Tips for Retaking the Bar Exam If You Fail
There are few experiences more deflating than finding out, after months of studying, that you didn’t pass the bar exam. You may have already started your new career, and devoting more time to preparing for another bar exam is the last thing you want to do. But while retaking the bar exam can seem like a daunting task, with a focused plan and a little help from Quimbee
, you can clear this hurdle and pursue your path as a licensed attorney. Here are a few tips as your prepare to retake the bar exam:
1. Review your exam
You probably want nothing more than to forget about your last bar exam and just move on. But to maximize your chances of success on the next exam, you first need to know what you did wrong. Carefully go over your score report. If your jurisdiction allows, request your essays. Look over your essay and MPT scores and compare them to the grading rubric provided by your jurisdiction. The more information you have, the better. This will let you know what to focus on as you study for the next exam, allowing you to be efficient with your study time.
2. Analyze your study plan
You need to be fully honest with yourself. Did you devote as much time as you needed to studying? Were you efficient with your time? Did you use a bar prep course
, or did you try a DIY study plan? Even if you feel like you did everything right the first time, you’ll need to change something up this time around, or you’ll likely end up with the same results.
What can you do differently? Maybe you studied too deeply and not broadly enough–many examinees focus on a particular subject, or put too much weight on the MBE
and not enough on essays. Another big mistake that examinees make in their studying is not taking enough full-length practice exams. Without this experience, the actual exam might be the first time you’ll have to deal with the stamina and focus demands of the bar exam. Test day is not an ideal occasion to be experiencing anything for the first time. This is where a good bar prep course, like Quimbee’s
, comes in handy. The best bar prep courses
are designed to ensure that you spend just the right amount of time on each subject and each aspect of the exam. Also, a bar prep course should give you plenty of full-length exams, so that you know how to pace yourself on exam day.
3. Make a schedule and stick to it
Because you likely weren’t planning to have to study for the bar exam a second time, you probably have less time to devote to studying this time around. As you prepare for this exam, you’ll need to be highly efficient with your time. Set out a realistic schedule, and do not let yourself deviate from it. Most bar prep courses are designed for examinees who can devote themselves full-time to studying. If this isn’t you, you’ll need a longer amount of time to complete the course, so be sure that you’re giving yourself enough of a runway before the exam to complete a full study plan. Be aware that you’ll have to make sacrifices in other areas of your life, especially if you are also working full-time. Tell your friends that you’ll see them after the exam–for now, you need to focus.
4. Reduce stress and anxiety
Many examinees fail the bar exam not because they were unprepared, but because anxiety got the better of them on test day. One of the benefits of retaking the bar exam is that you already know what to expect from the exam experience–that alone will be helpful in reducing your anxiety going forward. If stress and anxiety are an issue for you, you’ll need to figure out how to control it. For many people, exercising every day is a healthy and effective means of controlling anxiety. And as we mentioned earlier, taking multiple practice exams under real exam conditions will give you further comfort with the test.