Dear Health Journeys,

I am a law school administrator who has an interest in wellness.    I would like to work with Ms. Naparstek on a guided meditation  for  a "Successful Bar Exam".  According to recent stats, over 55,000 people pass a bar exam each year.  I know when I took the bar exam 19 years ago, I had a lot of anxiety and I could have used a guided meditation.  

I know there are general testing anxiety guided meditations on the market, but I really believe having a targeted Bar Exam one would be great.  

Please let me know what you think.  

(FYI, I used the Successful Surgery meditation for a recent surgery and I had a perfect surgery and recovery.  Thank you.)



Dear CW,

Thanks for writing and hats off to you for your concern for your law students and your interest in their wellness, success and emotional health.

But to answer your question, I honestly think that any guided imagery or hypnosis program designed to help generally with test anxiety and/or memory and concentration would do the job. Targeting the bar exam would bring only negligible extra benefits (if that), and wouldn’t warrant the time and expense it would take to create a whole separate title.  

Guided imagery is a wonderful tool for anybody’s test anxiety, from an elementary school pop quiz to sitting for the bar exam.

Just to be sure I wasn’t blowing smoke, I searched our blog for feedback from anxious bar exam sitters who tried our more general guided meditations for tests and learning – I knew we’d had these queries before.  Entering the key words “bar exam” yielded 3 articles, and they all supported the idea that you don’t need to specifically target the bar exam to succeed with a more general kind of imagery for relaxed focus, efficient memory and test anxiety:

Here’s one from years ago, when we didn’t even have all the relevant titles that we have now.  Have a look:

Dear Health Journeys,

I want to say thank you. When I scheduled myself to take the bar exam for my THIRD time, I was so totally freaked out and demoralized from the first two failed attempts, I was a mental case. Just thinking about it had me hyperventilating and breaking a sweat. (Not an exaggeration.) So I talked to a nice person at your shop, and she suggested I try BR’s Self-Confidence CD, plus the Memory CD of Martha Howard and Emmett Miller’s Learning CD.

I found them all very different, and there were times when I was in the mood for one and not the others and vice versa. Bottom line: after a lot of immersion in these CDs (and studying, of course, but I always studied, and it evidently wasn’t sinking in) I felt calm yet sharp during the exam - a new experience, for sure.

I now await the results, and, dare I say it? I feel hopeful. I’ll let you know how I did. I desperately want to pass the bar. But regardless, I know for sure I was in much better shape during the exam experience and for that I thank you, come what may.

Julie with Fingers Crossed in Ft. Worth  [Ed. Note: she passed.]

Since the time of that post, we acquired more titles that are relevant for test anxiety and concentration.  Here’s what I had to say – it all still applies. (And for kids with test anxiety or problems with focus and concentration, we now have Mellisa Dormoy’s Calm & Clarity.)

Okay, so my top choice for this would be Emmett Miller’s Winning at Learning for help with staying confident and calm.  He also has suggestions for memorizing and anticipating a successful experience.

Martha Howard has a very fine guided meditation for help with concentration and confidence under pressure.  It’s called Greater Memory and Learning Skills and it’s another excellent hypnotic journey. 

And if you enjoy the nuanced subtlety and oblique suggestions of pure Ericksonian hypnosis, David Illig is your guy.  In Improve Your Memory, he mixes his primo technique with hemi-sync musical tones and subliminal suggestions to help you absorb, learn and recall material.
And if you respond well to my stuff, then you might also want to use Self-Confidence & Peak Performance, but it’s more general - doesn’t specifically target test taking.  But if you already know you like my voice and M.O., then that’s a good one for you..

Remember, there’s no need to overwhelm yourself with all of these. Start with one or two and see how you respond to them. If it feels right, stick with it and don’t bother with the rest.

So, those offerings should be plenty and more than enough to help your law students with their test taking issues when they sit for the bar exam.  

Best of luck to all of them, and to you too.