Disappointment with bar exam results–what now?

Bar results came out last Friday and I know some of you were disappointed. If you are reading this post you most likely didn’t get the bar exam results you expected. I’m sorry. It really sucks to have to do this again. Nobody wants to spend another few months preparing for the exam. I know–I have worked with 1,000’s of repeaters and none of them are happy about doing it again. The good news is that no matter what happened before you can pass the bar exam time around. That begs the question: What now?

It’s really important to get right back at it. Like learning to ride a bike, if you fall off, you have to get back on. Don’t be afraid of it. The disappointment may be overwhelming and you may need to mourn for a while, I understand. This was traumatic. Cry, scream, do whatever you have to do, but then you have to get back on the bike. The next test is just around the corner, so don’t waste time, relieve your disappointment with determination and start anew.

Take a good long look at what you did in the past and evaluate why it failed you. Did you not do the work? Was the study process wrong for you? Did life’s circumstances get in your way? Once you’ve taken this inventory, change the process. Find a method that works better for you. Find a way to be more productive and effective this time around.

Figure out what the bar is looking for. It doesn’t ask that you be an expert on the law, it asks that you be proficient. The bar exam is about demonstrating your fluency in the language of the law. The bar wants to see if you can analyze a basic fact pattern so that you can identify legal issues and then apply the facts to the proper rules of law in order to resolve the issue. This is true regardless of the testing technique. Essays, MBE questions and performance tests all require this skill. They may be tested differently but the goal is the same: are you fluent in the language of the law? If you are, you pass. If you aren’t, you don’t.

However you choose to study make sure you practice, practice and practice some more. You need to talk about the questions, think about what the bar is looking for and become proficient at taking the exam. This requires practice, feedback and more practice. If you aren’t practicing, you aren’t effectively studying.

Finally, remember, you can do this. Nobody believes that they can be a lawyer if they haven’t already proven that they are bright. In the many years of school you attended, you always performed well. You made into and through law school. You are smart enough to be a lawyer. This is just another test and you have taken hundreds of them in your life and you’ve always passed. Why not now? There isn’t a reason. Believe you can and you will.