How to Pass the Bar Exam as a Repeat Taker

There’s no sugarcoating it—failing the bar exam is a setback. You’ve already invested a lot of time and money preparing, and the thought of doing that again probably isn’t a pleasant one. One of the worst things you can do, however, is simply repeat the way you prepared in the past. Repeat takers that fail the bar exam often do so because they don’t undergo any meaningful reflection or make necessary adjustments from exam to exam.

Instead of repeating mistakes, put yourself on the path to success with these three tips for passing the bar exam on your next attempt.

  1. Run a Thorough Postmortem

When you learned that you didn’t pass the bar, you might have been tempted to throw your results in the trash and avoid thinking about what went wrong. While this instinct is understandable, it’s the wrong one if you want to pass on your next attempt! Instead, you should reflect on what went wrong. Combing through your score report for issues is a good start. You should also think about the day itself: Did you get enough sleep? Did something happen on the way to the exam to throw you off?

If possible, request your bar exam essays from your jurisdiction so you can review them and figure out your strengths and weaknesses.

  1. Points Are Available—So Find Them!

The bar exam covers so many different topics that you can’t be an expert on all of them. However, you should look at the areas where you didn’t do so well as opportunities to gain points the next time around. If you find yourself surprised by which subjects you did well on and which went poorly, that may be a sign that you’re not evaluating your progress as well as you should be while studying. 

  1. Make the Necessary Adjustments for Success

Failing the bar exam is a clear sign that at least some things about the way you prepared need to change. Your study strategy failed you once. If you use the exact same strategy and plan to succeed the second time around, well, you should expect a similar result! Instead, be prepared to change the way you study. These changes might be related to your lifestyle, like taking time off work and/or adjusting your bar exam study schedule.

You will also want to change how you study for your next bar exam. This might mean doing more practice questions, honing your writing skills, and/or reallocating your time among subjects. Every year, many repeat bar takers pass the bar exam on their next attempt. By making a few necessary changes, you can pass too!