Name Your Fear and You Own It

by Dustin on

There is so much hype and anxiety surrounding the bar exam.  Have you ever wondered why?  After all, more people pass their first time than fail, even in California and New York.  If you take a good bar prep program such as Themis or Barbri, your chances of success are above 75%. 

Maybe it’s the same hype that is created during the first year of law school.  It’s the hype created by others, who say things to make the situation so big, you almost feel like you can’t handle it.

In truth, hundreds of thousands of people have passed the bar exam, even on their first try, significantly more than those who have failed.  Why would you think you’re any different? Are you less capable? Are you less disciplined?  Are you less intelligent (although I don’t think intelligence is as useful as discipline and preparation)?

Like any professional athlete or movie star, to do well, you need a good coach, unless you know enough about the exam to coach yourself.  There are excellent bar prep programs that will help you make it through the bar smooth and sound.

Still, all the ‘talk’ surrounding the bar will get anyone edgy, who doesn’t take a step back and keep it all in perspective.  In reality, it’s just an exam.  It will be longer and more involved than your other law school exams, so simply you will put more time and preparation into it.

The fears you have are really nothing more than thoughts that you have recycled in your mind most of your life and probably will continue to do, unless….. you stop that behavior by knowing what those fears and thoughts are.

Name your Fear and You Own It

If your fears are just thoughts running through your head, what would happen if you wrote them down?

Take a piece of paper out, and answer these questions:

                1) What am I most afraid about in taking the bar exam?

                2) What is the worst thing that can happen during my bar exam experience?

Here are some common answers:

– I’ll fail and feel like a failure

– I won’t be able to practice law

– I’ll have spent two months and $500

– I won’t get a job

Ok, so now you wrote down your fears, keep this paper present during your bar exam prep.  They are just thoughts, nothing more.  However, if you don’t stay present to what these thoughts are in your head, they can control you and create the outcome you most fear.

Instead, focus on these two things:

                1) Why do I want to pass the bar exam?

                2) What will I give during my bar exam prep and when I am an attorney?

Some common answers:

– I want to get a job

– I don’t want to take the bar exam again

– I will represent the best interests of my client and the legal system

Another good reason is the one on the bar card in California, which states:

“Preserve and improve our justice system in order to assure a free and just society under law.”

Keep this sheet handy also and whenever you feel one of your ‘fears’ coming in, take a look at your reasons under this sheet.  It will completely change your paradigm and drive you home to the finish line.

Best of luck in your bar exam prep.

“This name appears on the pass list.”

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 criminal lawyers wv October 4, 2011 at 8:36 pm

This may be this blog’s greatest post I have read


2 replica richard mille November 19, 2011 at 5:34 am

Terrific article!!


3 Elated November 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm

First time CA bar passer who discovered your site while studying. This was another of my favorite article of mine – the title was so empowering. Aside from the advice in the article, I took the advice to name my fear and own it to conquering the areas of law I was most afraid of seeing on the exam. I made up a fake bar exam of my six worst essay subjects, and over a period of a couple days drilled the law into my brain, wrote and corrected and rewrote detailed essay outlines, and ultimately felt like I named my fears and owned them to the point where I could confidently face them on the bar exam, even if they initially had not been easy to deal with. Thank you!


4 Dustin November 20, 2011 at 4:02 pm

That’s an excellent job! Great work in taking your fate into your own hands and improving where you were most vulnerable. Congratulations on passing!


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