I'm taking the February 2017 Administration.
I've previously passed another jurisdiction.
It is being administered at University of Illinois of Chicago Forum.
I've never been to Chicago.
For those of you who have taken the exam at that location:
1. Which hotel would you recommend?
2. How did you get to the testing site? (drive? walk? cab?)
3. Do you have any tips for the logistics of the whole thing?
1. Hotel Chicago Illinois Medical District (it was the cheapest hotel close to the test center)
3. Hotel check in is at 4PM, so plan accordingly. I recommend getting to the hotel before 7pm, just so you have time to relax, get some food, and get to bed early. I arrived at 11am in O'Hare because I booked my flight before realizing check in time was so late, which meant I had to kill time downtown until I could check in. I stayed at the hotel on Monday night and Tuesday night, and booked an 8:30pm flight on Wednesday (test ends around 4pm-ish). I went from the test center to the airport, which is about an hour-ish public transit commute.
There is a coffee shop that is a 15 minute walk from the UIC Forum called the Coffee Alley. It's shitty, but during the 1hr lunch I walked there in order to clear my head and drink and espresso before heading back to the test center. I wanted to get away from people and use the lunch break to get a good mental reset.
In terms of food, I usually fast during the days and only eat dinner. For the bar exam I decided to fuel myself up with some food, since I knew it would assist in cognition. I had two Quest bars for breakfast and another two Quest bars for lunch. They are food that will give you energy but will not give you a crash due to them being low in carbs. They are also yummy.
In terms of bags, my administration was at the UIC Pavilion, and it is a big basketball arena. We were allowed to just sat our bags anywhere we wanted in the stands and then head down to the testing area that didn't allow bags. I assume the Forum had something else, as a coworker of mine who took it there didn't say anything about not being able to take his bag.