Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Preparing for Bar Exam Results

Bar Results are released at different times in each jurisdiction.  This summer, Washington State administered the Uniform Bar Exam for the first time.  In addition to many changes to the exam format, the results release date is changing as well.  The bar exam results in WA are being released earlier- one month earlier!  It is time to prepare for the results.

Grads often go into hibernation right after the bar exam.  They are busy getting their lives back, traveling, getting married, and catching up on their sleep.  As they begin to establish new routines distance grows between the bar exam and their current existence.  Eventually, they are able to move beyond thinking about their performance on the bar exam.

However, as soon as talk of the impending results begins to surface (likely through Facebook), grads are jolted back to that uncomfortable state of limbo.  During the weeks before the release of results, I start receiving emails, phone calls, and visits from grads who are calling on me for support or to ask questions about the delivery of their results.  While I did everything possible to help them pass the bar exam, I now have no control over the fate of their results.  I find myself in a purgatory of sorts.  I, like our grads, am waiting with baited breath for the results. 

With less than a week before the release of bar results, I offer these suggestions to grads who are feeling anxious. 

  • The bar exam is only a test.  I know this is easy for me to say when I have already passed the exam.  But, this test is only a snapshot in a lifetime filled with many rewarding and joyous occasions. 
  • The bar exam does not define who you are.  (As stated above, the bar is only a test.)  Your intelligence and character are not judged by a standardized test taken over a two day period.  You have a lifetime to create memories, build a career, and show the world who you are.
  • Focus on the things that matter most in your life.  Having gratitude for the many wonderful gifts you enjoy in your life can turn a fretful time into one of reflection and personal growth.  Sit down and make a list of what matters to you most and use that list to stay centered through the days (and hours) leading up to the release of your bar results.
  • Make a plan for when you receive your results.  Do you want to be with your friends or loved ones?  Or, would you rather receive your results by yourself?  Either way, you should make a plan so you can be prepared when the results are released.  If your results are not favorable, you should have a support system in place to help you process your disappointment and lift your spirits.  If you pass, you will want someone with you to celebrate.  I hope all of  you will be celebrating!

Lisa Young

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