I Think I Failed The Bar Exam? What Do I Do?
If you thought waiting for final exam grades was stressful, try waiting to receive your bar exam results. Well, first, we have to acknowledge that taking the bar exam is an incredible accomplishment! You’ve studied so hard, and taken probably the most important test of your life. As a result, it is completely normal to be feeling anxious about receiving your score. Our best advice is to try to stay relaxed because you don’t know your score yet! We know that’s hard to do, but while you wait, try to keep this information in mind. So here are some tips if you can’t help but tell yourself “I think I failed the bar exam!”
I Think I Failed The Bar Exam? What Do I Do?
Don’t freak out!
That’s easy for us to say. We’re not waiting to receive bar exam results. The best thing to do is to know yourself. How do you destress? If you think you failed the bar exam, it’s probably all you are thinking about. Try to get your mind off your exam scores by exercising, spending time with family, or spending time on a favorite hobby. Implement some of the healthy coping mechanisms you used during law school to manage stress.
Most importantly, keep in mind that if you haven’t received your scores yet, you don’t actually know that you’ve failed the bar exam. There’s nothing you can do to change your bar exam scores while you wait. So you might as well make the most of the time between completing the exam and waiting for the results. Check out this post for more tips about managing post bar exam anxiety.
It’s common for people to remember what they didn’t know.
As someone who has just taken the bar exam, you’ve taken a lot of tests in your life. After every test, it seems that students dwell on questions they were unsure about. It probably happened to you after the LSAT, after your law school exams, and it’s probably happening to you now! If you only think about the questions that you were unsure about, it probably feels like you failed the bar exam. While you worry about the questions you may have missed, you are probably ignoring dozens of questions that you breezed through!
If you are feeling like you’ve failed the bar exam, try to remind yourself of all the questions you felt confident about. Perhaps you’ll find that those types of questions outweigh the questions you’re worried about. And like we said before, fretting about what answer you put for a specific question isn’t going to change your score. Things are out of your control, so you should try to relax while you wait for your bar exam results to come in.
You don’t have to actually do very well on the bar to pass.
The best thing about the bar exam is that you don’t actually have to do that well to pass. This isn’t like a law school exam where you have to worry about being the best. While scoring varies by jurisdiction, you can find the minimum passing scores in Uniform Bar Exam jurisdictions, here. You may have felt like you failed the bar exam because you were unsure about a few questions. The truth is, in many states, you can pass the bar by correctly answering approximately 60% of the multiple-choice questions. Remember, no one is going to care what you score on the bar exam was. They are only going to care about whether you passed!
Make a game plan.
There’s nothing you can do to affect your bar exam score while you wait. Most people have a plan for what they will do if they pass the bar exam. If you don’t have a job already, you’ll seek out jobs that require you to have passed the bar. If you have a job, it’ll mean you can begin working as a licensed attorney. However, if you really are concerned that you may have failed the bar exam, make a plan B!
If you already have a job lined up, talk to your employer about what will happen in the event that you don’t pass the bar. If you don’t have a job lined up, determine if you are going to keep looking or put off the job search until you’ve passed the bar.
In the worst-case scenario, if you failed the bar exam, how are you going to prepare differently? Will you take the bar exam at the next administration or will you wait a full year or longer? These are questions that no one wants to think about. However, the truth is, having a plan B will help you feel more in control. Hopefully, you won’t even have to use your plan B, but it can’t hurt to have one!
You can take the bar again.
Taking the bar exam more than once is a reality no one likes to face. If you find that you have actually failed the bar exam, it’s okay to feel defeated. It’s normal to feel angry, depressed, nervous, and helpless. You’ve worked very hard, and failing the bar exam is never something you want to experience. We know that you don’t want to put yourself through the experience of studying and taking the exam again, but try to be thankful that you’ll have another opportunity to reach your goals. Evaluating why you failed the bar exam is the first step to passing the bar as a repeat taker! If you need to, check out our YouTube series for repeat bar exam takers.
It’s natural to feel anxious after taking the bar exam. Even people who do great, often feel like they’ve failed the bar exam. All you can do is wait and try to be proactive in the meantime. Good luck!
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