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Looming bar exam

DH has been studying nonstop since December for the bar exam next week. He's super stressed out and getting depressed, and I can't think of anything I can do to cheer him up. I took the bar exam 8 years ago and remember there being some terribly stressful times, but I don't remember feeling this defeated in the days before. We have a trip planned for next week to help him decompress. But, I know he's going to be frusterated and we won't know the outcome of the test until May. Of course, it probably doesn't help that he's also recently (as of December) unemployed with lots of inverviews and no offers.

Any ideas, thoughts, suggestions on ways to make this next week go a little easier for him?

"There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." -Friedrich Nietzsche, "On Reading and Writing"

Re: Looming bar exam

  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
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    No suggestions, but sending you positive vibes for him!
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • AlexisA01AlexisA01 Dubai, my royal playground. member
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    Just do the best you can! Sending him luck and wishes.

    Live fast, die young. Bad Girls do it well. Suki Zuki.

  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Sending him good luck and happy thoughts.

    I know this might seem unreasonable to him, but has he literally been doing nothing other than studying?  Would he be okay with going out to a small date (like just dinner out of the house) or on a short hour's walk to just talk and decompress that way a little?  Every impulse might be to study as long and hard as he can, but unless he takes small breaks here and there he is going to burn out and overly stress himself out.  Bonus: he'll retain more after he takes breaks. 

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    ashley8918
  • I took my bar in 2013 and I was exactly like your husband (depressed, frustrated, knew I wouldn't pass, etc) and I wish I had advice for you!  I had to apologize to my close friends and family for being a complete gargoyle for two months.  Nothing made me feel better except (1) time and (2) finding out I'd passed.

    The best of luck to him!


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  • bethsmilesbethsmiles Denver, CO member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I second the suggestion for breaks! There comes a point where even though you are studying you aren't retaining anything anymore. Is there a fun activity you could do together to let his brain take a break for an hour or two?


  • FutureMrsN3312FutureMrsN3312 Dirty Jersey member
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    Sex? Gym? Date night?  or whatever else will get him to relax a little.

    Best of luck!
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  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer

    I took the bar in July and was like your husband.  I remember one time my mom called to ask how I was, and I literally just burst into tears. 

    I'm sorry - I'm thinking of him and sending good vibes your way!  As the Barbri property and commercial transactions professor would say, "this, too, shall pass, and so will [he]"

  • FI just took a qualifying exam for his PhD in December... He was feeling pretty similar to what you're describing. I agree with PPs that small distractions are good, but I always knew that his mind was on that exam anyway! A trip after the exam sounds perfect.

    Idk if your H is like my FI but he HATED when people said "You're going to do great! What are you so worried about?" It put a ton of pressure on him and made him think about that "well, what if I DON'T do great, what will they think?" Unfortunately that doesn't leave a ton of options, but I usually said things like "you've been working so hard" and other positive things that didn't really imply he was going to pass with flying colors. 

    Good luck to him, sending positive thoughts!!
    JCbride2015ashley8918
  • kikilamp said:
    FI just took a qualifying exam for his PhD in December... He was feeling pretty similar to what you're describing. I agree with PPs that small distractions are good, but I always knew that his mind was on that exam anyway! A trip after the exam sounds perfect.

    Idk if your H is like my FI but he HATED when people said "You're going to do great! What are you so worried about?" It put a ton of pressure on him and made him think about that "well, what if I DON'T do great, what will they think?" Unfortunately that doesn't leave a ton of options, but I usually said things like "you've been working so hard" and other positive things that didn't really imply he was going to pass with flying colors. 

    Good luck to him, sending positive thoughts!!

    Ahhh, yes!  That was my least favorite thing.  My mom said that all the time -- "Don't worry, honey, you're going to do great!  I know you'll pass!"  I know she was trying to be supportive and I appreciated it, but the #1 thing I wanted to hear was -- hope you'll do great but if you don't, I promise I won't think you're a waste of space moron, and I will love you anyway.

    I didn't want to hear that people expected me to pass, because I didn't expect me to pass!!!  What if everyone thought I'd pass and I didn't???  Horrifying.  End of the world.

    (Man, I'm glad I'm done being in that state of mind!)


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    PamBeesly524
  • I feel for both of you. I am taking it next week too and have been studying since November (started early b/c I also work). I took a different state's bar a year and a half ago and now I have to take it again because my boss wants me admitted in a bordering state. My poor fiance had to put up with me last time and now he's doing it again. It has been hard on both of us. I am burnt out and just trying to get through the next week. I know the studying makes me cranky/stressed and it rubs off on him and makes him stressed as well. 

    Studying full-time just sucks the life out of me and I have no mental or physical energy to do any housework, cook, or run errands. He has been so great trying to pick up the slack for me these past couple weeks, but honestly the man cannot cook to save his life and I think I've gained 5 pounds from eating nothing but take out. I would say just do your best to pick up the slack for him and make life as easy as possible for him. Try not to burden him with anything beyond studying because at this point that is probably all he can handle. Keep in mind it will all be over soon and try to remind him of that when he's feeling down. I have been having moments of panic where I think I am going to fail and when that happens it helps to just have him there to listen and hold me until the panic subsides a bit. 

    Try to convince him to get out of the house. I should take my own advice b/c I have not gone out in nearly 2 weeks aside from the library, but it honestly does a world of good. Going out to a movie or dinner or just ice cream can help. 

    Also, the last thing I feel like doing right now is having sex, but I have given in to fiance's advances a few times in the past couple weeks and it really is a stress reducer. 

    Good luck to him!!! 
  • Thanks guys!  I never really considered the "You'll pass and get a job, and life will be awesome soon!" approach as a bad thing. But, you are right, he doesn't need that extra pressure. I'm worried what will happen if he fails, but that's a road we'll cross if we get to it. No matter what, we'll make do and he has another field he can go back into. Right now, his attitude sucks, and I'm trying to be supportive and not kill him. I keep pressuring him to work out, but he just yells that he doesn't have time. He runs like I swim, it's medatative for him! But he hasn't run more than once in the past two weeks. I really wish I could talk him into it. I was going to run at the treadmill at work before heading home, but maybe I'll just head home, and convince him to go to the gym with me.

    "There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." -Friedrich Nietzsche, "On Reading and Writing"
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  • Is this his first time taking it the exam? I ask because February is usually for re-takers, but not always. If this is his second time I imagine it is even more stressful and depressing. 

    Tell him he's going to be fine and make his days as easy and distraction free as possible. I know that it seems crazy to other posters who haven't taken the bar, but yes, studying is basically all you do in the last two weeks or so of bar study. 

    I lived by myself when I took the bar, but if I hadn't, something that would have been helpful for my SO to do would be to fix meals and straighten up around the house so that I could be in a nice environment. 
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  • kikilamp said:
    FI just took a qualifying exam for his PhD in December... He was feeling pretty similar to what you're describing. I agree with PPs that small distractions are good, but I always knew that his mind was on that exam anyway! A trip after the exam sounds perfect.

    Idk if your H is like my FI but he HATED when people said "You're going to do great! What are you so worried about?" It put a ton of pressure on him and made him think about that "well, what if I DON'T do great, what will they think?" Unfortunately that doesn't leave a ton of options, but I usually said things like "you've been working so hard" and other positive things that didn't really imply he was going to pass with flying colors. 

    Good luck to him, sending positive thoughts!!

    Ahhh, yes!  That was my least favorite thing.  My mom said that all the time -- "Don't worry, honey, you're going to do great!  I know you'll pass!"  I know she was trying to be supportive and I appreciated it, but the #1 thing I wanted to hear was -- hope you'll do great but if you don't, I promise I won't think you're a waste of space moron, and I will love you anyway.

    I didn't want to hear that people expected me to pass, because I didn't expect me to pass!!!  What if everyone thought I'd pass and I didn't???  Horrifying.  End of the world.

    (Man, I'm glad I'm done being in that state of mind!)


    100% agreed. My mom did the same thing, and it was honestly more frustrating to hear that "Even if you don't pass, everything will be ok."

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  • Is this his first time taking it the exam? I ask because February is usually for re-takers, but not always. If this is his second time I imagine it is even more stressful and depressing. 

    Tell him he's going to be fine and make his days as easy and distraction free as possible. I know that it seems crazy to other posters who haven't taken the bar, but yes, studying is basically all you do in the last two weeks or so of bar study. 

    I lived by myself when I took the bar, but if I hadn't, something that would have been helpful for my SO to do would be to fix meals and straighten up around the house so that I could be in a nice environment. 

    Yes, it's his first time taking the bar. He worked full time during the day and went to law school at night, so he finished in 3.5 years. He was working at an awesome firm for the past year, but they had a few partners leave and take some big clients with them. So, his specialty, tech patent law, is being downsized for more focus on biochem patent law. Which is why they let him go.
    "There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." -Friedrich Nietzsche, "On Reading and Writing"
  • Is this his first time taking it the exam? I ask because February is usually for re-takers, but not always. If this is his second time I imagine it is even more stressful and depressing. 

    Tell him he's going to be fine and make his days as easy and distraction free as possible. I know that it seems crazy to other posters who haven't taken the bar, but yes, studying is basically all you do in the last two weeks or so of bar study. 

    I lived by myself when I took the bar, but if I hadn't, something that would have been helpful for my SO to do would be to fix meals and straighten up around the house so that I could be in a nice environment. 

    Yes, it's his first time taking the bar. He worked full time during the day and went to law school at night, so he finished in 3.5 years. He was working at an awesome firm for the past year, but they had a few partners leave and take some big clients with them. So, his specialty, tech patent law, is being downsized for more focus on biochem patent law. Which is why they let him go.
    Well that's pretty cool, not the fact that his law firm downsized, but the fact that he has work experience and a specialty already. I graduated law school in 2010, which was a bad time for law firms and the law in general with tons of recently downsized firms not hiring and the public interest market being totally saturated. It's scary. But I would think someone with that kind of resume will find something great. I agree it's probably overwhelming for him to think about the job thing right now. 

    I remember a young lawyer told me while I was studying, "It seems impossible right now, but you are going to pass the bar. It's actually not as hard as you think it is and you are probably studying a lot harder than you need to. But you won't believe that is true until you pass." I found that to be very true. While I was studying, and while waiting for the results, I just kept thinking I'd never failed at anything in my life, and what if this is the first thing I failed? 
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  • I remember a young lawyer told me while I was studying, "It seems impossible right now, but you are going to pass the bar. It's actually not as hard as you think it is and you are probably studying a lot harder than you need to. But you won't believe that is true until you pass." I found that to be very true. While I was studying, and while waiting for the results, I just kept thinking I'd never failed at anything in my life, and what if this is the first thing I failed? 
    This is very true. You feel SO overwhelmed and wonder how you'll ever know all of this, and then you pass it and realize you didn't actually need to know ALL the things. Law students are often perfectionists and it feels scary to not know it all, but nobody who takes the bar exam does. 

    Thank you for this reminder, I needed it right now (I just tried to teach myself the rule against perpetuities for the 100th time...F it, moving on now). 


  • I remember a young lawyer told me while I was studying, "It seems impossible right now, but you are going to pass the bar. It's actually not as hard as you think it is and you are probably studying a lot harder than you need to. But you won't believe that is true until you pass." I found that to be very true. While I was studying, and while waiting for the results, I just kept thinking I'd never failed at anything in my life, and what if this is the first thing I failed? 
    This is very true. You feel SO overwhelmed and wonder how you'll ever know all of this, and then you pass it and realize you didn't actually need to know ALL the things. Law students are often perfectionists and it feels scary to not know it all, but nobody who takes the bar exam does. 

    Thank you for this reminder, I needed it right now (I just tried to teach myself the rule against perpetuities for the 100th time...F it, moving on now). 
    Lol. A lot of states have modified RAP these days. 

    You ultimately do not need to know all the things, just enough to pass. Good common sense also gets you pretty far. 
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  • JCbride2015JCbride2015 Dirty Jerz member
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    I just took the bar in the July cycle (two bars the same week... that was "fun") and I totally understand how your H is feeling right now.  I absolutely agree that "you'll do great!" just raises expectations and can actually be stressful to hear.

    And yeah, a date night is probably unreasonable right now.  But the best thing Fi did was make me eat and sleep.  And keep the house reasonably straightened up so I just had fewer things to worry about.

    From a practical standpoint, maybe you can run some flash cards with him or quiz him on MBE questions.  Ask him to explain rules and concepts to you.  That was helpful to me right before the bar.

    Does he have to travel for the exam or stay in a hotel?  Is there anything you can do to make the actual logistics of the exam go more smoothly and take some of that worry off his plate?
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  • melbensomelbenso Hoth, apparently member
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    I took the bar almost 10 years ago and to this day it still counts as the three most stressful days of my life. I will never put myself through it again. Planning a wedding was a vacation by comparison. My best advice is to make sure he takes breaks from studying and gets rest. Your brain can only do so much. And triage information. It isn't possible to know the answer to every single potential question. He should focus most of his energy on the most commonly tested subjects. Get that down and it's enough to pass even if you miss some of the other stuff. The bar is about knowing the minimum. No one ever asks your bar exam score. As long as you pass, you can do so by one point and be fine. it's all about perspective.
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  • I'll try and gracefully remind him of all these things. He did well in law school, he went to a high ranked school, he's a smart guy. He's just terrible and multiple choice exams. So, we'll see.

    Taking DH to the Washington Capitals game tonight. Something fun before the next few days of suck.

     

    "There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." -Friedrich Nietzsche, "On Reading and Writing"
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