This morning recently graduated law students, established lawyers and those who have previously flunked the test will shuffle in the room that will define them. The proctors will glare with suspicion while viewing them with as much warmth as if they used to work in the Lubyanka. And that is only the first 17 seconds these unlucky few are in the room. However despite the welcoming fit for the dental office, it’s the next 31 hours, 9 minutes and 43 seconds that is the real bitch.
As you likely know, today is the beginning of the summer bar exam.
For those who have never taken the test (which I am going to guess is most of those sitting today), it is a hellaciously nerve wracking experience. Despite the pending class action, a hefty number of those examinees sitting likely took BarBri. This expensive class gave them an insight into what is about to unfold, but not even that can properly prepare and account for the jitters, panic and explosive bowel issues that will predominate the day.
Much like the death penalty, the day is fairly scripted for condemned:
The examinee will walk into the room and immediately be directed to place their personal belongings against the wall nearest the proctor’s watchtower. This is when they will receive the warning that if their cell phone rings during the test, even if it is in the bag holding area, they will Go directly to Jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200 be expelled from the examination center, their test scores forfeited and forever be remembered by the 50 people in the room as ‘that idiot who forgot to shut his phone off’. The next 45 minutes (or so…I’m working off of a four year old memory here) deals with instructions, more warnings, a DNA test and threats for immediate disembowelment if misbehavior occurs.
If this year is like most years, then there will be a lull as the proctors have done all of their allotted work in a faster time frame than they were given. Then they’ll tell the assembled souls to “relax” since they aren’t ready to begin. After what seems like an eternity (think: waiting for the firing squad to reload) the test booklets will be distributed to each person in the room. More instructions will be read as the clock flies towards the preordained staring time for the test. Those that don’t deal well with this sort of stress will begin to panic, those that failed to shower before the test will likely begin to smell and those who are Honey Badgers will continue to not give a shit.
We’re in the final seconds before those fateful words kick off the bi-annual process. There’s no time left and now it’s between you, God and whatever you can intellectually vomit onto the essay answer booklet.
“You may open your test booklets and begin your test. Good luck”