In just a matter of days, hours, minutes, or perhaps even seconds, you will find out if you passed or failed the bar exam. Of course, such a big day can trigger a range of emotions, from extreme anxiety to complete denial and avoidance, and it can be difficult to manage them. Rest assured, you are not alone.
In order to help you cope better with results day, we put together the following list of tips to consider. First and foremost, remember that no matter the outcome, one test is not enough to define you or your future.
Before you get your results, ask yourself…
- Do I want to be alone or with others?
Imagine clicking on your results and seeing an indication of whether you passed or failed the bar exam. Since you do not know your results yet, it is important to assess your options and how you might respond to having friends and family members by your side in both possible outcomes. When making this evaluation, also be sure to prioritize your needs above others and consider whether or not you would benefit from having some sort of emotional support.
- Where do I want to open my results?
Do you really want to see whether you passed or failed the bar exam in a loud room or surrounded by strangers? Positive or negative, this is a moment that you will remember forever. That’s why it’s important that you select an environment that makes you feel comfortable and will allow you to freely respond to your results based on however you feel in the moment.
- How am I feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally?
The wait before receiving bar exam results is incredibly stressful and can take a toll on one’s overall well-being. Many students are convinced that they are too anxious to eat, when in reality the body still needs food to function properly, regardless of emotions. Maintain awareness of how you are feeling throughout the day to ensure that you are taking care of yourself and receiving suitable support.
- How do I want to spend today?
Distracting yourself is key to reducing anxiety during this time. Fill your schedule with activities that will keep you busy until your results are posted. Your mind may not be entirely kept off of your results throughout the day, but it is sure to make the wait much more bearable.
- What is my game plan?
It’s important to know what your next steps will be if you do and don’t pass the bar exam. Anticipate both outcomes and plan accordingly. That way, regardless of your results, you will avoid making impulsive decisions and know how to proceed without having any doubts.
If you pass the bar exam…
Congratulations! You did it! Now is the time to celebrate with close friends and family and enjoy the rest of the day so that you are able to pursue your next steps in the days ahead. Also be sure to contact your employer if you already have a job lined up, and thank those who supported you during your hard months of preparation and waiting.
If you do not pass the bar exam…
It’s okay. It may not feel like it now, but life goes on. Some of the most well-known and influential people in society today once took and failed the bar exam and their failure did not impact their successes later in life. Neither will yours. It may also be reassuring to remind yourself that you are not alone, and this is just one hurdle that you will undoubtedly overcome so long as you continue forward with hard work and determination.
Take the time you need to recover and grieve the loss. Then, when you are ready, we have created resources specifically for bar exam retakers to make the next time your last.