It’s the bar exam. You might be calm, or you might be nervous. However, like athletes say about sporting games, the nerves typically tend to disappear when the game starts. The bar is the same. Once you start digging into your fact patterns and questions, the nervousness tends to dissipate. Even so, here are 10 ways to keep the nerves calm on bar exam day.
1) Close your eyes and take deep breaths
This is easy. Arrive early and situate your laptop and ID badge. With the leftover minutes, just sit back in your chair, relax, close your eyes, take a deep breath in while counting to five, and a deep breath out while counting to five. By slowing down your breath, you slow down your body, nerves, and bloodstream, which automatically calms you down and helps you focus. You can even do this in your car during lunch.
2) Affirm “I am calm and ready”
In a slow fashion, keep telling yourself, “I am calm and ready.” It will focus your thoughts on being calm and help you believe and know you are ready. At the very least it will take your thoughts off whatever nervousness there may be. You can state this affirmation, with your closed eyes and deep breathing exercise. After about five minutes, you should feel a nice change.
3) Go on a walk
When you get back from your lunch, instead of sitting in the exam room and absorbing the nervous energy of others, go on a short walk around the area. It will get your mind off the exam and walk of any wandering energy.
4) Drink tea
This is a natural calmer. I wouldn’t recommend you do this until you get home in the evening. You still want to stay sharp, ready, and focused when you’re at the exam location. However, drinking some tea the night before a bar exam day is a great relaxer!
5) Take a break from the essays
If you find yourself in the midst of the essays and for whatever reason you can’t focus or think, either stick with it until something opens up or just disconnect and head to the bathroom for a few minutes. A quick getaway can help you regain your head. When I have become nervous, every time I walked away from the situation and came back, my head and thinking were much clearer.
6) Do some push-ups or jumping jacks
If you’re feeling very antsy, do some push-ups or jumping jacks. Do them before you leave your house, in the parking lot next to your car, in the bathroom, or in the area outside the examination room. If you have to, even do them next to your desk, but please don’t do it during the exam. It will be very distracting to others, and you actually might get marked up the room monitor. Just let the nerves out, while respecting other people.
I’m not a smoker, but if you’ve been smoking to relax during bar prep, light one up on your breaks. This isn’t the time to quit.
8 ) Stretch
Do some stretching exercises. The calm and slow stretches will release tension, calm your body, and get the blood flowing.
Laughter is the best medicine, and the same holds true during the bar exam. In your car, or on the way to or from the test site, just start laughing your butt off. This is one of the best and quickest ways to release nervous energy. By laughing, you trick you body into thinking something is funny. Your body releases endorphins, making you feel happier, calmer, and more relaxed. If you’re having trouble kick starting a laughing session, just fake it til you make it.
Prayer can be a great way to calm yourself. Being nervous is just being filled with nervous energy. The body wants to channel that energy outward. By prayer, you can transform that nervous, built-up energy and channel it into the universe. Pray for the success and happiness of yourself and others. The more positive energy you to give to others, the more you’ll receive yourself.
Best of luck bar exam week!
“This name appears on the pass list”