The Anxiety that preceeds the Bar Exam

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Ms. McDermott says she can meet with a client and determine the problem in the first interview. Here is list of the most common problems that arise for bar exam candidates:

1. Issues about identity.



When a young adult has been a student for so long, it is a big leap from student to professional. In addition, a promising student can be leery of the legal profession's bad reputation, which she might have confronted sometime during the years in law school. Some students don't want to become a bad legal stereotype.

2. Effects of a significant increase in income.

Often people have fears of making more income than their parents or siblings. Will the income increase some how set them apart from family and friends?

3. Knowing that they deserve it is another issue for people who have failed the bar exam.

Some of the deepest and most challenging barriers come from self-esteem when a client believes he doesn't deserve the recognition or honor of passing the exam and becoming a lawyer.

4. Other issues can come up when interviewing a client about the bar exam.

It is a stressful time where the bar exam candidate feels like she is under the microscope. It's the culmination of a long course of study and this is the icing on the cake. The determination if a graduate will go on to practice in that dream job. These issues need to be put aside and dealt with after the exam so a keen focus on the test ahead is demanded.

5. Perfectionism and Procrastination interfere with study and thoughts about the exam.

You don't need to score perfect on the entire exam to pass it. This fear can cause procrastination in preparing for the exam and even the inability to complete the exam.

Patti suggests not developing any bad habits during this stressful time because they can become problematic later. The statistics for attorneys using alcohol and drugs is shocking. Eat a good diet to prevent overdosing on sugar and going on a high or crashing without it. There are lots of positive habits to develop during your preparation time.

This article lists only a few of the nasty little skeletons that can drive a bright young person to potentially fail the bar exam. If you have passed the test exams then you know the law. Find those underlying fears and defeat them to complete the path you started. Don't let these things distract you from your future. You can look on the internet or ask around for therapists who work with students to overcome their fear of failure, perfectionism or procrastination. It's not a long process, as Patti McDermott says, she uses a technique to detect the problem and get the student in the right direction for success on the bar exam in as little as four sessions. Give yourself every chance to pass, it's your life!

Resources:
'Removing the Mental Barriers', © 2007 by Pati McDermott.

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