VirtualBar Exam Diaries

Bar Exam Diaries

Introducing the Virtual Bar Exam Diaries, a collection of first-hand stories written for students by students.

Read about a variety of different experiences with the Ontario Licensing Exams, what the candidates learned, and what they wish they had known. A great read for students and licensing candidates.

How to Prepare for Remote Licensing Exams

Writing exams remotely may seem stressful at first because it brings a new list of things to consider and of the potential issues that can arise. Taking the time to prepare your space and familiarize yourself with the process can help reduce the stress and avoid last-minute troubleshooting.

Writing On-site Versus Writing Remotely

Writing the exam in 2020 remotely seemed like a nightmare but was actually a blessing in disguise! I wrote my Bar exam in March 2020. It was in person, a full 8-hour day. Due to Covid-19, my Solicitor exam was done remotely.

How Emond Resources Helped Me

The challenge for me then was, due to COVID-19, my 2 kids were home schooling, and, as an essential worker, I still had to go to work so I had very little time to study.

I relied on my Emond videos, which I played over and over again at work, while doing chores, during my commute. I practised the questions over and over again until I was confident. I also tabbed my Emond materials, and on the day of the exam, I used the Emond PowerPoint summaries to easily locate the right answers faster.

My Advice To Students

2020 has been a year unlike any other. It has impacted every aspect of our lives, including how we would prepare for and write the Ontario Bar exams.

I had graduated from law school in Spring 2018, and, rather than complete my Articles immediately, I secured a Policy job with the Canadian Federal Government. In 2019, I decided that it was time for me to try my hand at law.

Be Prepared, Not Scared!

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing restrictions, I wrote both exams from home on my personal computer. The exams were different from prior years in the way that they were administered and in the way that they were presented. Instead of sitting in a large conference room with other writers, I sat on a plastic table in my parents’ basement.

Managing My Time

As a mom to a toddler during a pandemic, I was very nervous to write the Bar Exams. Studying seemed impossible while we were cooped up in a house with no childcare and no family or friends to help. I signed up for the Emond Exam Prep Online Course and watched the videos on my phone while I puttered around the house, waited at a drive-through, or fed the baby.

Benefits of Writing the Exam Remotely

This was my first time writing, so I have nothing to compare it to. However, not having to attend the exam in person was a huge benefit. This saved me so much time and stress on the morning of each exam. Rather than having to get a hotel nearby or waking up very early to get to the exam in time while waiting in a line of anxious students, I got to wake up later and sit in the comfort of my own home with no other students around me.

My Apprehensions and Writing Experience

I wrote my Barrister Exam back in March 2020 but was impacted by the cancellation of the Solicitor exam a few days after the COVID-19 outbreak in mid-March. I was so frustrated when this happened as I was only days away, and I spent the new few months worrying that they would never reschedule and that I would never be called to the Ontario Bar. 

Tips and Strategies for Studying at Home

At Emond Exam Prep we are dedicated to providing students with the support and resources they need to prepare for their professional licensing exams. During this period of uncertainty, you may be feeling anxious about preparing for your exams, which you will have to write on a date that is yet to be determined. The best way to handle this situation is to stay focused on the next stage in your career and to develop a study plan that will help you reach it. 

How to Make the Most of Your 1L Year

If you’re starting your first year of law school this fall, you might be feeling a mix of nervousness and excitement. And rightly so! You’re about to embark on a brand-new chapter in your life—one that will bring its own challenges and rewards. Your first year, or 1L, will involve meeting new people, reading, attending classes, more reading, familiarizing yourself with the law school environment, and finally, even more reading. (Just kidding—there isn’t that much reading).

4 Ways to De-Stress After the Ontario Bar Exams

Weeks of studying and two 7-hour exams later, the Ontario bar exams are finally behind you. What now? Maybe you’ve already started articling and you’re headed back to work. Maybe you’ve got some free time before you start articling or attend the Law Practice Program later this summer. Either way, there’s one thing that you definitely should not be doing right now: stressing about your exam results.

So You Failed a Bar Practice Exam. What Next?

“Practice makes perfect.” We’ve heard this saying countless times. But have you ever practiced over and over again only to see minimal improvement? Don’t feel discouraged! Practice is seldom just about repeating the same actions and techniques, it’s more often about evaluating our practice performance. So, if you’ve recently written a practice exam for the Ontario bar exams and your results weren’t perfect, don’t worry. You just need to adopt the right post-practice strategy.

5 Tips Law Students Should Know for the Wine & Cheese Networking Event

Talking in a pair or small group will make things easier, but make sure you pick someone who won’t dominate the conversation or you might not get a chance to participate. On the other hand, don’t be that person. Someone who talks non-stop about themselves comes across as arrogant and unaware of how to behave appropriately in social situations.

7 Articling Interview Tips to Help You Get Hired

You need to be able to convincingly answer the question, “Why this firm?”

This may seem basic, but it is extremely important. Firms realize that you need  to get an articling job somewhere—this is true of every student they interview. What they don’t know is which student is genuinely passionate about working at their specific firm.

7 Tips for Articling Students: Make You and Your Work Stand Out

The 2017–2018 articling term is fast approaching. While articling is an amazing opportunity to learn and explore your interests, it is also a stressful time that strikes fear into the hearts of newly graduated law students. Articling involves the combined pressure of needing to learn how to do everything, while also needing to market yourself as an asset to the firm in order to get a coveted associate position. 


Four Common Indexing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

There isn’t one “right” way to go about indexing for the licensing exams. Some students choose to make their own indices from scratch, some use old indices, some purchase indices, and some make or update indices with a group. However, no matter what your method, there are four common mistakes that can sabotage efficiency and accuracy. Follow these tips to ensure your indices won’t let you down on exam day.

5 Myths About the Ontario Licensing Exams

Make no mistake, preparing for the Ontario Licensing Exams can be a daunting task. However, don’t believe everything that you hear. These are 5 widespread myths that you may come across while gearing up for exam day.



What to do if you Fail the Ontario Bar Exams

There is a tendency among Ontario law students to be cavalier about the licensing exams. “No one fails!” some assure you. Others conjure pass rates out of thin air: “You know, 90% of law students in Ontario pass the bar. It’s not like New York!” This kind of dismissive attitude around the bar exams is misleading, and makes it especially difficult if you do fail the bar exams because you’re left wondering how you could possibly have failed such “easy” exams after studying so hard.

Emond Exam Prep: Indexing 101: What are Indices and why do I Need Them?

I remember my reaction the first time I laid eyes on the licensing materials from the Law Society: the nausea, the panic, the utter terror that I had to memorize seemingly endless pages of information. “But not really,” I was told by my peers who had already taken the bar exams. “You just have to rely on indices.”

I had no idea what indices were, and maybe you don’t know what indices are either. I’ll explain the basic concept and then share some general indexing tips.