I Failed the Maryland Bar Exam – What Should I Do?
If you failed the Maryland bar exam, you are not alone! Bar exam pass rates have been falling nationwide. Here are a few steps to take if you failed the Maryland bar exam.
I Failed the Maryland Bar Exam – What Should I Do?
First, take a break!
Failing the bar exam comes with all kinds of emotions — anger, sadness, anxiety, despair, embarrassment. The list goes on.
It is hard to work so hard for something and that find that you do not succeed. Taking a few days to process these emotions is very important. We have a few posts that you may want to read if you failed the Maryland bar exam:
- Read this note to those who failed the bar exam.
- Read this list of famous people who failed the bar exam so you know you are not alone and that you can still do great things despite this minor setback!
- Lastly, you may want to read over some quotes we recommend for those who failed the bar exam.
Don’t try to start studying the day you find out you failed! Give yourself some time.
Second, examine your score report.
Look at your score report to see exactly how well you performed on each portion of the exam. Many students simply assume that they scored low on one portion of the exam, when in reality, feelings often do not correlate with results.
We find that a lot of students ignore their bar exam score reports. But this is not a winning strategy! Your score report is a valuable source of information for what you can do moving forward. If you are reading this after failing the February 2019 exam, Maryland has detailed information on how to calculate your score here. February 2019 was the last administration of the state bar exam. In July 2019, Maryland will administer the Uniform Bar Exam.
If you are reading this for the July 2019 bar exam or a later bar exam, check out this post on what your Uniform Bar Exam score report means.
Third, request your essays and complete the necessary paperwork to take the next exam.
While nobody wants to immediately read their failed essay exam, it is crucial that you do so! If you just failed the bar exam, do yourself a favor and make the request.
You can request your essays from the Maryland state bar by sending a written signed request for a copy of your answers within 60 days of when results are released. Include a $20 check or money order. Further instructions are here.
When you get your essays, ask yourself:
- Did I state the law well enough?
- Were my answers organized in IRAC format?
- Did I have any timing issues? Or anxiety issues?
- Was my analysis complete or did I miss key facts?
- Were my conclusions accurate or arguably accurate?
Essays be a great source of information. There is no sense in repeating the same mistakes twice and reviewing your essays can help you improve your score.
Also examine your strengths. Maybe your timing was good. Or your organization was stellar. Or maybe you knew the law really well.
Note that Maryland does not allow bar exam appeals! Your score is final.
If you failed the February 2019 bar exam, also file your intent to take the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) in July 2019. July 2019 is Maryland’s first administration of the UBE!
Fourth, reflect on your preparation.
Ask yourself a few key questions if you failed the Maryland bar exam. Asking – and thoughtfully answering – these questions can be very helpful in determining what to do moving forward. Students often find that truly reflecting on their preparation gives them insight into what they did wrong and it also helps show them the path forward. So it can actually be quite a relief to go through this list of questions!
Some important questions are:
- How much time did you dedicate to studying?
- Did you know the rules well enough?
- Did you practice enough essays?
- Did you answer enough MBE questions? (And if so, were the MBE questions actual released questions or were you using course-invented questions?)
- Was your study schedule manageable?
Taking time to reflect on these questions will help you come up with a new and efficient approach moving forward!
Fifth, commit to changing your approach.
Don’t do the same thing again and expect a different result. That is the definition of insanity! This is especially true if you failed the February 2019 Maryland bar exam is because Maryland will be administering the UBE beginning in July. This should be a relief to you — you will not need to know state distinctions to pass the UBE and the UBE is very well written. All of your hard work will translate and help you pass the UBE! (Further, you can also transfer your UBE score to other jurisdictions, so it will be even better to pass the UBE than the Maryland bar exam!)
Lastly, come up with a plan!
Once you know where you fell short, come up with a plan to conquer your weaknesses. Consider private tutoring if you need a lot of help. Your plan should be tailored to your weaknesses. If you struggled with the MBE, focus on the MBE. If you didn’t practice enough essays, for example, come up with a schedule where you write at least five essays a week. Make sure to tailor your plan to the Uniform Bar Exam.
We have several Uniform Bar Exam services which you may be interested in if you failed the Maryland bar exam (including our premium Uniform Bar Exam full-service course which fills up quickly!). We specialize in helping repeat takers pass the bar exam. We just heard from a few of our recent students who passed the UBE taking our course. One raised her score almost 40 points on her third try (and raised MBE score 21 points!). The other raised her overall bar exam score almost 50 points!
We list plenty of resources below!
If you are not familiar with the Uniform Bar Exam, we recommend you check out these posts:
- Our top five Uniform Bar Exam study tips
- What is the Uniform Bar Exam? Read an overview of the UBE here!
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