If you are pregnant and studying for the bar exam, I am sure I do not have to be the first one to tell you it is challenging to do both! However, the good news is, it is definitely possible! We have had many pregnant students pass the bar exam.
In this post, we give you tips for studying for the bar exam while pregnant. You are also welcome to share your own tips in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
Tips for Studying for the Bar Exam while Pregnant
1.Consider a course that has an online option.
If you are nauseous or cannot stand the smell of perfume, or are generally uncomfortable sitting for long periods of time, consider attending lectures online. That way, you can get up and walk around. You can also dress more comfortably and not worry so much about being taken aback by the smells of powerful perfume or someone’s lunch. If you do not want to attend all of your classes online, see if your bar review course has the option to attend classes online for days when you are not feeling well.
2. Try wearing compression stockings.
If you tend to have poor circulation during your pregnancy, or if you get swollen legs, charlie horses, or other uncomfortable symptoms, buy compression stockings to wear while you study. Studying can lead to a lot of sitting around so even if you are well-intentioned and plan on moving around, it is still a good idea to wear compression stockings to keep you comfortable. I recommend the thigh high compression stockings, rather than the ones that go up to your calves. You may find it helpful to wear compression stockings all day.
You can also keep your feet elevated while you study and get up and walk around frequently if swelling becomes a problem.
3. Listen to your body.
This is an especially important tip if you are studying for the bar exam while pregnant! You may be tempted to study nonstop or work exactly the same as you did prior to being pregnant. But pregnancy changes things!
Pregnancy brings all kinds of symptoms – fatigue, nausea, heartburn. If you need to take a nap, move around, or eat some carbs to help combat nausea, make sure to do so! A lot of students find it helpful to carry water with them everywhere as this helps combat fatigue, dehydration, and a host of other problems.
While pregnancy can bring extra stress while studying, it can also put things in perspective. The bar exam is just a test! And your physical and mental health take priority when you study.
4. Work at your best (least fatigued) time.
While this is a good tip for everyone, it is especially good for pregnant women. Many pregnant women, particularly in their first and third trimester, feel extremely fatigued. Sometimes it is predictable and tends to strike, say, in the afternoon. Try to do your hardest work at your best time. So if MBE questions are difficult for you, maybe try tackling them right when you get up and save something “easier” for times when you feel more tired. (Or just take a break if you really cannot concentrate!)
5. Make a study schedule – and include breaks!
Breaks should include naps, exercise, and healthy snacks! After all, not only are you trying to pass the bar exam but you are also growing a baby! Sleep, exercise, and healthy snacks are good for both you and the baby.
A lot of students find it helpful to also include “fun” breaks into their study schedule — for example, browsing nursery ideas on Pinterest, picking out maternity clothes, or packing a hospital bag. Incorporating these breaks as a “reward” for your studying will motivate you to stay focused during your study time.
6. Make sure to “train” for the bar exam day.
Between fatigue, nausea, heartburn, and the need to constantly use the restroom, sitting through two days of testing can be especially daunting for pregnant women! Most students find it helpful to “train” for the testing day. This means, you should incorporate at least a few three-hour exams into your study schedule, especially as the bar exam nears. You may find you need to drink significantly less (or more!) water before the test, or that you should take something to relieve heartburn, or that you need to have several snacks planned! The best way to figure out what you need ahead of time is to practice!
7. Come up with a day-of plan.
Because you are pregnant, you will want to make sure you have whatever you need with you. For example, you may want to pack a special pillow to make it comfortable to sleep before the bar exam. Or you may want to pack medication for nausea (or tea, peppermint, or whatever helps you!) or specific foods.
Since eating often is important, it is also a good idea to plan out what you will have for breakfast as well as lunch. Bring extra snacks for when hunger strikes!
If you are getting close to having a child on the bar exam day, you should also make sure you have a Plan B in case you begin to have signs of the baby nearing! For example, is there a hospital nearby? Who would drive you? Having a plan of what to do will help you feel more confident and comfortable as the bar exam nears.
Good luck to all of you who are studying for the bar exam while pregnant! We’d love to hear any suggestions or ideas in the comments below!
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