A Step-by-Step Guide On What To Do If You Failed The Utah Bar Exam
Utah has seen a significant decline over the past two years in the number of applicants passing the bar exam, both as first-time and repeat takers. Historically, Utah had overall passage rates in 80-85% range, and an overall first-time taker passage rate of almost 90%! Those rates have declined since 2015 (as did many bar passage rates in most states). As of 2016, the overall Utah bar exam passage rate fell to 71%, and the passage rate for first-time takers fell to 78%. Nationwide, bar exam pass rates continue to fall. So, if you failed the Utah bar exam, you are most certainly not alone! In this article we outline a step-by-step guide on what to do if you failed the Utah Bar Exam.
Update: If you failed the Utah Bar Exam, check out this new, excellent, and free guide on what to do if you failed the Uniform Bar Exam.
A Step-by-Step Guide on What to Do if you Failed the Utah Bar Exam
Step 1: It’s normal to be upset, so give yourself some time.
Failing the bar exam, to put frankly, can be devastating. You will likely feel disappointment, anxiety, dread, anger, among many other emotions. Unfortunately, there is no quick-fix to getting past these emotions. However, they will get better in time! (Most people start to feel a little better every day after getting results. The first day is the worst!)
Make sure to give yourself some time to take it all in. We recommend you read these posts:
- This note to those who failed the bar exam.
- This is a list of famous people who failed the bar exam (there are some impressive people on this list!).
- Quotes we recommend for those who failed the bar exam.
Sometimes this step takes a few days to process Sometimes it takes a week or a little longer. If you find yourself in a deep depression or sadness after too long, make sure to seek professional help.
Step 2: Analyze your Utah Bar Exam score report and request your essays if possible.
The minimum passing scaled score on the Utah bar exam is 270. Remember that your score may have exceeded the passing score in several other states if you scored a 260 or above. It’s unclear what the Utah Board of Bar Examiners provides with your pass/fail notice, so check with them directly to see what they can provide you.
Since Utah is a Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) state, the breakdown of your score is as follows:
- the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) is worth 50%,
- the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) is worth 30% and
- the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) is worth 20%.
To see what your score report means, check out this post called “What does my Uniform Bar Exam Score Report mean?” When looking at your score report, analyze what area you fell short on – the MBE, the MEE, the MPTs, or some combination of them. This will help you decide where you need to change your study strategy.
*Note that many students just “assume” that they failed the bar exam because of the MBE. Don’t assume that! Frequently, when we look at score reports we find it is sometimes the written portion which students fail even though they are convinced it was the MBE!
Lastly, if possible, request your essays and MPTs from the state bar. Nobody likes to relive what they wrote on exam day. However, this information can be invaluable. Perhaps you did not organize your essays well, or you wrote too little, or recalled too little law. You can gather a lot of valuable information by reviewing this written portion!
Step 3: Review and reflect on your study approach for the Utah bar exam.
You have just analyzed what you wrote on the actual exam day. Now it is time to look at what you did leading up to that day. That is, how did you study for the Utah bar exam? This will help you figure out what you need to change next time.
Some questions you may want to ask are:
- Did I dedicate enough time to studying?
- Was I using actual released MBE, MEE, and MPT questions?
- Did I practice enough MPTs? (A lot of students don’t!)
- Did I truly understand the law?
- Was I able to memorize enough law?
Critically analyzing your study approach will go a long way toward helping you come up with a plan in step 4!
Step 4: Figure out what you need to change for the upcoming Utah bar exam.
Don’t do the same thing twice if you want a different result! That is the definition of insanity. We truly do not recommend you take your commercial course again and you can read more about that here . . .) You need to do something different if you want a different (and passing) result on the next bar exam you take.
By now you should have an idea of where you fell short both in terms of the section(s) you fell short on (MBE, MEE, MPT) and in terms of your personal preparation (maybe your outlines did not prepare you well enough, perhaps your bar review course did not fit your study style, perhaps you did not get feedback on enough of your essays, etc.).
Consider using a different approach for the next exam. Here are some additional resources worth checking out. We have listed them in order of what you may need help with if you failed the Utah bar exam. Our resources are extremely high quality and tailored to what is tested.
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