When I was studying for the bar exam, I had a few sets of friends who were part of a couple studying for the bar exam at the same time. I remember listening to folks talk about how challenging it is when two people are going through this experience together. Is this you? If so, I have some suggestions about how to handle the final weeks of bar prep together.
If you are studying together, evaluate whether or not this is working for you.
My husband and I both work from home primarily, although we have separate work spaces. If we didn’t have separate work spaces, we would constantly be bothering each other (or at least I would be constantly bugging him). Are you finding that you and your significant other are distracting each other from quality studying? If so, then perhaps you want to try studying in different locations, so you can get the most out of your study time.
Is your home a no-studying zone?
I have written a lot about the importance of taking breaks during your bar preparation and even taking evenings off to recover from studying all day (unlike some folks out there, I don’t think studying until 11 p.m. each night is a good idea at all). Perhaps you can create a rule that home is a no-studying zone. That way when you get home from your study days, you can focus on something other than the bar, like a good TV show, a yummy home-cooked meal, or a long walk after dinner. That can help you both decompress and still enjoy some downtime together.
Schedule fun study break activities.
When I was studying for the bar exam, it was summer in San Francisco. Although it was terribly cold most of the time, the City had a number of street fairs throughout the summer. My husband and I tried to go these fairs on the weekends, to walk around, eat good grub, and just get out of the house. Having something to do on the days you don’t study can help clear your head and give you space to decompress. It can also give you something else to talk about when you are together!
Have compassion for each other.
The bar exam is a really hard thing to live through. Most of us who have lived through it were not at our best while studying or taking the exam. It is likely that you and your significant other are also not at your best. This may cause an increase in arguments, shorter fuses, or even inconsiderate behavior. Instead of jumping down each other’s throats when things happen, try to have compassion for what each of you is going through. This too shall pass and you will both return to normal after the exam is done.
Tap your entire support network.
For many of us, our significant others are our main source of emotional support. But if your significant other is going through his/her own stressful situations during bar exam prep, it is unlikely he/she will be able to be there for you as much as you would like. So you may want to tap your larger support network of friends and family when needed. Love and support can come from many places.
If needed, give each other some space.
It is important to keep reminding yourself that this is just a two-month experience and that your relationship (if it is a good one) is more important than this test. So give yourself a little space if needed, in order to protect the relationship you love and have it waiting for you when you are done with this test. It may not be easy to give each other some space, but sometimes space is just what is needed to remember why you are together in the first place. This may mean hanging out just on the weekends or a couple times a week instead of every night. It may mean that you don’t study together. Whatever you need, talk about it and figure it out.
You and your loved one can both find bar exam success! Just be kind to each other and support each other as best as you can.
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Did you find this post helpful? Check out some of our other articles for more great study tips!
- Tips for the Bar Exam Significant Other: “Don’t Take it Personally”
- Bar Exam Tips: If you Get Sick During Bar Prep
- Bar Study Tips: Sleep, Sleep, and More Sleep
- Working AND Studying? Tips for Surviving Bar Exam Prep!