News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.

Archive for July 20th, 2017


Bar Exam Tip: Keep Breathing

Image of e-reader displaying words "Don't Panic" The bar exam is next week and you have been studying hard all summer, well actually for your entire law school career. With all the studying and pressure, it’s still important to be aware of and to manage your stress level. Most people experience some nervousness when faced with a big exam, but for some, those nerves can be overwhelming.

If you are having feelings of dread, and physical symptoms such as a racing heartbeat, nausea, shortness of breath, sweating and dizziness, then you may be experiencing a more serious form of stress called test anxiety. For people with test anxiety, the mind sees an exam as a threat and that triggers the body to produce the hormones and physical reactions usually seen when your “fight or flight” response activates. Don’t worry, there are many strategies you can practice to help reduce these effects. For example, while studying make sure you are still getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, and taking breaks. You can also find a few breathing and meditation techniques that help calm your mind. Those breathing techniques will be useful during the exam.

Breathing exercises are actually beneficial for everyone. Regardless of your stress level, the bar exam is lengthy and you may find yourself becoming fatigued, or freezing on a question. It’s important not to panic when that happens, and take a few deep breaths instead. This will help slow everything down and reset yourself. It won’t take up much time, and may actually save you time in the long run by helping you unfreeze and move on. You can try the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise, or some Belly Breathing. Use your lunch break to walk around and try some stretches to release the tension from your neck, shoulders, and back.

Check out our Work-Life Balance Pinterest board for more tips on stress management, easy and healthy meals, and short exercise routines that fit into your busy schedule.

Good luck! You’ve got this!