For many law school graduates, it’s the most terrifying time of the year — the two days when they have to sit for the bar.
In New York, the dreaded test lasts more than 6 hours each day on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
Over the course of two days, participants will answer 250 multiple choice questions and write five essays.
Bar exam preparation can consume grads for months (unless you’re this guy). No matter how much aspiring lawyers prepare for the test, though, Murphy’s law can wreak havoc on their future plans. BI compiled some of the most painful bar exam horror stories.
1) Power Outage in Missouri
In February 2013, a huge snowstorm hit the Midwest. The Missouri Board of Law Examiners urged participants to “travel with caution” but wouldn’t postpone the test, Above The Law reported. Then, the power went out after the morning session. One tipster told the blog they couldn’t even hand-write their tests because they were “in the basement of a crappy hotel” that was “pitch dark.”
2) Spring Breakers from Hell
A California woman named Shawnee revealed her horror story on a video posted by Bar Exam Mind, a website with tips for the test. Forced to travel far for a testing site, she and some other attorney-hopefuls rented rooms at a hotel for two nights. Little did they know, they’d share the floor with French students on spring break.
“I was so irritated … there were all these teenagers running up and down the hall being super obnoxious,” she said. Pounding techno music kept her awake — even after a sleeping pill. The motel’s management failed to break up the party, and she and her fellow graduates were forced find another place to stay.
“After the hotel debacle, the exam itself was really exhausting.” she said.
3) Heart Attack Before the Test
One man suffered two minor heart attacks the week before his bar exam, Practical Academic Support Services’ (PASS) blog reported. Bob, who failed the exam, ignored the warning signs, writing them off as anxiety and stress. On a more positive note, Bob went to the doctor, got some heart meds, and passed in 2007 on his second try.
4) Labor Pains
One Chicago woman went into labor while taking the bar exam, The Daily Herald reported. Northwesterm graduate Elana Nightingale Dawson, 29, did breathing exercising while finishing the test and then walked a block to the hospital to deliver her son. At one point, she experienced painful contractions only 15 minutes apart.
5) Stolen — Or Lost — Answer Sheets
In 1985, 542 answers sheets for the bar exam at Manhattan’s testing center vanished, The New York Times reported at the time. “There is no way to express how wretched we all feel about this thing,” John E. Holt-Harris Jr. , a member of the examing board told the Times.
Eric Turkewitz, the man behind the New York Personal Injury Law Blog, was one of the unfortunate hundreds. Fortunately, he didn’t have to retake his exam. The testing center found his booklet, where he had marked his answers (a great tip). But a lot of other test-takers weren’t so fortunate and had to re-do the test.
Got your own bar exam horror story? Let us know about it in the comments.
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