It’s important to make a plan for exam day. You want to know when you have to wake up, how you’re getting to the test site, what you can bring to the test site, what you’ll eat, and how you’ll get home. You also want a plan for what you’ll be doing during each portion of the exam.
Stop by the test site before exam day so you don’t have any anxiety about getting lost. Make sure you give yourself plenty of extra time to deal with every day issues such as traffic and transportation delays. Make a back up plan in case your first transportation plan doesn’t work.
Thoroughly review the security policy for your jurisdiction so you know what you are permitted to bring in to the test facility, and what you are not permitted to bring in.
Map out a plan for your day.
If you’re taking the UBE on the east coast, your schedule will look like this:
9:30-12:30: 2 MPTs
2:00-5:00: 6 essays
9:30-12:30: 100 MBEs
2:00-5:00: 100 MBEs
(On the west coast, your MPTs will be in the afternoon and your essays in the morning.)
It is your responsibility to keep track of your timing, so know what time you should be at each point. At 90 minutes, move on to the second MPT (that’s 11am). Spend no more than 30 minutes on each essay. For the MBEs, you’ve got 1 minute and 48 seconds per question. That’s roughly 17 questions per half hour, 25 questions per 45 minutes, or 33 questions per hour.
Make a schedule for yourself and look at it every day. Memorize it. Write it out on scrap paper next to you as soon as the exam begins so that you can stay on track.
It’s also recommended that you bring your own lunch. Many test sites will offer meal services. However, if you bring something you 1) won’t have to wait on line and 2) can make sure the food won’t upset your stomach or make you sleepy.
Wherever you are taking the bar exam, dress in layers. The room will either be too hot or too cold. You want to make sure you are comfortable and not distracted by your body temperature.
Also make a plan for what to do if you don’t know something, or what to do if you start to panic. It’s impossible to know everything. There will be a sub-question of an essay that you don’t know. Practice making up a rule. Plan for it.
Also make a plan for what to do if stress and anxiety fill your head and make it difficult to focus. Will you get up and walk to the bathroom? Will you write out a mantra on scrap paper? Will you close your eyes and take three deep breaths before reading the next sentence? Have a plan so that you can move through your anxiety, instead of letting it move you.