Three Helpful Tips For Retaking the UBE
If you’re reading this post you are likely preparing to take the UBE, again. This can be a difficult position. Let’s face it. Most people don’t find taking the UBE to be a pleasant experience in the first place, and retaking the UBE can be a difficult prospect to face. Emotions can be high, and confidence can be low. This post provides tips and advice for navigating the highs and lows of retaking the UBE.
Three Helpful Tips For Retaking the UBE
The last thing you probably want to do after failing the bar exam is to focus on why you failed the bar exam. While this is totally understandable, if you don’t take time to reflect on what did not work the first time around, you are doing yourself a disservice. Reflection can be a great way to not only get (unwanted) feelings off your chest. Additionally, reflection can also be a useful way to create a plan that will help you succeed. To get started, consider the following questions, and take a moment to handwrite your answers.
- What was my least favorite part of bar exam preparation?
- How much time did I study?
- Where was my focus?
- With whom, if anyone, did I spend my time?
- Were there any topics that were easier than others?
The important thing here is to be honest. If you’re not honest, then you can’t address any problems that may have limited your ability to succeed. Determining who was helpful, and more importantly, who was not helpful, will help you to consider with whom you will spend your time when you are preparing to retake the UBE. Based on that reflection you may ask mom to call a few more times, your boss to stay out of your bar prep, or your best friend to bring you dinner.
As to the question about how much time you spent studying, this question is very, very specific: how much time did you spend actually studying. Not how much time did you spend at the library, or how much time you spent with books open while still responding to text messages. This isn’t meant to be flippant. In a world full of social media and endless group texts, it is easy to think that you are doing one thing when in fact you are actually multi-tasking and are more distracted than you might think. Consider ways that you can be more focused in your approach as you create your study schedule for the upcoming UBE.
This brings us to: where was your focus? While somewhat similar to the above, it’s slightly different. Maybe you were concerned about a relationship, or about a job search, or about caring for a loved one. Identifying where your focus was allows you to better build a bar exam schedule that helps you either avoid focusing on certain items or better allots your time around areas you know will require attention outside of studying. For more tips on writing and reflection, check out our post, How to Bounce Back After Failing the Bar.
With respect to the topics that were easier (or harder), this information is invaluable. Reviewing your score report, (more on that here), will give you a very good idea of what areas need work. Once you’ve identified those subjects, it’s time to get help. Reach out to a faculty advisor or a bar exam tutor if you need help addressing certain topics as you prepare for the UBE.
Now comes the fun part—putting the reflection into action. In this post, Failed the Bar Exam? A Detailed Guide to Creating an Action Plan we offer a step-by-step guide to helping you plan out your process for retaking the UBE. Keep in mind that it’s important to remember that you are not starting from scratch. You will be familiar with what it’s like to take an exam over the course of two days, you know what it’s like to study, and you know where the testing site is located or how to prepare the night before. Think of it this way, you are building off what you already know…and you already know a lot!
As you plan and prepare to re-take the UBE, don’t forget how important it is to practice! Taking multiple mini-bars during your bar prep will train you to not only have the stamina to sit for long periods of time, but to also override any lingering insecurities that you might have. Practicing the bar exam means practicing in timed conditions, in a classroom or other similar setting, in the clothes that you plan to wear the day of the exam (including a mask!).
You can practice taking the bar exam in smaller chunks as you build up your endurance throughout your studying. Try completing 9 practice MBE questions in 15 minutes. Start practicing essay questions one at a time under timed conditions. Set some side aside to tackle an MPT. But also practice imagining getting a passing score, registering to be an attorney in the state in which you wish to practice, and ultimately practicing law.
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