I Failed the Bar Exam with Barbri. What Should I Do?
With bar exam results coming out across the country, one of the questions we get the most often is from bar takers who took Barbri, failed the exam, and are trying to figure out what to do next. So, if you failed the bar exam with Barbri, or really any commercial course, here are some steps moving forward!
I Failed the Bar Exam with Barbri. What Should I Do?
1. Do not take your commercial course twice!
First and foremost, assuming you actually completed your commercial course, we generally recommend you don’t take it twice. It’s silly to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. So, the first step in the right direction is to commit to doing a different program. If you want more information on this step, and all of the reasons you shouldn’t take the same course again, click here.
Note: if you did not really “take” your commercial course (that is, if you signed up but did not actually study!) then this does not apply. This step only applies if you committed to your course and it did not work for you.
2. Analyze your score report.
Next, you should spend some time analyzing your score report. Are you in a jurisdiction that requires a combined overall passing score? Or are you in a jurisdiction where your MBE score counts as 50% of your total score? You should figure out where you are weakest at—did you fall short with the multiple-choice, or were your essays rough? Is your MPT score low? (If you are in a Uniform Bar Exam state and want help analyzing your score report, see this post.)
You should also consider how far away you were from passing. If you failed by only 5 points, for example, you need a little less work than if you failed by, say, 40 points. Some students only “tweak” their approach when they are, say, 50 or 60 points away, when really they need a completely new approach.
Analyzing your score report can help better guide you with how to improve for the next exam. Don’t make the mistake of just diving into following a schedule blindly. You should understand where you went wrong and put together a plan to fix those issues.
3. Request your essays.
The next step you should take is to request your essays or make an appointment to review them. (This is assuming you are in a jurisdiction that allows you to do so.) This is a crucial step. Being able to look at your essays and MPTs will show you where you need some improvement. There may be some obvious issues like you ran out of time and didn’t get to a question. Or, you may be shocked at your score and need to go back to figure out what went wrong. Maybe you didn’t really answer the question. Maybe your structure was disorganized and hard to follow. Or maybe you simply didn’t know the law well enough. Whatever the problem may be—getting your hands on your essays will help solve this mystery.
4. Plan to change your bar exam approach.
You should then make a plan to change to your bar exam preparation approach. If you failed the bar exam with Barbri the last time (or really any commercial course) there are a few very important changes you need to make.
- First, when it comes to the MBE, you need to make sure you are only practicing with released MBE questions. That means you aren’t using the made-up ones that commercial courses pass out. For more information on the importance of using released bar exam questions click here.
- Secondly, make sure you are not re-watching the lectures again. This is one of the biggest scheduling errors we see repeat takers make. It is a supreme waste of time to sit through every lecture again. Instead, you should only re-watch the lectures on the topics that you skipped last time or that you really struggled with. The majority of your time should be memorizing the law.
- Next, you should make sure you are spending enough time with your outlines to have the law memorized. This is the step in the bar exam prep process that most Barbri users miss! Application of the law becomes much easier when you have the law memorized. Sitting passively through a lecture and then jumping right into practice is not putting you in a position to pass. Rather, your schedule should allow you ample time to memorize your outlines. Click here for more information on this very necessary step.
- Lastly, you should find a new approach. If you are looking for more advice for what to do after you have failed the bar exam with Barbri, we recommend you check out these free and very informative blog posts on the Uniform Bar Exam. Also check out our bar exam private tutoring and our bar exam course options here.
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