I Failed The Iowa Bar Exam. What Should I Do?
Let’s say it is the worst-case scenario: You’ve received your bar exam results only to learn that you’ve failed the Iowa Bar Exam. This is an incredibly disappointing moment. You may not know how to share this news with family and friends or how to proceed next. Below we provide you with some advice on the process of having to study and sit for the bar exam again.
Update: If you failed the Iowa Bar Exam, check out this new, excellent, and free guide on what to do if you failed the Uniform Bar Exam.
I Failed The Iowa Bar Exam. What Should I Do?
1. Carefully review your score report.
The minimum passing scaled score on the Iowa Bar Exam is 266 (out of a possible 400 points). Your overall score breaks down as follows: the MBE is worth 50%, the essays are worth 30% and the MPT is worth 20%. Iowa is a Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) jurisdiction.
To see what your score report means, check out this post called “What does my Uniform Bar Exam Score Report mean?” When looking at your score report, analyze what area you fell short on – the MBE, the MEE, the MPTs, or some combination of them. This will help you decide where you need to change your study strategy.
2. If possible, order your answers to the essays and MPT.
It is unclear on their website if Iowa allows examinees to order their essay and MPT answers after adopting the UBE last year. To determine your approach to upcoming exam, it is necessary to figure out missed out on points on the last exam. Therefore, if possible, we recommend ordering your answers to the essays and MPT. (If you are permitted to do this, instructions on how to request your written answers will likely be with your score breakdown that is mailed the day results are released.)
While no one wants to relive his or her mistakes, this is an invaluable step if you failed the Iowa bar exam. You can increase your essay score with some tweaks in organization. You might learn that you missed out on points because you neglected to discuss issues that you didn’t consider important. Or you might learn that timing was your problem. Regardless, knowing your strengths and weaknesses will help you to decide what your next step should be.
3. Assess how you studied to determine why you did not pass the Iowa bar exam.
Figuring out why you failed the Iowa bar exam is not something you want to do right after receiving your score report. Take some time for yourself and when you are ready, sit down and critically evaluate how you prepared for the exam. You want to ask your self a number of questions, including:
- Did you study effectively and productively?
- Was your bar prep course (if you used one) helpful in preparing you for both the MBE and written portion of the exam?
- Did you practice using real MBE questions and real essay questions?
- How many timed exams did you take?
- Did you memorize the black letter law for the most highly tested issues?
Please check out our post for a comprehensive list of questions to ask yourself. No one knows the answers to these questions better than you do. It is an important step in figuring out your approach to the next exam.
4. Consider what bar prep options are available to you for the upcoming exam.
Look into resources that will help you pass the Uniform Bar Exam. If you are looking for a change from your commercial course, you are in luck! (In fact, we truly do not recommend you take your commercial course twice . . .). You need to do something different if you want to pass.
Here are some resources worth checking out. We have listed them in order of what you need help with. Our resources are extremely high quality and tailored to what is tested!
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