I Can’t Pass The New York Bar Exam! What Should I Do?
I Can’t Pass The New York Bar Exam! What Should I Do?: Have you sat for the New York Bar exam already only to find out you did not pass the exam? Do you feel that you can’t pass the New York bar exam? This is an incredibly stressful and frustrating feeling, but know that you are not the only one who is feeling this way. Below we provide you with some advice on studying for the bar exam again.
I Can’t Pass The New York Bar Exam! What Should I Do?
1. Review your score report.
New York is a Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) jurisdiction. In order to pass, examinees need a minimum scaled score of 266. The MBE is worth 50%, the MEE is worth 30% and the MPTs are worth 20%. If you were to perform equally on all sections of the exam, this would mean obtaining a scaled score of 133 on the MBE and a 133 on the written portion of the exam (MEE & MPT). See how far away you were on each section from a scaled score of 133. When reviewing your score report, see whether you did better on the multiple choice, essays or MPT. This will help you decide how to develop your study strategy. To learn more about your score, take a look at our post on how to review your UBE score report.
When you receive your score report, you will see a section that breaks down your performance on the MBE by subject. The percentiles tell you how many examinees you did better than nationally for each MBE subject. For example, if your percentile for Civil Procedure is 75, it means that you scored better than 75% of examinees nationwide on the 25 graded Civil Procedure MBE questions. But these percentiles don’t tell you are your raw scores (i.e., how many of the civil procedure questions you answered correctly). Also pay close attention to your lowest percentiles – these were your weakest subjects on the MBE. It means that you will want to spend extra time reviewing the black letter law for these subjects and really slow down when you answer multiple choice questions in these areas.
2. Write to the New York State Board of Law Examiners to order your answers to the essays and MPT.
If you can’t pass the New York bar exam, you need to find out why! Essays and MPTs in New York are graded on a scale of 20-80. Fifty is the average score. To see how close you were to passing a particular MEE or MPT, see how far away you were from a scaled score of 50. However, you don’t have to pass every essay with a scaled score of 50 to pass the section. It is a good idea to add up the scaled scores for every essay and divide by six – this will give you your average scaled score for all of your essays. If it’s 50 or more, you passed this section.
With respect to the MPT, add up your scaled scores for the MPTs and divide by two – this will give you your average scaled score for all of your MPTs. If it’s 50 or more, you passed this section.
If you scored below 50 on either section, it is a good idea to order your answers from the New York State Board of Law Examiners. Examinees have 60 days from the time they receive their letter detailing their results to order the following information: 1) Copies of your MEE & MPT Answers ($40); 2) Copies of MEE Questions & Synopsis of MPTs ($15); and 3) Selected Candidate Answers ($15). To request one or more items, you must make a written request to the New York State Board of Law Examiners (Corporate Plaza – Building 3, 254 Washington Avenue Extension, Albany, NY 12203). The fees for the requested item(s) must be submitted using a certified check or money order.
After you order your answers, compare them with the enclosed Bar Examiners’ Analyses. Did you struggle with organization? While writing, did you forget the black letter law? Did you forget to discuss issues? Was timing an issue? Did you waste time writing lengthy rule statements? It is equally important to write out your strengths (e.g., following IRAC). This will help you to decide what your next step should be.
Note: You cannot appeal your New York bar exam score. New York does not regrade exams. Students scoring between 262 and 265 are automatically regraded prior to results being released. So even if you come close to passing, an appeal is not an option according to the New York rules.
3. Critically evaluate how you studied for the exam.
If you can’t pass the New York bar exam, your study approach could be to blame. Therefore, the only way to pass the New York bar exam is by changing how you study for it. However, you don’t want to make arbitrary changes. Before you decide whether to self-study, sign up for a bar prep course, look for tutoring, or try different materials ask yourself some questions. Some questions to ask, include:
- Did you study effectively and productively?
- Was your bar prep course helpful in preparing you for both the MBE and written portion of the exam?
- Did you memorize the black letter law for the most highly tested issues?
- Were timed exams part of your studying?
- Did you practice using real MBE questions and real essay questions?
See our post for a thorough list of questions to ask yourself. You know these answers better than anyone else and it will help you determine why you didn’t pass the bar exam.
4. Consider what bar prep options are available to you for the next exam.
Because New York is a UBE jurisdiction, we recommend you check out these free and very informative blog posts on the Uniform Bar Exam.
Also, check out our highly regarded Uniform Bar Exam course if you are interested in a full-service approach to the uniform bar exam. This course fills up fast so we recommend early application!
If you are struggling with the MEE, it is a good idea to make sure you have an overview of the highly tested issues on the MEE. One way to do this is by signing up for online or in-person in-depth one-week MEE course or, at the very least, our MEE seminar. If you are looking for a useful last-minute overview of the highly tested issues on the MEE, as well as an efficient approach to the MEE, it is a great resource to consider. Further, if you are looking for an overview of the highly tested topics on the MEE, check out our MEE one-sheets. These give you an overview of the highly tested areas of the MEE in one sheet, front and back. We sell them in our online store.
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