A Plan to Pass the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE): Do I Need to Drastically Change My Approach?
Now that you have dissected your Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) score report and read about four common reasons that examinees fail the Uniform Bar Exam, and reflected on your last bar exam attempt, it is time to come up with a plan to pass the Uniform Bar Exam the next administration.
Here, we help you formulate a plan to help you pass the Uniform Bar Exam. And, we give you some guiding principles to assist in deciding how drastically you need to change your bar exam approach.
A Plan to Pass the Uniform Bar Exam: Do I need to Drastically Change My Approach?
Key #1: don’t do the same thing you did last time.
Many examinees that fail the UBE simply sign up again for their commercial course and pray that it “works” this time. It is hard to blame examinees who do this. Indeed, some companies offer repeat courses for free (or for a reduced price). Many courses and professors encourage re-attending course lectures. And, it is “easier” than coming up with a plan tailored to you. However, it is often ineffective.
If a strategy didn’t work last time, why would it work next time? It does not make sense to do the same thing again and expect a different result. If you want a different result, you need a different strategy!
So, don’t just plan on signing up for the same commercial course or maintaining the exact same study schedule. You need to do something different. This is the first key to pass the Uniform Bar Exam the next time.
Key #2: take a serious look at the insights you gained from your reflection.
You took the time to reflect on what went right last administration, and what didn’t. Now take time to figure out what should stay the same and what changes you need to make.
First, look at what went right. Maybe your study routine was effective. Maybe you figured out some great memorization strategies. Maybe taking time off work really helped you study effectively.
Now, look at what went wrong. Maybe you discovered, through reflection, that:
- You need to practice more MPTs.
- You need to incorporate more timed exams into your schedule.
- You need to learn better methods of memorizing your outlines.
- You need to take more time off work or start studying early.
- You need to focus on the highly tested areas of law and study for the exam (rather than just simply studying in general).
These are just some examples of things you may have learned. Make note of these now because you can incorporate this into your UBE study schedule, which is discussed in our next post.
Key #3: if your score was far from passing or if you have failed the Uniform Bar Exam more than once, you may need a more drastic change.
As we mentioned in our last chapter, your Uniform Bar Exam score does not mean everything but it certainly does mean something. And, this is what we have learned from our experience helping hundreds of students pass the bar exam:
If you are close to passing the Uniform Bar Exam (say, 0–10 points away from passing) and it was your first time taking the exam, it is more likely that you can make smaller changes to your study habits and pass the bar exam the next time. (You can make drastic changes—like signing up for bar exam private tutoring or our Uniform Bar Exam Full-Service Course—especially if the bar exam is “high stakes,” meaning you never want to have to take it again.) Often, students who are close to passing but make drastic changes pass with flying colors the next exam! We have had students in our courses improve 30+ points and go from failing in every UBE jurisdiction to achieving a score that is considered passing in every UBE jurisdiction.
The closer you are, the more likely you are to being on track to pass. Perhaps you just need more time and a slightly different approach and you can pull it off. You should still take the bar exam very seriously. You should simply take comfort in the fact you are almost there!
If you are several points away from passing (especially if you scored below a 240), you likely need a more drastic change. This might include:
- Extensive bar exam private tutoring
- Signing up for a full Uniform Bar Exam Full-Service Course
- Studying earlier than the traditional bar prep study period
- Cutting back on work or taking time off work
Key #4: remember the resources at your disposal.
If you failed the Uniform Bar Exam and are trying to formulate your plan to pass the Uniform Bar Exam next time, don’t forget that you are not alone. Here are some resources that you may have at your disposal:
- Your law school. Many law schools offer programs for free (or at a reduced cost) to bar exam takers. Some do not include “repeat takers” on email LISTSERV (where they notify students of these programs). So, reach out to the academic success coordinator or director at your law school to see if any products or services are offered to repeat takers.
- Your employer. Talk to your employer about getting some time off. Explain your situation. If you work at a law firm, you may even ask your employer to contribute to your bar prep costs (some firms will happily do this!). We have had many firms pay for students to take our full UBE course. This includes both large and small firms.
- Your family and friends. Many of them will want to help you but don’t know how. Make a list of things that you could use help with—e.g., child care, chores, errands, a home cooked meal every once in a while. Or, maybe you just need them to understand that you won’t be able to make it to every family party or event while you study. Ask loved ones to contribute. We bet they will be more than happy to!
A Plan to Pass the Uniform Bar Exam: What’s Next?
Now that you have made a list of some of the changes you need to make, and some of the resources you want to tap into, it is time to formulate a more detailed study schedule that is personal to you and incorporates all of these changes. That is what we discuss next.
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