I’ve jumped the last major hurdle in my foreseeable educational career – the Bar.
During law school, my bar skills teacher provided me with this message to forward to all my friends and family about the process and stresses of studying for the bar.
Handout for Significant Others*
If you know someone who will soon be taking the bar exam, this document is for you. This document has been created by two experts on passing the bar exam to help you understand why bar exams are hard (even for students who did well in law school), what is involved in passing the bar exam, and what you can do to help.
Significant others can either be a source of help for passing the bar or can create a risk that someone won’t pass the bar. We created this handout to help you be in the former category and help the bar taker in your life avoid people in the second category.
Why bar exams are hard:
- They test some subjects students didn’t learn in law school.
- They test many of the subjects students learned during law school, but unlike law school exams, bar exams test all the subjects at the same time.
- Their formats are different from law school exam formats.
- They require students to memorize thousands of pieces of information.
- They are necessary for getting a license to practice law and have a reputation for being difficult—facts that put enormous pressure on bar takers.
What’s involved in passing the bar exam:
- Studying at least 600 hours.
- Attending dozens of lectures.
- Writing dozens and dozens of practice essay answers.
- Memorizing thousands of pieces of information.
- Using analytical skills that are difficult to master.
- Managing time to complete all these tasks while making sure to get sufficient sleep, exercise, and nutrition.
- Managing stress so that it doesn’t interfere with exam preparation or performance.
What you can do to help a bar taker pass the bar exam:
- Understand the bar review process.
- Avoid making demands on the bar taker during the preparation and exam process.
- Avoid major conflicts and confrontations with the bar taker.
- Be patient and sympathetic if the bar taker seems tense or anxious.
- Be a source of support if the bar taker needs your support.
- Help the bar taker practice recalling the law he or she needs to know by testing the bar taker’s memorization.
- Run interference with people who might make demands on the bar taker’s time and attention.
- Take on day-to-day tasks for the bar taker, such as doing laundry, cooking, and cleaning.
Midway through my studies, I was frustrated, stressed, and feeling I couldn’t get it all finished. Fortunately Noah, in her infinite wisdom, decided to hold a project planning session with me at her office where we brainstormed an attack plan.
Here is the schedule we worked out:
M – F
6:30 – 7:00 Wake-up/Get Ready
7:00 – 8:00 Study
8:00 – 6:00 Work
6:00 – 6:30 Dinner
6:30 – 9:30 Study
Plus, 10 – 12 hours days on the weekends.
That weekend we went to Costco and picked up a host of quick to prepare meals (frozen pizza, cliff bars, yakisoba) and I got to work. This pace redoubled during the last week of studies which I took off of work.
The bar itself was a surreal experience. Imagine 400+ people in a convention hall in various levels of freaking out for 3 days.
My only respite was crash in the AirBnb I rented for the week each night and try to recover for the next day.
So, that is where I’ve been hiding for the last 3 months, but I’ve survived and looking forward to a bright new spring.Time to go flying!