If you have a family, then you know how difficult it can be to balance anything with family life. Between kids’ activities, school, playtime, mealtime, bedtime, and all the other responsibilities that come with being a parent, it is hard to find any time for yourself let alone time for studying for the bar exam. What may feel like an obstacle may instead be your secret weapon!
Even if you don’t have kids, you can recruit your siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives who want to support you in your studies.
Here are some ways to get your whole family involved in your study strategy.
Ask Them To Quiz You
When I was studying for the Uniform Bar Exam this summer and raising a toddler, finding enough time to study could be a challenge. I made the most out of my time by studying during each of my son’s naps. But, sometimes, I needed to do more to stay on track with my study plan.
One night while preparing dinner, I handed my husband and son my flashcards. My husband asked me legal questions, and my son turned the cards over while I chopped vegetables for a salad. Not only was my son engaged, but I was able to do something tactile and kinesthetic while studying, which is how I personally learn best. Even better, we were able to spend time together.
Utilize your resources, and ask your family to quiz you with flashcards or practice MBE questions, or simply notes off your outline.
One of the absolute best resources I found while studying for the bar this summer was audio outlines, that is, bar exam outlines that are read aloud and recorded. I am not usually an auditory learner, but the audio outlines helped me multitask in ways I may not have been able to otherwise.
Most nights after work this summer, I put my son in his stroller, cued up audio outlines on my phone, and we went for long walks around our neighborhood. I was able to get an hour or more of study time in, while also staying active and entertaining my son. You can’t beat that!
Audio outlines were an incredible resource that allowed me to get active with my family while simultaneously studying for the bar.
Watch Lectures Together
I understand. Watching bar exam lectures together probably sounds like a boring idea at best and a really dumb idea at worst. But, hear me out.
Over the summer, my son came down with a stomach bug and couldn’t go to daycare for more than a week. While home with him, we sat on the floor playing cars, and I realized I could be watching a lecture video at the same time. I set up the video on my phone, propped up on one of my son’s toys. He sat in my lap playing with his cars while also watching an Evidence lecture with me.
It wasn’t exactly ideal. I’d much preferred to have been able to focus exclusively on the video and be able to take notes while I watched. But, I was still able to log some study time while taking care of my sick child.
Teach Them The Law
Even though he’s not a lawyer, my husband shares an interest in law with me. So, when it came time for me to study for the bar exam, he willingly let me explain to him the differences between UCC contracts and common law contracts or the differences between larceny and burglary.
Being able to teach someone helps you learn the subject matter that much better than if you just aimed to learn the material for yourself. By explaining these legal nuances to my husband, I felt much more confident in my ability to apply the legal principles in all kinds of hypothetical situations on the bar exam.
Go To Them For Stress Relief
Even if your family begs out of watching bar exam lectures with you, has no interest in learning the law, or isn’t able to quiz you, they can still be an invaluable part of your bar exam experience.
When I took the Virginia bar exam nearly ten years ago, I asked my mom to drive me and stay with me at the hotel while I took the exam. This time around, my husband and son stayed with me when I took the bar exam in New York. My husband made sure I had food waiting for me at the end of the day and prepared breakfast for me each morning.
Having my family at the bar exam helped calm me when I felt incredibly stressed. Let your family know that one of the best ways they can help you is by helping you relax. Tell them what that might mean for you. Do you need them to pull you out of your studying stupor once in a while to go for a walk? Do you need someone to reassure you that you’re capable and will someday soon be a super lawyer? Do you want them to drive you to the exam like I did?
Whatever it is, lean on your family to support you during this time. The people who love you most usually know how to help you relax the best.
The Family That Takes The Bar Together
Studying for the bar exam and maintaining your family relationships may seem impossible. Yet, there are many ways in which your family can be part of your preparation for the bar. Don’t be afraid to lean on your family for support, maybe even for help with studying. Who knows? Studying for the bar exam might be an experience that actually brings the whole family together.