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A Guide to Taking the Bar Exam in Person in a Pandemic: Safety & Helpful Tips

Some jurisdictions are moving ahead with holding an in-person bar exam despite the concerns and threat of the global pandemic COVID-19. Many of you may be feeling frustrated, not only for a lack of information you may be receiving from your jurisdiction, but also because you may feel like there is a lack of care for your safety. This Article serves to give you tips with how to protect yourself and keep yourself safe when you have to take a bar exam in person during this pandemic.

1. Find a mask and face shield that you’re comfortable with.

If you are able to choose your own mask, find one that makes you the most comfortable. Wear it at all times when taking the exam and while in the exam venue. If possible, also wear a face shield with your mask for additional protection.

2. Keep your social distance.

One of the frustrating things that we may have experienced when we are out and about is that people do not respect or follow social distancing rules. Make sure at the exam you are constantly staying 6 feet apart from all other examinees and staff from the bar exam administration.

3. Have sanitizer handy always.

You likely do not want to keep getting up to wash your hands during the bar exam. If your jurisdiction permits, make sure you bring sanitizer and use it periodically.

4. Avoid contact with your face.

Because you are going to be out in public in an exam room for many hours, you want to avoid your hand touching anywhere on your face – eyes, nose, mouth, etc. You want to minimize this contact especially while you are present in that exam room.


Black background white image of covid-19 with words coronavirus Covid-19 and red image of world map

5. Clean all materials in between exam days.

After the written day, make sure you sanitize and clean your pens, pencils, computers, or anything you brought with you into the exam room. For best practices, have the cleaning products in your car and clean everything right after the exam.

6. Be familiar with your jurisdiction’s rules and protocols well in advance.

Your jurisdiction will likely publish its own protocols on their website. You want to be familiar with these well in advance so you can plan ahead and know what you need and what you need to do when you get to the exam room.

7. If you are staying in a hotel, know those restrictions and protocols.

If you are staying in a hotel for your bar exam, you want to be sure you are also following all of these tips while in common areas, and frequently watching your hands. Be familiar with the hotel’s restrictions, protocols, and safety measures.

8. Quarantine Requirements?

Some jurisdictions are putting in a 14-day requirement for anyone taking the bar exam from an outside jurisdiction. If this is true for your jurisdiction, start looking and making plans for this extended stay. This might be financially straining, so knowing and planning for this ahead of time is critical.

9. Plan your lunches for bar exam day.

For safety purposes, it may be beneficial to pack your own lunch that you make at home or from your hotel room, rather than exposing yourself further by going to buy lunch. If you cannot bring your lunch, make sure you’re following all social distancing protocols and washing your hands before entering the exam room again.

10. Take care of your health.

Stress and anxiety can be quite a toll on our health. Although the pandemic is creating additional stress on top of the bar exam, taking care of your own health and safety should be a priority. Take mental health breaks. Exercise. Eat well. Get sleep. Talk to someone if you need to. And, wholeheartedly, take care of yourself in any way that you can and need to.
There are a lot of things out of our control right now, but the one thing we can control is what we plan for. Take control of the situation by planning, and use these tips to give you a head start.

We run live, small group workshops for the MEE and MBE subjects for the bar exam twice a year preceding the subsequent bar exam, Check out our Bar Review Workshops.

Are you not sure whether your jurisdiction for the July 2021 bar exam will be in-person or remote? The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) has an updated list you can find on their website.


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