Friday, March 1, 2013

February 2013 Bar Exam: Done and Done.

First, congratulations! The exam is over. Your nights and weekends are back. And in a few short months, many of you will be attorneys at law. 

Quick recap for other readers: On the essays, we saw a lot of the usual suspects (surprise, surprise!). Wills, Federal Jurisdiction, Creditors' Rights, Sales (U.C.C. Art. 2), Local Government, Corporations, Real Property, Equity, and our good friend, Virginia Civil Procedure. The VBBE gave Local Government a particularly strong showing by devoting one and a half essays to the subject. I keep telling my students -- the examiners love this subject. It's just so. . . Virginia. Anyway, I was a little surprised not to see a Criminal Law or Procedure essay. A half-essay for Virginia Civil Procedure was also light, but by no means inconceivable. On the short answer section, the questions were mostly low-hanging fruit, which was a pleasant surprise. Finally, the MBE was about as typical as the MBE gets. 

Second, let's briefly discuss how you feel now. All of you are exhausted and, hopefully, relieved. Some of you feel good, but I'm betting most of you just feel like an overcooked wet noodle. Maybe you're fretting over that one essay which gave you trouble. You might be bothered by the excess of one particular subject or the lack of another, or by a pesky short answer question. For some of you, the MBE gave you trouble. And for others, the entire exam felt like a mess.

Gradually, these feelings will wear off. You will come to terms with the VBBE's essay selection. You will accept that the February 2013 exam was fair and is now out of your control. Some of you will put the whole exam in the back of your mind until a week before results are released. I applaud you. Others will not let your anxiety subside at all.

In many respects, waiting for results is harder than preparing for or taking the exam. You go from having no time on your hands, to having lots of time -- time to think, time to wonder, time to worry. But the same advice before the exam holds true now: you must keep anxiety and self-doubt in check. Otherwise, you'll go crazy. Before the exam, this was half the battle. Now it’s the whole battle. If you think you fared horribly on the exam, it’s because the wound is still fresh and it's all you can think about. You’re thinking about the things you did wrong or missed, and not about the things you did correctly or knew cold. Chances are, you're being too hard on yourself. I bet you did just fine.

The VBBE expects to post results on April 25th. Translation: they will post results on April 24th or 25th, but not before the 24th. The wait is long and arduous. My recommendation is to do everything in your power to distract yourself from thinking about the bar exam. Put those thoughts in a lock box and throw that box in the ocean. Because thinking will only lead to worry. And worry will lead to more worry. It won’t accomplish a damn thing.

If you can't stop yourself from thinking and wondering and worrying, or maybe if you're just curious or are simply passing time, by all means please use the discussion forums to converse with other examinees. Just don't use the forums to abuse yourself.

Again, congratulations! Celebrate your accomplishment, and then give yourself some much-deserved rest.

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