Unfortunately, not everyone passes the bar exam. Nationally in 2013, for the February and July bar exams combined, a total of over 75,000 people took the bar exam but only 69% passed. For the ten year period of 2004 to 2013, the overall pass rate was also only 69%, with the first-time examinee pass rate being only 10% higher, or 79%. All bar exams are difficult and a significant number of people fail in every state. While it is difficult, frustrating, and can even be angering to some extent, we want you to know that there are several things you can, and should do, to learn from this experience, and increase your chances of passing the bar exam in the future. Failing the bar exam is not an indication of your potential skills and abilities as a lawyer. Please remember that if you have graduated from law school, you have already demonstrated exceptional skills and abilities. The most important determination you need to make now, however, is why you were unsuccessful. If you’re like most people, your problem lies in one of two areas. Either you didn’t spend enough time preparing, or as is more likely, you weren’t taught the skills needed to most effectively prepare for, and take, the bar exam.
One of the most important things you can do at this time, is to get the most thorough score report the examiners make available. Some states allow you to get copies of your essay answers, some provide only overall scores, and some require you to ask for detailed score reports. If you can determine what parts of the bar exam, and what subjects you struggled with, you can focus your attention on those areas in preparing for the next exam.
If your scores were uniformly low, meaning low on multiple parts of the exam, the likelihood is that there was a problem with your study methodology. You need to honestly examine whether you put sufficient quality time into studying, whether the study process you used was efficient and effective, and whether you focused your time and attention on learning the law by outlining, or if you relied on some other less effective method.
If your score was low on the essay exam, but higher on the MBE, you should honestly evaluate the quality of your writing skills. You may need assistance in learning how to write better essays by employing legal writing techniques that will improve your score. You really can write your essays in a format that will maximize your chances of passing the bar exam by providing the examiners with what they are looking for in an answer. You may also be having problems studying effectively, and not writing clearly and concisely. You can learn to improve all of those skills.
If your score was low on the MBE, but higher on the written portion of the exam, you can improve your score in a different way. Many people believe that a low MBE score indicates difficulty with the multiple choice format of the test. However, over a decade of experience tutoring thousands of examinees has led us to the conclusion that a low MBE is score is more often the result of an inadequate and ineffective study process, and insufficient detailed outlining to the extent necessary to perform well on the MBE. The MBE tests fine points of law, and it is necessary to study and outline for those subjects in far more detail than for other subjects. Many students fall prey to the myth that doing hundreds, or even thousands, of additional MBE test questions will increase their score. Don’t fall into that trap. First, you must increase your detailed knowledge of the areas of tested law to increase your MBE score, and that means better outlining and study strategies.
In conclusion, you can improve your score on the bar exam, even dramatically, but you must first identify why you were unsuccessful in the past, and what you can do differently in the future. AmeriBar is here to help you. We would be happy to provide you with an overview of our tutoring program, in order to determine if it is the right option for you. If you have any questions, feel free to contact AmeriBar for assistance.