A Step-by-Step Guide on What to Do if you Failed the New Jersey Bar Exam
A Step-by-Step Guide on What to Do if you Failed the New Jersey Bar Exam: If you failed the New Jersey Bar Exam, you are certainly not alone. The New Jersey Bar Exam passage rate has gone down in recent years (especially after New Jersey adopted the Uniform Bar Exam). Bar passage rates are dismal not only in New Jersey, but also all over the country. Here, we tell you what to do if you failed the New Jersey Bar Exam.
Update: If you failed the New Jersey Bar Exam, read our excellent, new, free guide on what to do if you fail the Uniform Bar Exam.
A Step-by-Step Guide on What to Do if you Failed the
New Jersey Bar Exam
Step 1: Give yourself time!
Failing the bar exam is a terrible feeling. It 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!
So, give yourself a couple of 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.
Note: New Jersey does not have a bar exam appeals process. So if you failed the New Jersey bar exam, you will have to retake it.
Step 2: Study your New Jersey Bar Exam score report and request your essays if possible.
The minimum passing scaled score on the New Jersey bar exam is 266. If you failed the New Jersey bar exam, you may be surprised to know that you may have exceeded the passing score in several other states if you scored a 260 or above. So, while it doesn’t help you in New Jersey, take solace in the fact that you could have passed somewhere!
Since New Jersey 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) 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.
Since you need a score of 266 to pass the New Jersey bar exam, see how far from 133 you were on the MBE portion and on the essay portion. If your score was lower than 133 on a portion, you technically failed that portion.
If you are wondering what your MBE score means, please see this post.
Warning: Don’t take this step lightly. Some students are convinced that they fell short on the MBE, when really it was the essay portion or MPT which held them back. Make sure to 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 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: Critically assess and analyze how you studied for the New Jersey bar exam.
While not enjoyable, this step is very necessary if you want to pass the New Jersey bar exam the next time you take it! You want to collect as much information about your last approach so you weed out bad habits or approaches in the future.
Some questions you should ask if you failed the New Jersey bar exam are as follows:
- Did you study effectively and productively?
- How long did you study for? (Was it enough time?)
- 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?
- Did you practice enough MPTs? (A lot of students don’t!)
- How many timed exams did you take?
- 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 New Jersey bar exam.
In Step 2, you looked at your score report for the New Jersey bar exam, your essays, and how you performed on exam day.
In Step 3, you looked at what you did leading up to exam day.
In other words, 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.).Now it is time to figure out what you can do leading up to the next exam to change your exam score to a passing one! Hopefully, you have identified some areas you fell short on and need to work on.
Note: We do not recommend you do the same thing twice if you want a different result. 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.
In conclusion, 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 New Jersey bar exam. Our resources are extremely high quality and tailored to what is tested!
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