Is It Bad To Skip A Bar Exam?: First things first, if you are asking this question because you failed a bar exam, we are sorry you failed the bar exam. But do not let it discourage you! Many people have failed the bar exam who have gone on to be great attorneys. Luckily, you get many shots at passing the exam but it’s understandable if you are not exactly gearing up to take the next exam offered.
Is It Bad To Skip A Bar Exam?
You may be wondering “Can I skip a bar exam?” Of course that answer is yes. There is nothing stopping you. You can do a lot of things after all. But should you? The question you really have to ask yourself is “Should I skip a bar exam?” The answer to that will most likely be, “Maybe, but probably not.”
Generally, we recommend that you should not skip the next bar exam. So if you just failed the February bar exam you should take the July exam or if end up failing the July exam you should take the February exam. Sometimes the situation calls for you to skip the bar exam, but the majority of the time the advantages of taking the next bar exam outweigh the disadvantages.
Five Big Reasons You Should Not Skip a Bar Exam
1. You remember more than you think!
Any attorney can tell you that the further you get away from the bar exam the more you forget what you memorized. If you are not using it, you lose it.
After failing you may feel like you do not know any law. That’s not true! You know more than you think. You are not starting from scratch. What you need to focus on now is building on what you know so you can achieve that passing score. Just knowing the basics gives you something to build off of and you will be able to learn things quicker than you did the first time.
2. You are less likely to give up becoming an attorney.
If you wait too long to retake the bar exam you may completely give up on becoming an attorney. It may be harder to dive back into bar prep if you take time off and go live some other non-legal life in between. You worked so hard to get to this point you should not give up now.
3. Your bar course may have a guarantee.
If you took a commercial bar course they may have a guarantee that you get free books or materials for your next try. Sometimes, this guarantee is only good for the next available exam.
4. You will be a licensed attorney sooner!
The sooner you take and pass the bar the sooner you will be a licensed attorney. If you take the next exam you will not be that far behind your peers that passed the exam. Your career will benefit from being licensed to practice law and more jobs are available to you.
5. The sooner you pass the bar exam the sooner it is out of your life forever.
The bar exam is awful. Studying for it even more so. But the sooner you accept that you have to retake it and power through the sooner it will be out of your life for good. Once you are done with it you will be glad you decided not to skip a bar exam.
Situations Where You Should Skip a Bar Exam:
While we really recommend that you power through and take the next available bar exam there are some situations where you will benefit from taking a break.
1. You are completely burnt out.
This is usually more common for applicants who are on their third or fourth go with the bar exam that first or second timers. Burnout is not the same as feeling disappointed about failing the bar exam. People who are suffering from burnout usually cannot imagine studying anymore and are unable to shake off the unwillingness to study.
2. You failed by a lot of points and need more time to learn the material.
Not everyone learns the same and some students need longer to get a good grasp of the material. Or in some cases, applicants get the news that they failed only about two months before the next exam and they simply need more time to learn and re-learn the material. In this case, it is best to wait so that you have more time to master the law. It won’t do you much good if you retake the bar exam and you were unable to fully prepare for it.
3. You have a time-consuming commitment and don’t have time to study.
Sometimes applicants have internships, weddings, or other large commitments that interfere with their ability to put the necessary hours into studying. You need all the time you can get to study but if you can make it work and not skip then you should take the next exam.
4. You have a family or personal emergency.
Sometimes life gets in the way and things happen. If you or someone close to you is going through health issues or other emergencies you may be unable to devout your energy into studying for the bar exam. Take the break and take care of yourself and/or loved ones and come back to the bar when life is less demanding.
A few other things to think about if you failed the bar exam:
- Give yourself time to grieve. You may feel the urge to fix your mistake immediately but it will do you some good to give yourself time to feel sad about your failure and feel whatever emotions you need to feel. Do not make any big decisions when you are super emotional. (That’s true for a lot of things in life!) Give yourself time to feel right again and then you can make your plan.
- Work is not the priority now, the bar is. You should take off as much time as possible to study for the bar exam. Most legal employers completely understand that people fail the bar exam and that you need time off to study.
- You may need to change the way you study. Obviously, something went wrong the first time around. Maybe you just needed more time but maybe you need a different approach. Everyone learns differently and you may benefit from alternative bar prep like a tutor or a seminar.
If you are still unsure whether you should skip a bar exam, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you make the right decision. Good luck!
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