Didn't pass the bar exam? Here is some tough love

According to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, 42% of those who took the bar exam nationwide in 2019 did not pass. During the last 19 years, 2008 had the best statistics with “only” 29% of bar exam takers nationwide not passing. Worse yet, the odds of passing after failing the first time are grim.

All this to say, the system is flawed. How can it be that even after successfully graduating from law school and completing our bar prep courses, we have such a high percentage of bar exam takers who do not pass? Yes, there are less than stellar universities in the country. Yes, there are individuals who do not take their studies or the bar exam seriously.  

I venture to say these are not the reasons people are failing the bar exam in such high numbers.  The bottom line is I went from not passing the bar exam the first time to passing it in three states by leveraging the power I had to boost my score in the written portion of the bar exam.  Once I realized I had more CONTROL over my score in the written portion of the bar exam, it was a game-changer.  

On the multiple choice, there are just too many variables outside of our control. The only thing you can do is pick what you think is the correct answer.  The good news is that on the essays and performance test, you have the POWER to show bar exam graders you are ready to go out into the world as a practicing attorney. You have the POWER to craft a high scoring answer. You have the POWER to impress bar exam graders with your writing and lawyering skills.

Many bar exam takers do not invest the time and effort it takes to improve their answers on the written portion of the bar exam so much that they see a boost in their score.  First, many already consider themselves good writers. After all, they already know how to IRAC and they did well on law school finals. Second, many “don’t have the time” to work on improving their answers on the essays and performance test because they have many responsibilities including work, family, friends, and exercising. They just want to pass!  Finally, some don’t want to take the effort it takes to improve their answers on the written portion of the bar exam because it is easier to practice multiple choice questions on an app with a fancy algorithm while standing in line at Starbucks. (Yes, you. I’m talking to you.)

Don’t get me wrong. I love those apps! But remember this, the written portion of the bar exam accounts for 50% of your score. It is just as important as the MBE. Why not focus your time and effort on the area of the bar exam where you have more CONTROL over your score and the outcome?  Points are points! It doesn’t matter where they come from. All that matters is you earn them so you can pass the bar exam. 

 

Yohanna Romero Baca is Founder of Bar Exam Coaching by Yohanna. She went from not passing the bar exam the first time to licensed attorney in three states by boosting her score on the written portion of the exam. Now she helps hard-working, driven individuals do the same. If you are serious about making this one the last time you take the bar exam, sign up for her free training here.

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