Bar Exam Takers Prohibited from Smuggling in Tampons and Other Obvious Cheating Aids

Illustration for article titled Bar Exam Takers Prohibited from Smuggling in Tampons and Other Obvious Cheating Aids
Photo: Loic Venance/AFP (Getty Images)

Periods. Where do they come from? And what do they want?

Nobody knows for sure, but we have reason to believe that some of the people who took this year’s bar exam might have been planning to have their periods during the test as a way of cheating somehow perhaps.

Thankfully, a bunch of states have stepped in to prevent the would-be cheating scandal, instituting rules banning menstrual products from exam rooms and requiring aspiring lawyers to ask permission to change their tampons and pads.

Here are a couple of precautionary measures that some of those states are taking, according to the American Civil Liberties Union:

  • West Virginia has explicitly prohibited “feminine hygiene products.” If you need a tampon or pad during the exam (suspicious), you have to ask one of the proctors for one.
  • Montana does not include menstrual products on its list of permitted test room items. It also does not say whether you can ask a proctor for a menstwual pad, pwease.
  • One Nebraska law school grad who took the bar exam earlier this year said she had to ask permission in order to change her tampon more frequently than every two hours. Thank god for these rules!!

Some states also have great necessary rules around breast milk, another mysterious body fluid with no known traceable origin (ghosts??) that nonetheless helps people cheat on their lawyer exams I feel.

Administrators in Oklahoma, for example, refused to give one test taker an extra few minutes to finish pumping her breast milk following her 15-minute break.


Great job, everyone! This is good.

Freelance journalist (GQ, W, Esquire, elsewhere), here on weekends

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Bar exams are ableist as fuck (also racist and classist) and should just be permanently canceled. What it really tests is your ability to pay a bar prep company thousands of dollars, take two months off to study full-time, memorize books worth of outdated and unnecessary law, and then sit still for 2-3 days, 8 hours a day, in a room of 1000 people with limited or no access to food, water, and yes necessary hygiene supplies.

Even in the middle of a pandemic, state bar associations are still showing themselves to be comically out of touch and ill-equipped to adapt. For example, here’s Tennesee’s fantastically stupid - and ADA-violating - rules for their online bar exam:

“Don’t look up, down, or the side for more than a few seconds as it could look like you are cheating”

“Don’t fidget, touch your face, or twirl your hair”

“Do not be out of the frame of the camera at any time”