Failed the Bar Exam? A Quick Guide to Making a “Plan B”!
If you failed the bar exam, you might not know where to begin. Studying for the bar exam again may seem like a monumental task. And you might not even know what you can do differently! Here, we have a quick guide to making a “Plan B.”
After you read this, you should:
- have some ideas on how to proceed
- feel more confident about your study approach
- feel better now that you have some kind of plan in mind!
Failed the Bar Exam? A Quick Guide to Making a “Plan B”!
So, you failed the bar exam and are ready to be forward-thinking! Here is what we recommend you do.
1. Set aside a time and space to examine your results.
The first step is to give yourself some space to absorb the information you have. We recommend you:
- Find space away from others (like an office, or a private room at a library).
- Have your favorite drink with you — like your favorite latte. Note that this should be nonalcoholic so you can focus!
- If you enjoy listening to music, you should have some headphones with you. If not, bring earplugs. You want to focus!
- Put away your phone and anything else that might distract you.
- Have a notepad or some looseleaf paper, and a pen on hand.
- Personalize your space however you feel comfortable. Maybe you want a snack. Maybe you want to light a candle. The idea is to make yourself comfortable.
- Lastly, make sure that you have any relevant information with you — your bar exam score report, your past bar exam study plan, your essays/PTs, etc. Ideally you should have this in hard copy form so you can avoid the distractions that might otherwise pop up on your phone or laptop.
Make sure to set aside time to do this. You do not want to feel rushed. Even 30 minutes of solid alone time will be enough to give you a good start.
2. Examine your results!
The next step is to examine your results. Where did you fall short — the MBE, MEE, or MPT? If your jurisdiction gives you your percentiles, are there any subjects you need to work on?
If you are unsure how to examine your score report, we have a guide that is applicable to most Uniform Bar Exam jurisdictions here.
3. Get honest about your study plan from last round!
The instant reaction of many students who fail the bar exam is, “I don’t know what I could have done differently!” And we assume that you worked hard and were motivated to pass. So it might seem hard to think of what you can do differently.
But we recommend that you are very honest with yourself. Maybe you did work hard but maybe it took some time to figure out what actually “worked.” Maybe you needed to break away from your commercial course schedule but didn’t realize it until halfway through bar prep. Maybe you didn’t complete all the MPTs you wanted to, because you had so much to do. There is probably something you could have done differently and you might realize it within moments of reflecting on your score report. If you are still truly stuck though, ask yourself these questions:
- Did I understand the material?
- Did I have the law memorized?
- Did I focus on the highly tested areas of law?
- Did I complete enough essays and MPTs?
- Did I use real MBE questions?
- Did I struggle with timing?
- Did I have a good study schedule?
Once you know what went wrong, it will be easier to determine what you need to do moving forward.
4. Make a bar exam study schedule.
You might have a schedule you prefer to work off of. We also have a guide on how to make a bar exam study schedule here.
Some students wonder if they should just use their bar exam study schedule from last time and repeat it. We generally do not recommend that you repeat the exact same schedule. (It didn’t work last time so why would it work this time?). However, you can tweak it. For example, start with a harder subject then focus on an easier subject and switch on and off doing that. Or time your review of the harder subjects for when you have less to do (for example, a less busy week at work!).
If you are considering one of the options below, you can hold off on this step as these options may come with a bar study calendar!
5. Consider an option to keep you accountable.
Some repeat takers truly benefit from someone to keep them accountable. Otherwise, they feel overwhelmed and do not follow the schedules they made for themselves!
We have had some extremely bright, dedicated students sign up for a course or private tutoring even though they were close to passing just because they wanted to do everything they could to ensure they would never be in this position again!
So, here are some things you may want to consider:
- A private tutor for the bar exam. We offer bar exam private tutoring and also have a guide on hiring a bar exam private tutor here. A private tutor can serve as a coach, a mentor, and keep you accountable!
- A new and different style course. We have excellent course options (both On Demand, so you can watch them when you choose, and Premium, so you can have a personalized and tailored course). You can contact us if you are interested. We provide tailored outlines, personalized essay grading by bar exam experts, and excellent instruction by bar exam experts. We offer an approach that is efficient, focused, and much different than many commercial courses. We get great results and reviews too!
- Bar exam essay feedback if you struggled with the essays or PT portion of the bar exam.
If you failed the bar exam, we hope this quick guide to making a Plan B has been helpful! We know it is a very difficult experience to go through. But it happens to so many takers. You are certainly not alone and you will surely get through this! We also find that every day typically gets “better” once you found out you failed the bar exam. So Day 1 will be difficult. And Day 2 might be difficult too. But every day is generally better than the last. And once you come up with a game plan, you will likely find yourself at a turning point — where you may actually feel positive and motivated to keep moving forward! We find that to be pretty common.
We hope you found this quick guide helpful! Good luck studying!
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