Law Students

Tips for Taking the Bar Exam During the COVID-19 Pandemic
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The COVID-19 pandemic has completely shaken the legal profession, and many states are still struggling to make the right decision in terms of time and place for administering the bar exam. 

Some states are postponing the exam to September. Other states have announced the bar will be administered online. A few states have greenlit diploma privileges, while some are administering the bar in July as if nothing happened.

This is definitely a challenging time to be finishing law school, and the current uncertainties likely add to your anxiety, which was already going through the roof.

  
What
Where


We have listed special considerations for students taking an online bar exam and students taking an in-person bar exam. 

Tips for Taking an Online Bar Exam

Set up everything ahead of time

Double-check your wi-fi connection and make sure your connection isn’t finicky. States offering an online bar exam require a video recording to prevent cheating and to monitor any irregularities so check if your video camera works properly. Some states like Indiana require an external webcam with a desktop stand. So make sure you have all the needed information about your state’s requirements. Figure what laptop or desktop you are going to use. If your laptop tends to freeze regularly, or you have keys that always stick, you might consider borrowing or even buying a new laptop. Some states are also allowing exam takers to use “loaner” laptops if the student does not have their own functional laptop. So you can check with your state board if this is the case!

Try to get this all set up early, so that you can anticipate if there’s going to be any problems during the exam. It’s better to know now than a day before the exam. You don’t want any unpredicted connection breaks or tech issues that will undoubtedly add to your stress.

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Mimic the exam! 

Most states offering online bar exams prohibit scratch paper and instead provide a digital option — so try to practice in this manner. Review and mimic test conditions ahead of time.

Set up your room ahead of time.

Some states are very strict with their requirements of what is—and is not—allowed in the room. For example, California does not allow any items in the testing room, including but not limited to clocks, digital timers, watches, scratch paper, books of any kind, food, beverages, stereos, radios, etc. Also, no other than you are allowed in the testing room, including animals. Examinees are prohibited from having any study materials, notes, outlines, or cell phones in the room.



See if you can set up your room that follows the requirements ahead of time. The last thing you want is to be disqualified from the exam because a prohibited item was inadvertently left in the room!

Tips for Taking an In-Person Bar Exam

Review the rules ahead of time.

Make sure to familiarize yourself with the rules ahead of time and try to stay informed about your state’s executive orders.

For instance, if you are traveling to a state in preparation for the bar exam, the state may require you to quarantine for two weeks or a specific period of time. This would require an extended visit to the state. Therefore, it is much better to be prepared for this ahead of time! 

Keep up with the bar examiners’ orders and announcements.

Make sure you have the appropriate materials.

You will be required to wear a mask. So when you study for the bar exam, wear a mask and see how it goes. If you don’t feel comfortable, try out different masks to see what works the best for you. You don’t want one that is too loose or too tight or one that makes it too difficult to breathe. If your state requires you to wear gloves, try different pairs also. 

Keep in mind that if you need to wear glasses while taking the exam, a mask will likely cause them to fog up. Take a practice test while wearing your glasses and a mask to see if there are any problems. If so, consider buying a mask with air vents or wearing contact lenses during the exam.

Stay safe!

This is too obvious to say, even if you are not prepping for the bar exam, but here it goes your wellbeing is paramount. You don’t want to get the coronavirus or any kind of virus, for that matter. Make sure you follow your state’s social distancing rules and stay at home as much as possible just to be sure you won’t get the virus. Some states like Florida will be performing temperature checks and rejecting students with fevers to take the exam. Therefore, make sure you stay safe.



 

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