Earthquake During the Bar Exam

Today was the first day of the bar exam. The quake hit with about 30 minutes to go in the morning session. The epicenter was about 11 miles from Ontario where I and a thousand other recent law grads are taking the test. There was a loud rumbling and then suddenly the room was swaying in a way I’ve never experienced before! For a few seconds the tables were bumping around and a tile fell from the convention center ceiling. The California-savvy people ducked under their desks almost immediately. The rest of us kind of hesitated, though that tile smacking on the floor and the realization that those convention center lights and air conditioners were swinging got us moving.

You could tell the people who really wanted to pass. They brought their laptops with them under the desks (um, I didn’t). After maybe a minute, we got back in our seats. The head proctor announced that he would have five extra minutes tacked on to the end of our exam period. People actually clapped.

I was looking around and I saw a lot of people with shaking hands and distracted looks after we started again. The first five minutes after the quake were pretty much a waste for everyone. I know I would go on writing and then notice that my answers just weren’t quite right. Other people were doing a lot of the same: write something, then delete, delete, delete. I wonder if the graders will be able to tell by the exam answers just when the quake happened.

That was the morning session. For the afternoon test, my computer wouldn’t load the exam software correctly and I had to do the performance test by hand. I’m not happy about that, and I hope I manage to get it working on Thursday. I really have nothing to complain about. There were no injuries from the quake, I think I did okay on the essays this morning, and even though I wrote the performance exam by hand this afternoon I’m pretty happy about my work. If I have to write the other parts of the exam, I’m capable of it even though it won’t be my best. Actually, I half of my practice exams over the last six weeks I took by hand just in case.

Tomorrow is six hours of multiple choice, which I’m actually looking forward to. And I’m not the only one who feels that way. We are warped.

Two more days, then I’m back to my real life.

***Thanks for the link, Allah, although Ed “Native Angelino” Morrissey shames me. Alas, I couldn’t be as nonchalant about it. I’m not from around here.

~ by Gabriel Malor on July 29, 2008.

15 Responses to “Earthquake During the Bar Exam”

  1. Hope you clear the Bar, Gabe. Then you can proudly say that even an earthquake cannot shake you down.

  2. And if I don’t pass, I have a ready excuse!

  3. An earthquake would officially be called a “testing error.” If you don’t pass, I would demand a free do over.

  4. Who can you sue?

  5. Great story, best of luck on the test results, Gabriel.

  6. Gabe, my girlfriend is taking the bar down in San Diego and she didn’t get any extra time. Shenanigans! Good luck to you, sir. I wish you the best.

  7. Good luck, Gabe. When you pass, it will be a great story to tell. Much better than the one I have about an AP test given by a person who couldn’t tell time and shorted us 15 minutes…

  8. At the end of day 3, I literally felt like I was walking out of jail a free man. Maybe I’m demeaning the experience of real criminals, but that’s how I felt. Good luck with 2 & 3.

  9. Good luck, Gabriel!

    Glad you’re okay.

  10. There’s an Ontario in California? Who knew? Good luck, Gabe!

  11. I was wondering where all my southern California friends were yesterday. You have the best story so far! Good luck on the exam!

  12. “Two more days, then I’m back to my real life.”

    As if you had a real life before. Also, when I took the Architect licensure exam, it was four days, 8 hours per day. All on paper.


    Good luck though.

  13. Also:

    “I was looking around after and I saw a lot of people with shaking hands and distracted looks.”

    Let’s try to keep our eyes on our own work, Ms. Malor.

  14. Good luck, Gabe. ‘Cause if you don’t pass.. well.. you know what we do with hobos ‘around here.. dontcha?

  15. FIVE extra minutes! How generous! Good grief. It’d take my heart fifteen minutes just to get back to something like a normal pulse rate.

    Glad to hear you’re okay. Best of luck with those results.

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