1. First, calm down. Read this note of encouragement to those who failed the bar exam as well as this note to those who pass the bar exam. We always advise that people read these two notes before they find out results since it helps everyone to keep a very open mind and see the bar exam from both perspectives. Even if you fail the bar exam, it is, in the long run, a bump in the road rather than an experience to define your life by.
2. Second, remember that feelings about the bar exam are not at all correlated with a passing score! I distinctly remember one bar exam where I had a student tell me he “was absolutely positive” that he failed and another student tell me that she “was absolutely positive” she passed. In the end, they both got the same just-over-passing score! Things like this happen every single bar exam. It is a true indicator that, for the most part, feelings are not indicative of your final score!
3. If you are still pretty sure you failed the bar exam, you may be itching to start studying. Here is our general advice on whether to study for the bar exam while you are waiting for bar exam results:
- If you took the July bar exam, there is no need to study while waiting for bar exam results. Bar exam results are usually released in late October or early November. Thus, if you did, in fact, fail the bar exam, you will still have plenty of time (4 months!) to study for the February bar exam.
- If you took the February bar exam and you think there is a good possibility that you failed the bar exam, you may want to gear up for the July bar exam early. Many February bar exam takers get their results in mid-to-late May which is okay (but a little late for some!) to start studying. Thus, if you took the February bar exam and you think you failed, you may want to start studying in April or early May. “Worst” case scenario – you may study and then find out you actually passed!
Whether you should study while waiting for bar exam results will also depend on your individual personality, your work schedule, and a variety of other personal factors. This is just our general recommendation to those who are wondering if they should start gearing up for the next bar exam before finding out results.
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