Feeling nervous before you take the bar exam is completely normal. In fact, if you weren’t at least a little anxious, that would be cause for concern. We all have anxiety when it comes to anything that takes us out of our comfort zone and requires us to be on our “A” game. Just think about other times when you had to take an exam, go on a job interview, or make a presentation. But the bar exam takes your nervousness to a whole new level.
The key is to deal with your anxiety instead of letting it consume you. This way, you can harness that extra energy and use it to concentrate on passing the bar exam.
Here are five of the best ways to overcome your pre-exam jitters:
1. Determine Why You’re Feeling Anxious
Stay with us here. We know that you’re feeling stressed out because of the bar exam. Point taken. But, if possible, try to pinpoint exactly what is causing your anxiety. Are you uneasy about the writing portion of the exam? Are you worrying about trick multiple-choice questions? Is finishing on-time a major concern? Not only is this a way to make sense of your bar-exam distress, but it’s also a way to identify any areas of the exam that you should focus on the most or seek additional help from your bar-review instructors to address.
2. Work Out…Outside
Yes, you’re going to spend the majority of your day studying, but it’s still possible to set aside some time to exercise—whether you’re into biking or running, kick-boxing or dance. This is something you should be fitting into your schedule anyway to stay healthy, but especially during bar-exam prep, as it allows you to temporarily walk away from your review books, ideally somewhere outdoors, and get rid of any frustration you might be feeling.
Consider taking a walk in the park, because studies have shown that nature can help people relax. For example, a 2012 report by the New York Academy of Science indicates that there is a strong relationship between someone’s mental health and exposure to nature.
3. Talk About It
Another way to deal with bar-exam anxiety is to talk to your family and friends about it. You’ll be surprised at how much calmer you are after just a few minutes. Now, you don’t want to be complaining all the time, but once in a while, it’s okay to release any concerns you’ve been holding back.
4. Take a Breath
Spending upwards of ten hours studying is mentally draining. Sometimes all you need to do is close your eyes and let out a huge sigh in order to feel better. This is similar to working out because it lets you take a moment for yourself. You could even incorporate them and take a yoga class or meditate.
5. Don’t Lose Sight of the End Goal
While you may feel anxious due to the amount of work you have ahead of you, don't spend a lot of time dwelling on what’s on your to-do list. Remind yourself that you’re taking all the necessary steps to pass the bar exam, and after everything is said and done, you’ll finally be able to move forward with your career.