Friday, March 20, 2009

Part 3 – Florida Bar Exam Day 1 – Afternoon Session:

After lunch I was finally through the metal detectors again and in my seat getting ready to start the 2nd half of day 1. As I took my seat I was much more relaxed and confident than I was when I sat down in the morning. This relaxation and confidence wasn’t because I knew I was going to do extremely well, or even pass, but just knowing what was coming my way – other than the one mystery section, there were going to be no surprises or added stress/anxiety. This helped me a ton. As the section began I was extremely curious as to which third section I was going to face. Fittingly on the third question I was faced with, on its face, appeared to deal with corporations and I immediately reacted and kind of took a confidence hit knowing that this was probably my weakest of the two sections. After reading the entire question it turned out that it was actually a civil procedure question dealing with a corporation – so I was saved for now. A few questions later my confidence was back as I was faced with a clear question on wills! Again, I didn’t think I was going to get every question correct, or maybe not even half of them correct, but it was a small bit of confidence to help me work through this multiple choice section.

During my multiple choice practice sections I was consistently finishing a 100 question set 30-45 minutes before the expiration of the allotted time. After answering my first 33 questions I planned to stop and take my first break. At this point I realized that the time was going to be much tighter during the actual test. This is probably a good thing, the question fact patterns weren’t any longer so I took it to mean that (hopefully) I was taking more time to read the questions and the answers to make the right choices in my answer. I needed a mental break and made my first trip to the restroom during the test. As with anything connected with the bar exam, nothing is easy. In order to go to the restroom you have to make the long walk to the front of the testing area with your test, answer sheet, and ID and then sign your name as well as the time that you are entering the restroom (in front of 2 proctors) and then you’re finally free to do whatever it is you need to do. I honestly believe that it took me longer to walk to the front and sign in than it did for me to actually go. Once that ordeal was out of the way I was back to testing and before I knew it, I was going over a few questions I skipped and then time was up and my first day of the Florida Bar was over about as fast as it started.

After finishing up I headed back to the same hotel for a dessert/snack time that FCSL provided us and grabbed some things to eat as well as some coffee and other drinks to help me get ready for the next few hours of forgetting everything I knew about Florida law and reviewing all I knew about the MBE (multistate bar exam). I relaxed for a bit and was then on my way back to my hotel (being very mindful of the 5:00 traffic in downtown Tampa) and made it back for some multistate review. After a couple of hours of reviewing it was time for dinner and I headed out to a Five Guys nearby and had a quick dinner with Will, Lee and some other friends. This was a great dinner we went over some questions that we thought were a bit too much as well as to talk about other experiences we had during the test and it really helped relax us all. Some parts of the discussion were good and helped give me confidence while others really didn’t do much but make me want to run back to the hotel room and study. After we ate and talked a bit more it was time to head back to the room and do some more review before bed.

Our bar coaches and many other former test takers and passers encouraged us not to do a ton of review after the first day and the most important thing to do was relax and just stay as rested as possible to be ready for day 2. So with this in mind I took a few minutes to have a small photo shoot with some of the things I brought along with me:

My bear necessities for the Bar Exam

The items from left to right and were really kind of my survival kit to help me get through. The first item is my bar exam identification which I had to have at all times to get into the test – without it – no test and no passing grade. The picture is of my family on half court of the O’Connell Center right before I proposed to my wife – this was one of the happiest days of my life and my family is THE most important thing in my life so this is a pretty powerful picture to me. I would not be where I am today without the help and support of my family and wife. To the right of the photo is my Hoops & Yoyo panic button that my mom got me for Christmas this year – apparently she knew what was coming. I hit the button during my studying when things weren’t going too well and I also hit it right before leaving the room to go to both days of the test and it definitely helped bring a smile during some of the toughest times. Next to the panic button is Erlvis – the head honcho of the chicken family who was along for the ride and served as my bodyguard throughout. Finally, above the photo is the mantra that our bar coaches made us say almost every time we spoke and they even printed out copies like the one here for us to have. Mine was always in view and even though I may not have believed it when I was bombing practice tests, if I said it enough eventually I’d give in and at least start to believe it a little.
After the photo shoot I reviewed for a while and then watched the UF vs. LSU basketball game – although I would have preferred a different and maybe even winning result, at least I was spending my time watching college basketball instead of wasting my time to relax by even more last minute studying. Once the game was over I did spend about an hour and a half of final review and was in bed by 12:30. I followed the same bedtime and prayer routine that I had gone through the night before and again felt the warmth, peace, and relaxation I needed to fall asleep almost immediately. I honestly cannot explain how well I slept these two nights but I am so thankful.

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