With just about three weeks to go before the bar exam, it's normal to start feeling an added amount of stress. For many, the added stress is a result of taking the first simulated MBE and realizing that there's a lot of ground to cover before exam time.
But keep this in mind: MBE practice exams, as painful as they may seem, are one of the most important study tools to utilize in these last few weeks. Here's a few reasons why you should incorporate a steady diet of them into your study schedule.
1. You'll learn a lot from your scores.
No matter how bad your scores are initially, you can always learn something valuable from every practice test. Closely examine your scores, breaking them down by subject and topic areas within subjects, if possible. Identify any patterns, particularly areas of weakness, and consider readjusting your studying accordingly. Also pay attention to long streaks of wrong answers--if this is happening to you, this advice may be particularly important to you.
2. Less stress on exam day.
Experiencing stress during practice exams will help reduce levels of stress on exam day. Remember that every time you take a practice exam you get better and better at managing your emotions and focusing on answering questions.
You get to visualize yourself the day of the exam and practice your timing, cadence, and speed in reading and answering questions. You get to plan how you'll deal with hard questions and start to see patterns emerging with every question you answer. The more you practice the more you'll manage your stress and use these skills to your advantage.
3. You can test yourself in small doses.
As you move ahead in the study process, don't stop taking shorter, timed MBE sections, even in single subjects where you need work. Also, work on taking shorter, one-hour simulated exam sessions at least once every other day, paying particular attention to timing. The end result of taking practice exams will be that you walk into the real MBE feeling comfortable and as though you've done this a million times before.
And here's one of the most important things to remember: don’t panic about bad scores. A freakout, of course, won’t help you get better. Instead of getting overwhelmed, take a breath, identify the areas you need to work on, and make a plan for how you're going to get better.