Your child, spouse, significant other, or best friend is studying for the bar exam. Maybe it’s their first time studying, or maybe they’re a repeat test taker. No matter the situation, studying for the bar exam can be incredibly stressful and you don’t want to add to that stress. Here are a few ideas for ways you can make your bar exam studier’s life a little easier.
Little things go a long way.
Studying for the bar can be all-consuming, to the point where your loved one may forget about things like eating or doing their laundry. Make your daughter a casserole or a lasagna she can heat up and eat for a few meals. Fill the dishwasher or do the laundry even though that’s usually your partner’s tasks. Yes, these things may seem insignificant to you, but they’ll make a big difference to your bar exam studier. You can’t help them study for the bar, but you can make sure they have a few extra moments to study and not stress about things around the house.
Be aware of their time constraints.
Your cousin Susie is getting married three weeks before the bar exam. In the Bahamas. While that might seem like a great vacation for you, it’s likely to be a no-go for your bar studier. I get it. Having your loved one so focused on the exam can be a bit of a downer. It might seem like your life is on hold during this study period and you may start to feel like your bar studier never has time to do anything fun. As tough as it is for you, try to understand how your bar studier is feeling. Think about how serious this exam is and how much pressure your loved one is likely facing as they study. Don’t add additional stress by insisting they attend Susie’s wedding, take a weekend trip, or host a party for a close friend. Once the exam is over, your bar studier will have more time and will enjoy these kinds of activities more.
But, don’t let the bar exam totally consume them.
This may seem counterintuitive after reading number 2. Yes, your loved one needs to study and you should be respectful of that. But too much studying can actually be a bad thing. While bigger events and longer trips may cause stress, encourage your bar exam studier to take the occasional break. Take your dog for a walk together every evening, meet him/her for dinner once a week, meet up for a yoga class, or catch a movie they’ve been wanting to see. These types of breaks are short enough that they won’t cause stress, but they’ll give your bar studier a chance to step away from the books and refresh.
Hold the bad news and big decisions.
This should go without saying, but try to avoid delivering any upsetting news right before the bar exam. Some things obviously can’t wait, but if this isn’t an emergency, hold off. The week before the bar exam is not the appropriate time to tell your significant other that you want to break up. Big decisions are another thing that really should wait until after the bar exam. While your loved one is studying, that needs to be their number one priority. Hold off on any major changes, like buying a house, getting a dog, or moving in together. You don’t need to add more stress to their existing stress if you can avoid it.
A little encouragement can make a big difference, especially as the bar exam approaches. It’s normal for bar takers to feel stressed and overwhelmed. As the exam approaches, you may see your loved one losing confidence or feeling anxious. While you can’t make those feelings disappear, you can help to alleviate them. Text an encouraging quote or funny meme, leave a nice note on the bathroom mirror, or mail a card. Take time to talk to your child or partner about how they’re feeling about the bar exam and try to keep them thinking positive thoughts. The more positive they are, the better they’ll do. You can help their attitude by letting them know that you support them and you believe they can ace the bar exam!
Plan a fun post-bar treat.
Studying for the bar can seem like it will never end. When it does end, your loved one is going to want to celebrate. Make plans for what you’re going to do once the bar exam is over. Maybe you’ll take that vacation you’ve been talking about or maybe you’ll have a low-key celebratory dinner. No matter what it is, start thinking about it sooner rather than later. Having post-bar plans to look forward to will help your bar exam taker stay motivated. It will act as the light at the end of the tunnel when they’re feeling discouraged and don’t think they can study any more. Plus, it will also serve as a good way to help them relax once the exam is over!
Don’t forget about the waiting game.
The exam is over, so the stress should be over, right? Wrong! While the bar exam itself is stressful, so is the waiting period. It takes time for the results to come in, and your bar exam taker isn’t going to stop stressing until they know if they passed. You can help by taking their mind off the exam and the impending results. Plan some fun day trips to towns you’ve never visited. catch up with family and friends, or encourage them to pick up their old hobbies, which likely fell by the wayside during the study period. The trick to keeping their mind off the bar exam is to keep them busy. You can also help by steering conversations away from the topic of the bar exam. Well-meaning family and friends will want to know how the exam went, and they’ll probably have some questions. Your bar exam taker may not mind talking about the exam, but if these conversations stress them out, jump in and try to change the subject.
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Did you find this post helpful? Check out some other great articles:
- How Can Parents Help Their Student Who Failed the Bar Exam
- Are You Living With a Bar Exam Studier? Here’s How to Cope
- Tips for the Significant Other – Don’t Take it Personally
- How Can You Support Your Bar Studier?
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