I Failed the North Carolina Bar Exam – What Should I Do?
If you failed the North Carolina bar exam, you are not alone! Here are a few steps to take if you failed the North Carolina bar exam.
I Failed the North Carolina Bar Exam – What Should I Do?
Give yourself a break.
Failing the bar exam is miserable. It is not something you can get over instantly. Allow yourself to be sad and process it. By doing this, you will be able to move on and clear your head for the next bar exam.
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.
While it may seem cliche to say you need to take time to process failing the bar exam, it is an important step. As soon as you are able to process it, you will be able to move on to the next steps.
Examine your score report.
Did you score lower on the MBE portion or the essay portion? Sometimes students are surprised to see where their weaknesses are. Don’t ignore your score report. It is a source of valuable information.
We find that a lot of students simply assume they scored lower on the MBE portion. Then, when we actually dissect their score report, they scored lower on the essay portion. Don’t rely on how you feel about each portion of the exam as your feelings are not always a good indicator of how you actually performed.
In the same vein, you should not hesitate to take our next piece of advice…
Request your essays.
You can request your essays from the North Carolina Board of Law Examiners, though there is a fee involved. It is well worth it to request your essays to see where you went wrong. Maybe you had timing issues or organizational issues. Maybe you need to work on your rule statements.
While nobody looks forward to reading their essays, they can be a great source of information. There is no sense in repeating the same mistakes twice.
When you read over your essays, instead of just looking at where you need to improve, you can also examine what you did well. Knowing your strengths is just as important as knowing your weaknesses as this can give you confidence going into the exam.
Do your best to read your essays objectively. If you are not able to objectively review your essays, see if you can find a law school professor or mentor to provide candid advice to you.
Reflect on how you prepared for the bar exam.
We recommend you ask yourself a few key questions if you failed the bar exam. Reflecting on how you studied will be helpful in moving forward — some things you may want to keep the same and some things you may want to change. Some key 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?
Ask yourself some of these questions. You may be surprised at the changes that you discover you need to make simply by asking yourself questions. (Note that it is important to do this after you process failing the bar exam so that you are not asking them while you are in a defensive mode!)
Don’t do the same thing you did last time.
Some students prepare for the bar exam the exact same way they prepared the first time. This is the “easier” approach because you may get a free repeat course with your commercial course, and then you don’t have to do the hard work of coming up with a plan. However, while it may be easier, it is often ineffective. You cannot do the same thing twice an expect a different result. And we truly do not recommend you take your commercial course again. You need to do something different if you want a different (and passing) result on the next bar exam you take.
Another reason you need to do something different if you failed the July 2018 North Carolina bar exam is because North Carolina is administering the Uniform Bar Exam beginning February 2019.
Come up with a plan for the next administration!
North Carolina is administering the Uniform Bar Exam as of February 2019.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. (We specialize in the Uniform Bar Exam!) Your plan should be tailored to your strengths and weaknesses. If you struggled with the MBE, focus on the MBE. If you didn’t practice enough essays, come up with a schedule where you write at least five essays a week.
We have several Uniform Bar Exam services which you may be interested in if you failed the North Carolina 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 list these helpful 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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