failed the bar exam

Do I need a tutor if I failed the bar exam?

If you failed the bar exam, you may consider hiring a bar exam tutor. There are a few factors to consider (which you can also find in our guide to hiring a bar exam tutor here). In this post, we specifically discuss whether you should hire a tutor if you failed the bar exam.

Do I need a tutor if I failed the bar exam?

The below factors are all things you should take time to reflect on if you are considering hiring a tutor.

Factor #1: How Many Points You were Away from a Passing Score.  

Are you close to passing or is your score quite far from passing?

For example, if you failed the bar exam by less than ten points in a Uniform Bar Exam state, you may be able to “get by” without a tutor. (You may still choose to hire one, but the need may not be as dire, especially if you are disciplined, hard-working, and willing to change your approach!)

If you failed the bar exam by more than ten points, it is worth considering a tutor. If you failed by a substantial amount (e.g. 40+ points), a tutor may be of great benefit to you.

This, of course, is only one factor to take into account. However, it is very important to seriously consider your score.  If you have only failed the bar exam once, this is sometimes the most important factor to consider.

Factor #2: How many times you have taken the bar exam.

If you have taken the bar exam and failed it once before, you could likely benefit from a tutor to ensure that you pass the second time; however you are less likely to need a tutor (especially if you received a relatively high score) than someone who has taken the bar exam several times.

If you have taken the bar exam twice, three, four, or more times, you should strongly consider retaining a bar exam tutor. The more times you have failed the bar exam, the more you could benefit from a tutor. A tutor can give you a different approach to the bar exam, give you a deeper understanding of the law, and help you to make the most of your study time. After all, if you do the exact same thing to prepare for every bar exam you should not expect to get a dramatically different score. A tutor may be just the change you need to change your bar exam score to a passing one.

Note: we have some students who come to us who have taken the bar exam five or more times and have been within five or ten points of passing the bar exam (but have not passed it!) each time. If you are in this boat, you should strongly consider hiring a tutor to get past the bar exam once and for all! You do not want to spend years of your life taking the bar exam, especially when you are so close to passing!

Factor #3: Other Circumstances. 

Lastly, it is important to look at how you prepared and the bar exam day itself!

Bar Exam Preparation Period: Did you have adequate time to prepare? Did you have to work a lot? Did you have family emergencies or unplanned-for occurrences? For example, if a relative died the month before the bar exam, perhaps you did not prepare as well as you otherwise would have.

Bar Exam Day: Did you have a bad bar exam day? Were you sick? Could you not sleep? Did you not finish the test? We have had some students who struggled with timing or anxiety so badly that they did not even answer half the essay questions! So, their scores were artificially low on the bar exam.

After you consider your circumstances for the last bar exam, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Question #1: Did these extenuating circumstances truly affect how you did the bar exam? Working full time during your preparation period or having the stomach flu on the days you took the bar exam may have seriously affected your score.
  2. Question #2: Will your situation change by the time you prepare for or take the next bar exam?

If working full time really caused you to not put in the time to study, can you work less? If so, this may reduce the likelihood of you needing a tutor. If you will be working the same amount, you likely need a tutor.

Another thing to consider is circumstances for the upcoming bar exam. If you took the full two months off for bar prep the first time you took the exam and failed and now you are working full time and you cannot take time off, this weighs in favor of you acquiring a tutor.

Factor #3: Your personality.

Another factor to consider is your personality. If you are hard-working, disciplined, and willing to be analytical about your approach to the bar exam, you are less likely to need a bar exam tutor.

But, if any of the following strongly appeal to you, you should consider a tutor:

  • A study schedule
  • Regular check-ins to make sure you are on track
  • A “coach” and mentor
  • Essay feedback and grading
  • A fresh approach so you don’t feel like you are running in circles, doing the same thing over and over!
  • New materials
  • Someone you can go to to ask questions
  • Someone to encourage you

Some of our students don’t “need” a tutor but strongly prefer to have one because they crave the accountability, encouragement, or a new approach to the bar exam. So this factor is also important to consider.

If you are looking for a tutor, check out our bar exam private tutoring services here!

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