I Failed The Hawaii Bar Exam! What Do I Do Now?
Hawaii, while not a UBE jurisdiction, does use the MBE, MEE, and MPT from the NCBE to structure its test. It also includes a state specific ethics portion of the exam. Hawaii’s bar passage rate has not seen a precipitous drop like many states have over the past 10 years. It has stayed pretty stable at around 65-70%. If you failed, however, remember you are not alone! Here’s our guide on what to do if you failed the Hawaii bar exam.
I Failed The Hawaii Bar Exam! What Do I Do Now?
Step 1: Take time to come to grips with your score.
There’s nothing like failing the bar exam. Your emotions can run the gamut from dread, anxiety, disappointment, anger, frustration — among many others! Unfortunately, there is no quick-fix to how you might feel. However, time will make you feel better!
So, take a few days to take it all in. We recommend you read this note to those who failed the bar exam. You may even want to read over this list of famous people who failed the bar exam so you know you are not alone! Lastly, you may want to read over some quotes we recommend for those who failed the bar exam.
Sometimes this step takes a day. Sometimes it takes a week or a little longer. If you find yourself in a deep depression or sadness after too long, it is worth it to seek professional help.
Step 2: Review your Hawaii Bar Exam score report and get copies of your essays if possible.
The minimum passing scaled score on the Hawaii bar exam is 268. (And even if you failed the Hawaii bar exam, you may also be surprised to know that you may have exceeded the passing score in several other states if you scored a 260 or above.)
Hawaii’s bar exam has four parts spread over two days. The first day is the state portion of the exam. It combines the MEE, MPT, and Hawaii Legal Ethics Test, which is comprised of 15 multiple choice ethics questions similar to the MPRE. They are administered during the same four hour block as the MEE. Overall, this accounts for 50% of your total score.
The MBE portion of the Hawaii bar exam accounts for the other 50% of your total score.
Warning: Please take this step seriously! Some students are convinced that they fell short on the MBE, when really it was the MEE’s or MPTs which caused them to fail. Be honest with yourself when you look at your score report! If you need help with this step, feel free to contact us here.
Lastly, if possible, request your essays and MPTs from the Hawaii state bar. Nobody likes to relive what they wrote on exam day. However, this information can be invaluable. Perhaps you did not organize your essays well, or you wrote too little, or recalled too little law. You can gather a lot of valuable information by reviewing this written portion.
Step 3: Honestly review how you prepared for the Hawaii bar exam.
This step is not fun either, but is vital if you want to pass the Hawaii bar exam the next time you take it! You want to collect as much information about your last approach so you can figure out what to change moving forward.
So, some questions you should ask if you failed the Hawaii bar exam are as follows:
- Did you study effectively and productively?
- How long did you study for? (Was it enough time? Did you start too early and burn out? Or too late and not learn enough information? Were you working while you studied? If so, do you need to take time off?)
- 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 released MBE questions and real essay questions?
- Did you practice enough ethics questions?
- Did you practice enough MPTs? (A lot of students don’t!)
- How many timed exams did you take? Did you run into timing issues on the real exam?
- Did you memorize the black letter law for the most highly tested issues?
To see an even more extensive list, please see this post on what to do if you failed the bar exam.
Step 4: Figure out what you need to change for the upcoming Hawaii bar exam.
You cannot do the same thing twice an expect a different result. And we truly do not recommend you take your commercial course. You need to do something different if you want a different (and passing) result on the next bar exam you take.
By now you should have an idea of where you fell short both in terms of the section(s) you fell short on (MBE, MEE, MPT) and in terms of your personal preparation (maybe your outlines did not prepare you well enough, perhaps your bar review course did not fit your study style, perhaps you did not get feedback on enough of your essays, etc.).
Using this information, consider how you will change your approach for the next exam. You may want a completely different approach or you may just need to tweak some things here and there. Here are some additional resources worth checking out. We have listed them in order of what you may need help with if you failed the Hawaii bar exam. Our resources are extremely high quality and tailored to what is tested!
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