failed the baby bar exam, Useful Bar Exam Study Materials

I Failed the Baby Bar Exam. What Should I Do?

If you failed the baby bar exam, you are not alone. The baby bar exam typically has about a 20% pass rate! Here are five actionable steps to take to succeed on the baby bar exam the next time around!

I Failed the Baby Bar Exam. What Should I Do?

1. Remember what the baby bar exam measures…and what it does not measure.

The baby bar exam measures….well, how well you can analyze a very particular set of baby bar exam questions.

The baby bar exam does NOT measure how intelligent you are.

It does NOT measure how hardworking you are.

It does NOT measure how successful you’ll be.

It does NOT measure how good of an attorney you’ll be.

It literally measures how well you performed on a particular set of baby bar exam questions.

Note that highly successful people fail the bar exam. Even Kamala Harris failed the bar exam!  This just goes to show that failing the bar exam does not doom your career. It is just an obstacle that you will surpass!

Most people who find out they failed the baby bar exam feel a combination of embarrassment, sadness, angry, resentful, and hopelessness. It might be the very first time you have ever failed anything! But, it does not define who you are and it does not measure anything that matters. It is, however, an opportunity to build courage, strength, and resilience. It is an opportunity to grow as you prepare to pass the next baby bar.

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars” – Martin Luther King, Jr. 

2. Commit to changing your approach. 

If you look at the baby bar exam pass rate statistics, you can see that repeat takers virtually always have a lower pass rate than first-time takers. Sometimes it is substantially lower. (For the October 2019 baby bar exam, for example, 29.5% of first-time takers passed and only 14.9% of repeat takers passed).

I am not saying this to scare you!

You are not a statistic. So the statistics do not indicate how you, personally, will perform on the bar exam.

I am saying this because I want to emphasize how important it is to change your approach.

It sounds obvious. But the biggest reason that repeat takers pass at a lower rate than first-time takers is that they keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. (No wonder Einstein said that was the definition of insanity!)

For example:

  • If you used Barbri the last time (or last two or three times), don’t use it again (at least not in the same way!)
  • If you only studied for three weeks, try six weeks!
  • If you used one set of outlines,  try a different set of outlines
  • If you didn’t memorize for the last exam, try a different memorization approach this time
  • If you only completed 5 essays last time, try 50 this time!
  • If you worked solo, consider getting a baby bar tutor!

If you do what you did, you’ll get what you got! 

If you want different results, you have to try a different approach!

And note: this does not mean you have to randomly change things about the way you study. Instead, look at what worked and what didn’t. Be thoughtful about the changes you make. But be willing to change anything and everything, if necessary.

(Note: We highly recommend making changes so that you can capitalize on your strengths while improving your weaknesses. If you took the baby bar exam and would like additional information on how to dissect your score report, please see this post!)

3. Set up a study schedule. 

You will feel much better once you have a study schedule in place. I promise. It will feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

So, set up a schedule. First figure out how long you will study for (six weeks is ideal in many cases, but you may benefit from a longer or shorter timeframe).

Next, set up a general plan in terms of which subjects you want to review. For example, if you are studying for six weeks, you may do something like this:

  • Week 1: Contracts
  • Week 2: Torts
  • Week 3: Criminal Law
  • Week 4: (whichever subjects/topics need more review)
  • Week 5: Review and practice
  • Week 6: Review and practice

(Note, if you take our advice and get a tutor, a tutor can help you set up a great study schedule that is tailored to you!)

You will also want to plan out ahead of time exactly how many multiple-choice and essay questions you want to answer. For example, it may be your goal to answer 1,000 multiple-choice questions and 30 essays. Divide these up accordingly. Perhaps you want to answer 150 multiple-choice questions the first four weeks, for example, and 200 the last two weeks.

4. Use the memorize & apply study strategy 

Don’t forget to work in this order.

Memorize THEN apply.

You have to memorize the law first. Don’t dive into practice questions. You will be wasting your time if you don’t know the law.

Once you feel like you have a good enough understanding and knowledge of the law, then move on to the application portion. Apply what you know to practice questions. So, if you are following the weekly schedule above, for the first half of the week you will want to focus on reviewing and memorizing your outline. The latter half of the week should be focused more on answering practice questions.

5. Stay positive. 

If you failed the baby bar exam, you will inevitably feel a degree of disappointment, anger, embarrassment, sadness, or all of the above. It is important that you allow yourself to feel these emotions so you can move past them. After a day or a few days, however, it is time to move on. Learn from the past but don’t dwell on it. You have so many great things to look forward to in the future! (…The first of which is conquering this exam!)

Looking for more baby bar help?

Check out our FREE baby bar exam guide here!

Check out our great baby bar exam one-sheets here!

Learn more about tutoring here!

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