I Failed the South Carolina Bar Exam. What Now?
If you failed the South Carolina bar exam, you are certainly not alone. Bar exam passage rates have been falling nationwide and more and more examinees find themselves failing the bar exam. In this article, we outline the steps to take moving forward if you failed the South Carolina Bar Exam.
Update: If you failed the South Carolina Bar Exam, check out this new, excellent, and free guide on what to do if you failed the Uniform Bar Exam.
I Failed the South Carolina Bar Exam. What Now?
Step 1: Give yourself time to work through your emotions.
Working through your emotions is a vital first step in turning around a bar exam score. The feeling of failure is a combination of dread, anxiety, disappointment, anger, frustration — among many other emotions. Unfortunately, there is no quick-fix to getting past these emotions. However, they will get better in time! The first day you get results you will feel the worst. Then, each day, you will start to feel better–especially after you have a plan in place.
Give yourself a couple of days to be upset, cry, be angry, or whatever! 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.
Keep in mind, sometimes this step takes more than a day. For some, it takes a week or a little longer. If you find yourself in a deep depression or sadness after too long, please seek professional help.
Step 2: Look over your South Carolina Bar Exam score report and request your essays if possible.
The minimum passing scaled score on the South Carolina bar exam is 266. Even if you failed the South Carolina bar exam, you may have exceeded the passing score in several other states if you scored a 260 or above. Although it is not much consolation, use this as motivation moving forward!
Since South Carolina is a Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) state, the breakdown of your score is as follows:
- the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) is worth 50%,
- the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) is worth 30% and
- the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) portion is worth 20%.
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.
Note: South Carolina will not give you a breakdown of how well you did on each essay or MPT. South Carolina, instead, just tells you your overall MBE score and your overall written score. You should aim for a 133 on each of these, at a minimum (to make up the score of 266). The farther away from 133 you are, the more work you have to do to pass!
Note that some students say “I am sure it was my MBE score” just because they felt most nervous for the MBE–when really it was their essay score that needed work! Be honest with yourself when you look at your score report!
Also, look at how far you were from passing. If you are only a few points away, great! That is less to make up for next time. If you were 20, 30, or more points away, however, you may need to completely change your approach to pass the next time.
A few other notes re South Carolina:
- Normally, we recommend that students request their essays and MPTs from the state bar. It does not look like South Carolina allows this to happen.
- Even if you failed by a small amount, there is no appeals process in South Carolina. The Supreme Court has specifically stated that they will not entertain a bar exam appeal. This means that you will have to forge a new approach moving forward.
Step 3: Critically think about how you prepared for the South Carolina bar exam.
This step is not a “fun” step either, but is very necessary if you want to pass the South Carolina 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.
Some questions you should ask if you failed the South Carolina bar exam are as follows:
- How did I prepare?
- Did I use a commercial course? And if so, did help me?
- Was I using released MBE questions and real essay/MPT questions?
- Did I practice enough MPTs (you are not alone if you did not!)
- Did I comprehend the law well enough?
- And was I able to memorize the law?
- Did I take enough timed exams?
Taking some time to reflect on the answers to these questions can make a big difference.
Step 4: Adjust your approach to the South Carolina bar exam to address what you did wrong your previous attempt.
Finally, you won’t get a different result if you study the same way again. So, critically analyze your approach and change it! And we truly do not recommend you take your commercial course again and you can read more about that here . . .) 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) (that was Step 2, above) and in terms of your personal preparation (that was Step 3 above) (e.g., 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.).
This time, consider using a different approach for the next exam. 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 South Carolina bar exam. Our resources are extremely high quality and tailored to what is tested!
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