5 Ways You Can Help Your Partner Pass The Bar Exam
Graduating from law school and taking the bar exam is a rigorous process. It is one in which partners, friends, and family may often feel relegated to the sidelines. As a result, relationships may suffer. But partners can provide unparalleled and crucial support for those studying for the bar exam. If you’re a partner looking for ways to help your significant other pass the bar exam, keep reading!
5 Ways You Can Help Your Partner Pass The Bar Exam
1. Communicate expectations and create a public study calendar.
It is important for a partner to try to understand what is being asked of their significant other who is studying for the bar exam in order to best support them. Take time to discuss what is being asked of the bar examinee and how they plan to study for the exam. Ask for details about the bar prep course they are taking and samples of their study schedule.
We suggest you create a shared calendar or post the study schedule in a visible spot so that everyone is clear on when the bar examinee plans to study and when they may be free for other things, like spending time together. In this way, both partners are engaged and clear on their expectations from each other during this time and become comfortable with their changing roles.
Get ahead of the toll that bar exam stress can take on your relationship with open communication!
2. Help With Household Duties
When your partner is studying for the bar exam, household duties may fall to the wayside. They may not have the time and/or energy to cook and clean. While you might not be able to help them actually study, instead help them by going to the supermarket and preparing healthy, nutritious snacks and meals. If you’re going to be out of town or simply do not plan to be around all day, do them the favor of preparing and freezing meals. I know from personal experience that this can be a huge help! Having a partner assist with meal prep also has the added benefit of reducing costs for those studying on a tight budget (which is almost everyone!) and saves them the time that they could otherwise use to study!
3. Plan Dates Early
Students who are studying for the bar exam tend to operate from a relatively constant level of stress and anxiety. It doesn’t mean that spending meaningful time with your partner and going on dates needs to go out the window. Instead, we suggest you plan those dates well in advance. This can mean planning weekends or date nights around your partner’s study plan so everyone is aware of the time that’s designated to spending quality time together (and no studying allowed). Dates are also a great and welcomed study break for the test taker.
Bonus tip: to make everyone’s life easier, plan in time together for things you’d be doing anyways like eating and exercising. Nonetheless, the idea of taking time to meet these needs can still be stressful. By specifically identifying at what point of the day these events will take place, those who are studying for the bar can be more present and plan their studies accordingly. In this way, partners can reduce stress for their bar studying companions.
4. Help Them Maintain Boundaries
At this point, you may have begun to understand that time is of the essence when it comes to studying for and passing the bar exam. This leads to stress in students studying for the bar exam because they want to pass, but they also want to see their friends and family. Help your partner study for the bar exam by assisting them in maintaining healthy boundaries and limiting distractions.
Sometimes friends or family may not understand what a bar examinee is going through and how much work they need to put in. As a February bar exam taker, my family was quite adamant I would be present for the holidays. However, spending each holiday with them would have wreaked havoc on my study plans and ultimately, my mental health. My partner saw how the guilt of not seeing my family for New Years, both imposed by my parents and myself, was preventing me from saying “no.” It was at this point they calmly picked up the phone and told my parents I would, unfortunately, not being able to make it.
It was a very simple gesture, but one I was extremely grateful for. In this way, my parents understood the severity of the situation and I was relieved. Oftentimes, partners have a much better understanding of what is being required of students studying for the bar exam because they are right there with them; from their first sip of morning coffee to the moment they pass out at night!
Check out other ways to support a family member through this process. If you are a parent, you can click here to find out how ways to help your child if they recently learned they failed the bar exam.
5. Test Them Early & Often!
Partners may not have a clue what an MBE question is, let alone what in the world Civil Procedure is about. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help your partner study for the bar exam. You won’t need to know any of the substantive legal information to help someone go over flashcards and asking them to reiterate what they learned throughout the day. This gives you the opportunity to be engaged and allows them to process and further their understanding of new material.
This can also be done anywhere, whether it’s over a morning coffee or while riding the train. Often times students feel guilty for engaging in necessary social activities. Partners can help alleviate feelings of guilt by giving them the gift of a 5-minute index card review. It’s a win-win because you are able to spend this time together and they won’t have to feel guilty for not being productive. When they get their passing scores back, everyone can be jumping for joy!
Good luck helping your partner pass the bar exam. Take pride in helping them succeed. Click here for tips on how to help your partner study for the bar exam if they are retaking it.
We look forward to congratulating you both.
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