Kim Kardashian Failed the Baby Bar 3 Times – Then Passed!
Kim Kardashian announced at the end of 2021 that she passed California’s baby bar examination. However, before that, she failed California’s baby bar exam three times. What is not often discussed, however, is that it is very common to fail the baby bar exam on the first (or second!) try. In this blog post, we will discuss the baby bar exam and offer some strategies for passing the baby bar exam.
Kim Kardashian Failed the Baby Bar 3 Times – Then Passed!
1. What is the baby bar exam?
- Certain students who want to become licensed attorneys in California must take the baby bar exam. It is officially known as the First-Year Law Student’s Examination, and this examination is required (1) for those who study at a State Bar-unaccredited law school; (2) for those enrolled in a JD program through the California Law Office Study Program; (3) for those individuals without two years of college work history attending certain law schools; and (4) for those without two years of college work attending an ABA-accredited school.
Additionally, some California law schools require academically disqualified students to pass the baby bar exam before allowing them to return to a classroom setting.
Essentially, the baby bar exam is required when a law student is taking a less traditional route to becoming a licensed attorney in California. By the way, California is not the only state where someone could pass a state’s full bar exam and become a lawyer without going to law school – other states that have processes that allow this route are Virginia, Vermont, and Washington.
The baby bar exam is a seven-hour exam given over the course of one day. The baby bar exam is exactly what it sounds like – it is a truncated version of the bar exam. It only covers three subject areas: contracts, criminal law, and torts. The baby bar exam tests legal theories and other legal principles that are broadly applicable. So, students do not need to know the nuances of California law to excel on the baby bar.
2. What’s the pass rate for the baby bar exam?
It is not unusual to fail the baby bar exam on the first try. The chart below shows passage rates for the baby bar exam.
Unfortunately, the passage rates for the baby bar exam are infamously low. Kim K. openly discussed the baby bar process and how she did not pass the baby bar exam in a season finale of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfmVqv92eE8] In the clip, Kim and one of her attorney mentors, human rights attorney Jessica Jackson, discuss how Kim failed the baby bar. Ms. Jackson informed Kim that Kim did well on the exam, especially given that she prepared for the exam during a pandemic.
Importantly, though, Kim knew that she could take the baby bar exam again. Maybe she read JDAdvising’s blog post I Failed the Baby Bar Exam. What Should I Do? With the information in that post, anyone who fails the baby bar would learn what the baby bar does and does not measure, how to recalibrate a study approach and the benefits of the memorize and apply study strategy! If you are studying for your first or second attempt at the baby bar exam, keep working at it, learning what you need to learn, and you will pass too!
3. What is the purpose of the baby bar exam?
Because the baby bar exam in California is required for students who are taking a less traditional route to become an attorney, whether that be via attending an unaccredited law school or enrolling in a JD program through the California Law Office Study Program, the baby bar exists to ensure that those students have sufficiently learned some fundamental legal principles. The American Bar Association has standards a law school must meet in order to be an accredited law school. These include a bar passage rate standard (Standard 316), requiring an admissions test (standard 503), and publishing student data such as bar passage rates and employment outcomes (standard 509).
These standards even change over time, including quite recently. Because the programs that trigger the baby bar passage requirements generally do not need to comply with the ABA’s accreditation standards, California uses the baby bar exam to objectively assess those students’ progress.
The other states that allow one to become a lawyer without going to law school have different ways of assessing students’ progress. For example, Virginia’s law readers program requires students to pass an exam at the end of each course of study. In Washington, an aspiring attorney must complete monthly examinations administered by the supervising lawyer or judge.
This is all to say that becoming a lawyer without going to law school is not necessarily an easier route!
4. How does someone pass the baby bar exam?
Kim K. did pass the baby bar! In her Instagram post discussing passing the baby bar in December of 2021, Kim honestly discussed failing the baby bar three times over a two-year period. What is important, though, is that the failures, which are very normal for the baby bar exam, did not keep Kim K. from getting back up again and again until she succeeded.
Now, how did she do it? Like anything else bar-exam related, we have some tips on how to create a baby bar exam study routine.
Dissect your score report
If you have taken and failed the baby bar exam, you will receive a score report. It can be very overwhelming to review the score report when you fail an exam. We have a blog post and video that discusses how to review and assess your baby bar exam score report. If you have taken the baby bar exam and failed more than once, we recommend that you review all of your score reports just to see what your score trends.
In that post you’ll learn the importance of dissecting and learning from the score report. Please remember that if you fail the baby bar exam, you are not alone. As we mentioned above, the baby bar exam has a very low passage rate.
The baby bar exam requires about 560 points to pass.
Learn how the subject areas tested
Unsurprisingly, how each subject area that might appear can vary, too! First, if you are new to JD Advising, we offer a free baby bar exam guide that you might to be useful. JD Advising also offers a free baby bar exam resource center!
Among the useful pieces of information, we discuss how contracts are tested on the baby bar exam, as well as how torts and criminal law are tested on the baby bar exam. One point that remains consistent across all three subject areas is that it is important to learn and memorize the elements of various acts. For example, in torts, that act is negligence; in criminal law, the act is a variety of crimes (such as first-degree, second-degree, vehicular homicide, and involuntary manslaughter); and in contract law, the act is deciding whether common law or the UCC applies.
Additionally, it is important to take the time to understand the essay portion of the baby bar exam. Essay questions require the examinee to pay attention to the call of the question and spot legal issues. We recommend preparing for essays in any of the three subject areas that appear on the baby bar. However, if you have limited time to study, review JD Advising’s baby bar exam essay frequency chart to know how often each area is tested. Understanding how frequently certain issues appear on the baby bar exam can help guide your studies!
3. Practice with past baby bar exam essays
Taking practice exams is crucial to get a sense of the exam, timing, and what subject areas need more attention. For the essay portion of the baby bar exam, you should use past baby bar exam essay questions. Why? Because past baby bar exam essay questions come with sample answers. This provides you with you with a resource that you can compare with your own answer!
Past baby bar exam essay questions can be found on the State Bar of California website – just make sure you scroll down to the “First-Year Law Student’s Examination” portion of the page. Additionally, JD Advising has a library of links to past baby bar exam essay questions and examinee sample answers. There are many benefits to comparing your essay exam answer to the examinee’s sample answer. First, you can determine whether you were able to identify all the legal issues. Second, you can determine whether your arguments have a similar structure or arrangement to the sample answer. Third, you can see what the State Bar of California expects from examinees on the baby bar exam essay answers. Keep in mind that if your approach to an essay differs from the sample answer, you will still earn points!
4. Practice multiple-choice questions for the relevant subject areas
While the State Bar of California website does not directly include multiple choice questions (as of this writing) and answers, you can still effectively study and prepare for the multiple choice questions. Why? Because the subject areas (remember? torts, contracts, and criminal law!) are subject you will also see on the full bar exam! This means there are plenty of resources available to you. Additionally, if you have signed up with the State Bar of California to sit for a baby bar exam, you may be able to receive baby bar exam free study aids from the bar.
The full California Bar exam is a mixture of essays, performance tests, and multistate bar exam (“MBE”) multiple choice questions. This is helpful as it shows you where to look for sample questions. For example, JD Advising offers MBE tips for specific subject areas, such as MBE Contracts Tips. Just please remember that the discussion of points or how many of these questions you may see on the exam are applicable to the full bar exam, not the baby bar exam. But the practice multiple choice questions remain very helpful!
Additionally, JD Advising offers a resource of highly-tested MBE topics, charts, and a checklist for contracts. Again, it is important to keep in mind that the frequency of the questions or the number of questions an examinee is likely to encounter is tailored to the full bar exam, not the baby bar exam – but the subject area substance is the same! JD Advising also provides a resource of highly-tested MBE topics, charts, and a checklist for torts and for criminal law and procedure!
The key takeaway is to use real MBE questions in the three subject areas tested on the baby bar exam while you practice and study for the baby bar exam. Not sure where to start? JD Advising offers a full question bank of real MBE questions.
5. Fun baby bar exam questions to use
JD Advising prepared some specific questions related to Kim K., which she actually used! Linked, here you can find our Kim Kardashian-related questions to spice up your baby bar exam study routine. Kim K. also shared Advising’s Tiger King-related prep question! Hint – the answer isn’t Carole Baskin!
And just for fun, here are some other baby bar prep materials Kim K. enjoyed!
Remember, the baby bar exam is notoriously difficult, and many, many students are not successful. But the wonderful news is that many students also pass! Some examinees work with a baby bar exam tutor, use JD Advising baby bar one-sheets, or a combination of their own methods. The old adage is true – if it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it!
We wish you the best of luck on your baby bar exam path!
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