You finished law school and spent months studying and stressing over the bar exam. You suffered through the two or three day exam and waited patiently for results to come in. When you looked at the list of individuals who passed, you could not find your seat number anywhere. Unfortunately, you knew what this meant – you failed the bar exam. So, what should you do? What are some tips for retaking the exam? Should you give up your dreams and forget the bar exam? In order to help you through this difficult time, I have answered some questions that you may be asking regarding failing and retaking the bar exam. Hopefully these answers will provide you some guidance and encouragement during this disheartening experience.
I feel so alone. Why did I have to fail?
I am sorry that you are feeling alone at this time. It never feels good to fail or be unsuccessful. You worked so hard trying to study and prepare for the bar exam only to miss the mark. However, it is important to remember that you are not alone. You have followed numerous other great individuals who did not pass the bar exam. Many people have to take the bar exam numerous times to pass. You can still be an attorney, even if it takes a few times to pass the exam. You are still an intelligent person, and you can still be very successful!
What should I do about work?
This depends on what your situation is. If you had a position that was contingent on passing the bar, you will have to let your boss know about the results. Most employers will allow you to take the bar exam a second time and let you keep your contingent position. However, it is best to have an honest conversation with your employer, explain your situation and evaluate what the best plan of action is. You will also have to evaluate what your financial situation will be if you have to take time to study for the bar exam.
That is a great question. It is a personal question that you will have to reflect on yourself. I believe that if you successfully survived law school, you can pass the bar. You are smart and capable. However, it can be challenging to pick yourself up after failure and willingly attempt something you had previously been unsuccessful in. There is also time and expense to consider as well. If you want to be an attorney, then you will need to take the bar exam (in most states). If there is another legal career that you intend on pursuing and do not need bar passage, then you do not have to suffer through the bar exam again. Take the time to contemplate your situation and determine what is best for you and your future.
How can I improve my score?
You will have to ask yourself “how did I fail?” Did you run out of time? Was there a personal emergency around the time of the exam? Did you not understand what was expected of you on the exam? Evaluate what portions of the test you did well in and what portions you need to improve upon to pass. Once you understand what went wrong, you can determine how you can better prepare yourself for the exam. You can decide if you need more structure in your study plan, if you need to focus on time management, or if there are certain topics you need to get a deeper understanding of. You can also determine if you need to seek additional help, resources, or tutoring. There are many ways that you can improve your score, and I know you will be successful!
How can I motivate myself to retake the bar exam?
You are allowed to give yourself time to grieve and process what you went through. It is okay to feel upset, disappointed, or discouraged. Eventually, you will begin to cope with this unsuccessful attempt at the bar exam and feel emotionally ready to try again. It is okay to give yourself that time to work through it.
Will I ever pass the bar? Will I ever be an attorney?
It is easy to question yourself and feel discouraged about your future. This is especially true after being unsuccessful on the bar exam. It is frustrating, disappointing, and disheartening. The bar exam is a very important test, it is hard to find someone that would disagree with that sentiment. However, we tend to put extreme amounts of pressure on ourselves regarding the bar exam. It is not hard to feel like this is the end of your career or world after failure. Regardless of what the outcome is after the bar exam, it is going to be okay. One test does not define you, one score does not measure your worth, and one failure does not end your career. You are intelligent, hard-working, and passionate about the law. You are successful, with or without bar passage. And with the proper help and determination, you can pass the bar exam, and you can become a lawyer. One chapter of your life does not define who you are. You CAN and WILL achieve your goals! Best of luck on taking the bar exam and know there are always people and resources out here to help you.