Bar Exam Memories — and How to Celebrate Until Work Begins

Congratulations to all of the recent JDs finishing up their bar exam today! I thought I’d start an open thread for those of us past the experience to share our stressful memories, as well as to share the fonder memories of the celebrations and relaxations that followed. I’ll start.

I always like to look at this picture, taken of my then-dorm room wall a few weeks before the bar exam. (My DC lease ended in May, but my NYC lease didn’t start until September, so I opted to spend the summer in an NYU dorm.) Along with the few pieces of “artwork” I traveled with and a few pictures of family and friends, you can see that here I’ve also Scotch-taped to the wall all the important things: papers listing important criminal procedure facts, as well as the different levels of murder that one can be charged with under both New York and multi-state law. Or something — I don’t really remember any of it now.

The few memories I have of the exam itself are fairly intense ones. I took all my little Scotch-taped charts with me and hung them around my hotel room in Albany. I even taped them to the bathroom mirror so I could review them while brushing my teeth. Most of my memories are of the hotel room — this dank, horrible hotel room where I was surrounded by my crazy-person papers and the largest ants I had ever seen in my life.  I remember peering into the bathroom mirror (between the papers) and realizing, for the first time, that I could see several gray hairs sticking straight up out of my temple. I was 26. I remember coming back between day 1 and day 2 and trying to relax by renting the frothy teen comedy What a Girl Wants — and I remember hysterically sobbing at one plot point in the movie (a father/daughter disagreement? a misunderstanding? who knows) and knowing that my reaction to the movie was way, way out of proportion to the movie itself. (Honestly, the only thing that can compare to it is my memory of watching The Thornbirds, which is a miniseries made for sobbing anyway.) I remember sitting in a huge auditorium (a football stadium, maybe) and trying my best to remember every piece of information I’d poured into my head, and trying to work some BarBri-sanctioned advice  where they’d told us to guess (C) for every question we were unsure of and then come back to devote more time to the question if and when we could. I also remember booking it out of Albany for the train back to NYC. On the train I found myself surrounded by fellow Bar Survivors, and collectively we broke the rule that you never talk about the substance of a test after you take it.  It was strangely cathartic, like we couldn’t not talk about it. I remember buying a bag of popcorn for the trainride home for “lunch” — when I got to New York I joined some friends who were already celebrating with liquid libations at someone’s apartment, which stands out separately as one of the Most Drunk Nights, ever, in my life.

The next day, horribly hung over, I had about 24 hours to pack up everything and get out of NYU because the summer lease was ending, and also to pack for my bar trip — heading to London and Paris for two weeks to shop. As it turned out this was a fantastically horrible decision — not only was it blisteringly hot, but most of the good shops and restaurants were closed in Paris, it being August and all. It was my first time traveling alone, and I remember really, really enjoying the silence and the chance to empty my head. I remember that when the Blackout of 2003 happened, I was in a Paris hotel room watching the TV news, telling me that my brother in NYC (then in the midst of interview week for his law school), my mother in Cleveland, and my father — in Detroit on business — were all without power. Once I got back to America I spent a few weeks in Ohio with my parents, friends and family there, and then moved to NYC officially, where I had about 2 weeks to settle into my new apartment and catch up with NYC friends.

I remember the day the scores came out, also, huddling over my computer in the early morning hours and feeling vindication when I saw my name.  Take that, gray hairs, I said to myself.  That day at work, my fellow first years and I whispered our relief to one another until we ascertained that everyone had passed, and then the excited buzz grew to a more jovial mood.  That night, it was like our summer all over again — all 50 of us went out to celebrate together.

Readers with JDs, what was your bar exam experience like?  Where did you go on your bar trip?

Comments

  1. Both my fiance and I took the Washington State Bar last July (2.5 days of essays). And 9 days later we got married. (Yes, we realize how crazy that sounds). Retrospectively, it actually wasn’t too bad. We did a combined bar trip/honeymoon and spent 3 weeks in Greece. And we both passed.

  2. Virginian :

    My now-husband, then-fiance and I finished the bar a year ago today. His second state, my first and only–it would have to be a REAL good reason to move to convince me to take another bar! I remember we had checked out of the hotel in the morning so we started driving the 90 miles or so home right after the second day ended. I already can’t remember if I changed out of my suit after the exam, but I do remember there was terrible traffic getting out of Roanoke (yes, inconvenient locations is another quirk about the Virginia bar). As hard as we tried not to, we ended up discussing each essay question on the ride home.

    We had grand plans of going to dinner at our favorite restaurant and then out to a bar with friends to celebrate but I was barely functioning by the time we got home. I think I made it for one glass of wine and half my entree. Went home, passed out, and I think it was a good three days before I could carry on a normal conversation.

    We postponed a bar trip until post-clerkships but did get to go to an island for two days after our wedding three months after the bar exam. We both found out we passed in the airport on the way home–best wedding present we could have asked for! I agree with what Kat said recently, studying for and taking the bar exam was the hardest thing I’ve done. My husband often asks me, “Remember when you passed the bar?” just to see my relieved smile in reaction.

  3. just finished NY bar. MBE was hard. so many things barbri didn’t teach me.

    bleh.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Chin up, bummed. If Barbri didn’t teach it to you, chances are Barbri didn’t teach it to anyone else either. I’m not sure if the Honingsberg lecture is still around, but NOBODY! If you didn’t know it, nobody knew it, so it’s a wash for everyone :).

      • Honisberg! He was the “YOU CAN DO THIS!” and “Good idea?” guy, right? My friends and I still say that to each other. Loved him.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          YES! I still say “good idea???” in his tones probably once a week, four years post-bar. It’s a wonderful gut check device that gives words to that little voice in my head talking sense. Thank you Honisberg!

    • NC Bar Exam Taker :

      Don’t be discouraged. I have yet to hear from anyone who didn’t think the MBE this year was a killer. I thought there was quite a bit of information BarBri didn’t cover. (At least 20 questions I thought “must be those test questions they talk about!!”) But–you don’t have to know everything, and chances are, if EVERYONE we’re talking to thought they missed the boat, we’re all on the same page.

      As much as I want to sit here and worry, and trust me, I’m not confident at all in my results, we can’t do that for the next five weeks. So, I’ve vowed to assume the worst and hope for the best, not waste five weeks of worry, but not be totally caught off-guard if it’s bad news.

      • Also a Bar Taker :

        I feel the same way…I thought I would feel a huge relief after the exam was over, but I am convinced that I failed. I made a lot of mistakes on the essays (just plain getting the law wrong) and the MBE was pretty much a blur. I can’t seem to relax and feel happy at all. I think I might go shopping or have a spa day or something. Glad to know others are worrying as well (someone at my bar came out and high-fived his friend in front of everyone and yelled “Nailed it!”…nice.)

        • There’s a special place in hell for people like that.

          It’s called “the circle for second-time bar takers.”

        • You should absolutely have a spa day. At least a massage. You deserve it.

          And almost everyone is feeling the same way you are. I would bet a significant amount of money that the “Nailed It” guy failed. (He was trying to psych you guys out. And it seems to have worked.)

          Trust us. No one feels good about the MBE. Some of us freaked ourselves out so much in prep that a Seriously Hard Test became a Not As Horribly Bad As I Thought It Would Be test. But the MBE has easier years and harder years. Either way, everyone’s in it together, and it’s graded on a curve.

          • Anonymous :

            I feel the same way. My process for answering MBE questions was to circle every question I was not quite sure about in the hopes of coming back to that question later. Long story short, I was appalled at the number of questions I circled.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I feel exactly the same way about the MBE. I felt great after the essays, but not good at all after the MBE yesterday. Drat :(

    • Former IL Bar Studier :

      Agreed – MBE was ridiculously hard — and I thought it was way harder than even the all day practice test that Barbri told us would be full all the “harder questions we could possibly expect to see on the exam.” As I was running away from the testing site day 2 at lunch and at the end of the day (to avoid conversations about the questions on the exam), I heard lots of people talking about how hard they thought it was, so we’re definitely not alone. I think we have to just put it behind us and not think about it for a few months.

  4. Grace Wang :

    NY Bar takers are done!!!

  5. My husband and I met in law school and took the bar exam together. The first day of the bar was all essays, and we had a great dinner afterward and felt pretty good about the next day. The next day, however, was not so good. The MBE was brutal, and my husband says the only thing that saved his sanity was gleefully selecting an obviously-wrong sucker’s answer to one question, because it gave him a sense of control over the test. (Not a strategy I’d choose, but it demonstrates the importance of knowing yourself and tending to your needs during a test like this!) The next day (yes, this was a 3-day-long ordeal), there were more essays. By that point, it was becoming hard to tell what subjects the different questions were testing. After it was all over, we had fun comparing the laws we invented to answer questions we didn’t know anything about. Turns out, we’d even made up the same exceptions to our same made-up laws!

    The bar exam doesn’t just test your knowledge of the law ~ it tests your sanity, your relationships, your stamina, and lots of other things. The most stressful thing about waiting for the results was being as concerned about each other as we were for ourselves ~ it was stress x 2. We woke up early the day the results came out, and held our breath until we saw both of our names on the list. They were both there, and I have never been so relieved in my life.

    No real bar trip for us, although we did take a cross-country train trip to attend a friend’s wedding. Between going through the bar exam and spending 104 hours on a train together, it was a real summer of bonding.

  6. I was dreading reading this thread, because I didn’t want to relive the experience again. I agree with Kat and others – it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But this thread is great! I love everyone’s little stories.

    I took the Bar in Alaska, where we have around 60 candidates each summer (fewer in winter). The exam here is 2.5 days. The last day ends at noon.

    You have to send in a passport-sized picture when you apply for the Bar Exam, and since there’s so few people, when you show up at the Exam, the proctors call you by your first name. They have studied your pictures. It’s really unsettling.

    There are a few people that fail over and over, and everyone knows them, and seeing them at the exam actually made me feel better about myself, because they would put the curve in my favor.

    I was staying at a friend’s house, and she had installed bookshelves on the wall above her guest bed. About 3AM or so on the night between the first and second exam days, I woke up to an earthquake. I looked up at the hardback books on ledges above me, and thought, well, either I will die or I won’t. Luckily, it was just a small earthquake and didn’t cause any books to fall.

    Two law school classmates of mine were also taking the exam. One of them told me he smoked marijuana in the mornings, because, “They tell you to follow your normal routine.” He was the first to finish the exam on the third day. He did not pass.

    Another friend of mine was clerking in a small town in southeast Alaska. There were no other candidates in his town, so they let him sit in the judge’s chair, behind the bench, in the only courtroom, to write the exam. No proctor. Statute books all around him. He passed.

    My family had scheduled a family vacation to Europe. I had told them I couldn’t go until after the Bar, so I boarded a flight on Friday, and arrived in France on Saturday. While the rest of my family was flitting around Paris, taking pictures, going to museums, all I wanted to do was sit on the hotel balcony and stare out.

  7. I never went anywhere after the bar. It was not fun, but I needed to look for a job. It is now 10 years and I do have a job, so that is good news. But it was not to much fun at the time.

  8. The main thing I remember from taking the bar exam is that my mother insisted (insisted, insisted) that she accompany me to the exam. Strange, yes, but I was too stressed and exhausted to argue. We shared a hotel room and the night before the exam, she snored so loudly and woke me up so many times that I distinctly recall hurling a pillow at her face in the middle of the night while hysterically shrieking/crying “MOM I can’t sleep! SHUT UP!” But, I passed on the first try. And that’s all that matters.

    • My friend’s mom also insisted on accompanying her to the exam… did you take IL in 2006, perchance?

    • Former 3L :

      Oh my god. I just finished New York and my older brother is taking it as a second bar (it’s my first, though) and I drove him up and let him stay in my hotel room as a birthday present BUT HE SNORES. I slept for 45 minutes Monday night (before essays) and for 4 hours Tuesday night (before the MBE) EVEN WITH EARPLUGS. I AM THE TIREDEST PERSON.

  9. TiredBarTaker :

    I am reading these comments on my phone as I bus home from day 2 of the California Bar exam. I can’t wait to be done tomorrow, I hope I never have to do this again, and I’m very much looking forward to my post bar camping trip. I refuse to talk to my friends about the test so it’s reassuring to read all your experiences that had a happy ending.

  10. I took the Virginia bar three years ago – wearing a suit and sneakers. The only thing I really remember about the exam itself was that the proctors ordered the girl across from me to put her suit jacket back on because her camisole was too revealing.

    I stayed with my husband’s family in Roanoke, which was the best move I could make. It was so nice to get away from all of the other test takers, and have a home cooked meal.

    There was no post-bar celebration for me because I got married a mere 10 days later, and I had to finish planning my wedding. An Alaskan honeymoon replaced my bar trip! Although it seemed crazy at the time to study for the bar and plan a wedding at the same time, it worked out well in retrospect. Wedding planning helped distract me from freaking out about the bar too much, and vice versa. A little – I was still a basket case. I never want to do either again!

  11. Equity's Darling :

    CPLED anyone? It’s like 10 assignments over 6 or so months instead of the bar exam (for Western Canada)

    I start in 2 weeks. I hear it’s a huge pain in the tushie.

  12. sitting here reading these comments in my hotel room waiting to take the second half of the NJ bar, just did two days of the PA bar. i’m pretty sure i’m going to remember forever how i forgot to upload my essay answers the night of the exam and freaked out the morning after thinking they wouldn’t accept them (turns out i was fine and just uploaded them today). here’s hoping NJ turns out okay. it’s nice that we get to take the exam in atlantic city, pretty much everyone’s got a room booked for tomorrow night too so everyone can celebrate!

    as for a post-bar trip, i start work on monday so no trip for me. but i’m too broke to go anywhere anyway!

  13. I took the California bar two years ago… I studied through the barbri course – went to all of the classes – did a little studying every night with a good amount of socializing. Then about two weeks prior to the bar I buckled down.

    I didn’t stress. Stayed calm and focused. And found it to be surprisingly easy… even the MBE portion, which I finished close to an hour early.

    I passed. Maybe by a little, maybe by a lot. Who knows.

  14. Almost Done! :

    Last day of CA bar exam tomorrow. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your stories. Brightened my evening :D

  15. Like many other 2010 grads I couldn’t afford a big bar trip. However my college has a reunion weekend in Las Vegas every summer, and it just happened that last year it started the day after the bar. So I got home from the bar, went out to a big celebratory dinner with my now-fiance and then went to sleep, slept for about 12 hours and then got on a plane to Vegas! It was glorious. Although I didn’t get as much enjoyment out of Vegas as I probably otherwise would have – I was too beat from the bar for much late night partying.

  16. I met my now-husband on my post-bar trip! Yay, but, boo, because then I had to take the bar in his state, too. New York. UGH. After Day 2, he picked me up at the Javitz Center, took one look at me, and said, I am taking you to Otto Tootsie Ploughound (great shoe store on 5th Ave) and then bought me a fabulous pair of tweed D’Orsay pumps I still wear and call my Bar Shoes.

    I passed.

  17. AnonInfinity :

    I’m very late to the party, but yesterday was my last day of the bar exam, and I was on a media blackout all day. Only because we weren’t supposed to have phones in the testing center, and then I immediately went with friends across the street to a local bar and drank 3 beers before 6. Was home in bed by 9:30.

    I felt great after the essays and horrible after the multiple choice, so now I wait.

    Luckily, my husband has been working this whole time, so I do get to take a fabulous bar trip to Spain and Italy! Can’t wait!!!!

  18. wiser and happier :

    Hope this isn’t a downer for those of you who are celebrating today. After I took the bar (many years ago) my then-husband and I went away for a long weekend at Shenandoah National Park, a beautiful place. He proceeded to tell me that the night I spent in a hotel before the exam he had gone home with a women he just met, and told me about all of the women he had cheated with during our 8 1/2 year marriage, which I knew nothing about. (Silly me, I believed him when he had told me they were “just friends”.) He had been very supportive throughout law school, but this showed me how he really felt about his wife becoming a lawyer. Not long after this, he fell in love with his secretary and we separated. Shortly thereafter, I met and fell in love with another lawyer. We’ve been happy together for 30 years (and husband #1 died young of lung cancer, leaving a wife and 2 young children). I am not making this up!

    • Whoa! That’s terrible.

      But at least he waited until after the exam to tell you…

  19. somniculosa :

    Congrats to all those finishing the bar!

    I took a three-day bar exam four years ago, and I followed it up with a two-week Mediterranean cruise with my husband. Unfortunately, we flew out at 5 pm the last day of the bar, so I took off having not slept for the past two nights. And of course the seventh Harry Potter book came out right before the exam, so instead of sleeping on our way to Italy, I read the entire book before we touched down. So when we arrive in Venice, I’m on 50+ hours with no sleep, and we find out that my husband’s bag was lost and that he wouldn’t get it until the next day (the day we got on the ship). So we’re already upset when we get on the water bus, and we got off at the stop our travel agent recommended for our hotel. Well, it was the wrong stop, and we spent half an hour pulling our luggage around Venice (up and over all the many, many bridges) trying to figure out what we were supposed to do. Finally, when we found out where we should have gotten off and got back on the water bus, I couldn’t take it anymore and just started sobbing. It was a quiet breakdown, so I couldn’t ignore the poor people around me asking my husband if I was okay. . . . It was a horrible start to the best vacation I’ve ever had (once I got some sleep).

  20. Laura Wilson :

    Hi everyone. Just yesterday finished the Vermont bar exam. Even though I did everything I think one could possibly do to prepare, it was still a very hard test. I felt particularly shaken by the morning MBE. I don’t know how other people felt about it, but the questions seemed exceptionally difficult. I finished all questions, but with only a minute to spare, so no time to check answers. I came out at lunch feeling like I must have failed for sure. The PM session went a little better, it seemed, and I finished with 14 min to spare, and used the time to check some answers. But I can’t shake this awful feeling that I probably failed–on the other hand, I know that a lot of people, if not most, feel like they failed in the aftermath. At this point, I’m in despair that I have failed, but really, I have totally lost perspective on this. Have other people had this problem? LW

    • Laura,

      I absolutely agree that the morning MBE was a killer. I asked a friend of mine if he thought the morning session was difficult and he said no, so it makes me feel better that you thought it was hard! My brain is stuck on the ones I know I got wrong and it is making me crazy. I think it is almost impossible to look back at how you did and be objective!
      You are absolutely not alone in how you are feeling. I think the months waiting for the results will be harder than the months studying! (In Illinois, we won’t get ours until the first 2 weeks of October.)

      • Laura Wilson :

        A follow up: just found out Friday that I passed the Vermont bar exam. Wow! I have to admit I’m still looking at my pass letter a few times a day to make sure I read it correctly. I passed!

  21. I get a stomachache every year around the same time and always wonder why…then I remember. THE BAR EXAM! I’ve had various reminders throughout the years…like when I worked at a temp placement agency and we went to the Javits Center (which I still HATE driving by. HATE) to hand out No.2 pencils and candy (and business cards in case the exam takers needed work the next week) to those suffering. I wanted to hug everyone but not scare them.

    Now, as Chair of the Law Student Perspectives Committee at the City Bar I’m much more tuned into what law students and recent grads are doing all the time.

    I met my future husband in January of my 3rd year of law school and warned him, probably in April, that we’d be breaking-up for May-July. He laughed at me, but I was totally serious. I’m glad, in retrospect, that I had him around to talk to me about something else besides the exam. I only had dial-up service in my apartment at the time (2002) and that year the results were posted publicly online…for ALL to see. There was NO way I was leaving those results up to the chance-y-ness of dial-up. I still get the shakes even thinking of seeing the list and then having my service disappear! So, I took my then-boyfriend (the same guy I swore I’d break-up with) out to Kinko’s at midnight and wouldn’t let him look at the computer screen. I found my name and burst into tears. It was a MIRACLE! Even more so because I took NJ too and found out 2-3 weeks before the NY results that I had not passed NJ but I knew my MBE score. I was holding my breath and as “everyone” knew NO ONE fails NJ and passes NY so why didn’t I just call the tutor already. So there I am sobbing at Kinko’s on Court St and the boyfriend was too scared to ask what the results were…you know, just in case.

    I passed! Still one of the proudest moments of my life! Then I called all my friends. There are 6 of us girls (women/moms/lawyers) and we’re all still friends. That night we realized that 2 of the 6 close friends had not passed. We got emails from them basically saying that they didn’t have a contagious disease, they just hadn’t passed the Bar Exam. They are both two of the smartest women I know and passed the next Feb but I think I’ll always feel badly that they didn’t get to share the overwhelming joy, relief, satisfaction, elation, perfection, pride and insanity of finding out that night.

    Now I have the pleasure of working with law students all the time and being able to share my story (although in a generally less candid way) and those of my friends. Just knowing others have lived through it makes the experience more bearable.

    The day I took the NJ exam, AKA, the 3rd day of NY exam, I was randomly seated next to my BFF from college and law school in the hugest auditorium I’d ever seen. I realized, during lunch, that I hadn’t written anything about a 3-part test, and didn’t think there was an issue that required one. That might have been my 1st clue that I wouldn’t pass NJ.

    I still recommend law school to people who ask and have LOVED every (OK, almost every) second of my legal and alternative career since graduation. It’s OK that I don’t practice anymore…especially since I moved to NJ last year!

  22. I just took the bar in February in Chicago, this year. I handled it well while I was taking the test, but when it was over, I was sure I had failed – positive! It was so hard to log on to the website to read the letter – I was so scared! Then after I found out I had passed, I was sure that it was a mistake somehow – even though I was a good student and had studied hard. It was hard to take the test in February because I saw kids from my law school class who had not passed in July and were retaking it – that kind of freaked me out. It made the possibility of failure more real.

    For my test, the IL bar examiners tested Administrative law (by referring to the statute citation) in an essay question – and this was a subject that hadn’t been tested in many many years – so the bar prep course didn’t even have a lecture for it! This was one of the many things I worried about later!

    After the bar exam, my husband drove downtown to pick me up. I stayed in a hotel for the test – it was a nice hotel and I walked to the exam. I just wanted to go home! My middle son (I have 5 kids age 14 to 27) baked me a cake to celebrate that the exam was over. After reading these posts, I wish I could have told my parents – but they are no longer alive. It’s funny that although they’ve been gone for years, there are still times when I miss them so much.

  23. Bar trip? No, I was working full time at a law firm and had already taken precious time off to study. Couldn’t possibly have afforded it – had a family, too. Went to law school as a “grownup”. But no one I know took trips either, so I guess it’s a more recent thing in another universe. (I graduated in ’98).
    Best memories after the bar (and just knowing I’d failed)?…a call from a former secretary wishing me “congratulations, counselor” when I myself had no idea yet that I’d passed; walking into my boss’s office -he was on the phone- putting my hand over the receiver and saying – in tears – “I passed”; calling my father who’d helped me pay for law school to tell him the same; calling a lifelong dear friend who I knew had secretly believed (wished?) I’d never pass; going home and dancing by myself to Neil Diamond’s “Beautiful Noise” – blaring – most of the night (while avoiding the constantly ringing phone). Can’t recall if I had vino or not, but no booze necessary for the highest high I ever had other than childbirth. Truly priceless and unforgettable day – and end of a brutal never-to-be repeated experience. A bar trip could only have been a let down after that.

  24. I was taking the exam at Temple Law School in Philadelphia, had just moved to a town about 45 minutes away [my husband was working in NY and it put us near the Amtrak station for both of our commutes], and I’d been warned by one of my law school profs about the street and subway dangers of Philadelphia. I was terrified that my car would breakdown on the way to the exam and I would miss it. Decided to stay at a Center City hotel, but didn’t want to take public transportation; I didn’t know my way around either.

    My wonderful, super-supportive husband booked me into a really nice hotel, and hired a limo to take me to and from the exam location both days. I brought my electric tea kettle and all of my exam prep books and the study flip-cards I’d made, so I could continue making myself crazy in the coziness of my room.

    The first morning, my limo pulled up in front of Temple Law School, lots of people sitting on the broad steps leading up to the school. Limo driver jumps up, opens the door for me. I’m a fast test-taker, so I finished all of the morning and afternoon parts of the exam early and left the exam rooms. I was sure that observers thought I either didn’t know any answers, or that I had a sugar daddy who was pulling strings for me and I was just going through the motions. [I passed on my own, no strings, no sugar daddy].

    We went on our delayed honeymoon after the exam, we’d gotten married that April.

    I was a nervous wreck studying for the exam, taking it, and on the honeymoon. But everything worked out wonderfully, especially the marriage. Practicing law isn’t too bad, either.

  25. ug….I overslept the second day of my bar exam…just tired already…by skipping breakfast and toothbrushing, I made it to the exam locale on time, though not with any poise. I remember the experience as totally exhausting. No alcohol after and amusingly, police near the venue (a hotel conference center with a bar) were waiting for unsuspecting DUI exam takers. No trip….no money! …..though I did later take an exotic trip between a clerkship and a job. At the time, I thought if I failed and had to take the bar or bar review a second time, I would not be able to afford it. As a person who always liked school and standardized tests, I subsequently said that law school and the bar cured me of any desire for more education or test-taking.

  26. Anonymous :

    I hate the feeling of post traumatic test disorder. You know, when you wake up with a sudden intense dream of one part of the bar exam and how you think you answered it incorrectly. I have spoken to a few people suffering from the same plight. Truth be told, I probably do not accurately remember most of the exam now, but that does not stop my subconscious from running wild. At the end of the day, however, I think we need to put things in perspective. Our plight does not come anywhere close to the men and women currently serving or who have served overseas who are currently suffering from PTSD.

  27. Anonymous :

    I hate the feeling of post traumatic test disorder. You know, when you wake up with a sudden intense dream of one part of the bar exam and how you think you answered it incorrectly. I have spoken to a few people suffering from the same plight. Truth be told, I probably do not accurately remember most of the exam now, but that does not stop my subconscious from running wild. At the end of the day, however, I think we need to put things in perspective. Our plight does not come anywhere close to the men and women currently serving or who have served overseas who are currently suffering from PTSD.

  28. Laura Wilson :

    It’s been two weeks since the bar exam–in the meantime, I took the MPRE, which while challenging, seemed far more manageable to me. No matter what the outcome, all tests are over, and that has given me reason to feel happy–even euphoric. All my Barbri and other study materials are stored away, out of sight. Like most people, I struggle with doubts, alternating between thinking I probably passed and then remembering how difficult the MBE was and feeling sure that I failed. Somehow, I’ll just have to get through this roller coaster ride! LW

  29. Old Iowa Lawyer :

    I took the Iowa bar exam in 1993 (a very long time ago). At that time, Iowa did not use the multistate bar exam. It was all essay. It lasted 2-1/2 days. The exams from Monday morning were graded Monday afternoon; Monday afternoon’s exams were graded Tuesday morning, and so on. This meant we found out whether we passed late Thursday afternoon. Those who passed were sworn into the Bar on Friday morning. It was the worst week of my life. My mother-in-law was on her deathbed in Des Moines, and I had to leave my husband and his family on Sunday and go to Iowa City for the exam. She died Monday afternoon. The visitation was Wednesday night and the funeral was Thursday morning. We drove straight from the burial to the law school where the exam results were posted on the door of the law school. The walk from the street to the school door was excruciating. Other students were there, and no one was reacting because you didn’t want to celebrate in case someone else had not passed. After finding out I passed, there was very little celebration given the week’s family events. No bar trip for me.

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