exam in a hotel room like you would have done normally, away from home. Just get used to the room ahead of time the day before, like you would have done normally.

This is an opportunity to create an environment that’s free of the usual distractions and discomforts of a test center.

Let’s continue to keep on eye on the situation and be open to change as things unfold.

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