by Paulina Bandy, Esq.
A presentation at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, by Researcher Sian Beilock, may provide answers to why some highly talented bar candidates have a difficult time passing the bar exam.
“People with a high level of *working memory depend on it heavily during problem solving. If you’ve got it flaunt it. However, that same advantage makes them particularly susceptible to the dangers of stress. In essence, feelings of pressure introduce an intrusion that eats up available working memory for talented people” Beilock said.
These findings have implications in high stakes testing environments, since the gifted people with larger amounts of working memory began using short-cuts to solve problems, such as guessing and estimation. As a result of taking short-cuts, the accuracy of the talented people were undermined. Therefore, the stress of the bar exam may consume cognitive resources that some candidates usually rely on for their superior performance.
This is encouraging to bar exam repeaters experiencing failing for the first time in their lives. Controlling impulsivity with structured exam strategy, scheduling, and stress management, provides successful candidates success at the bar exam too.
Paulina Bandy, Esq.
CA Bar Exam Repeaters' Resource™
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*Working memory refers to the brain system responsible for temporary storage and skillful use of information necessary for language comprehension, learning, and reasoning.