From July 26-28, would-be Texas lawyers will sit for the Texas bar exam in Austin, Houston, Irving, Lubbock, San Antonio and Waco. So Texas Lawyer went to the top and asked Julia Vaughan, executive director of the Texas Board of Law Examiners (TBLE), the Austin agency responsible for administering the exam, to share some suggestions to help those taking the test. Below are Vaughan’s seven tips, edited for length and style.
1. Thoroughly review the six-page, July 2011, Texas bar examination instructions, your admission ticket, and the separate instructions for use of laptop computers, all of which were provided to you by the TBLE. These contain all the important information you will need to locate your exam site and your assigned seat, as well as the daily schedules and what you can and cannot bring with you to the exam room.
2. The examinee number on your admission ticket also identifies your seat assignment. Proctors will be available to assist you in locating your seat. Seating cards showing the examinee number are placed in sequential order on the exam tables.
3. The exam will begin each day promptly at 8 a.m. Please arrive at your exam site at least 30 minutes before we begin each day to allow for parking, clearing security at the doors to the exam room, finding your assigned seat, setting up your computer and attending to any personal needs you may have.
4. Plan ahead for exam site conditions by: a) dressing in layers to adjust to the temperature in the exam room; b) bringing your own earplugs to reduce noise distractions such as those associated with computer use or air conditioning systems; and c) bringing your own silent timer in the event you are unable to clearly view a clock.
5. Electronic communication devices, cameras, scanners and recording devices are strictly prohibited inside the exam room at any time. Plan ahead by leaving such devices and any other valuables in a secure location, such as the trunk of your vehicle or locked in your residence or hotel room.
6. Bring only what you are allowed to use during the exam (admission ticket, photo ID, pens, pencils, highlighters, silent timers, ear plugs, laptop computer, power cord). If you need a container for the items you bring into the exam room, it must be completely transparent, such as a zipper top plastic bag.
7. No smoking, food or beverages. Smoking materials, food, and beverages (including bottled water) are prohibited in the exam room. Smoking is prohibited in the designated secure areas at all sites. You will not be able to take smoking breaks or access food or beverages (other than water from the water fountain) during the exam.
-- Jeanne Graham