After receiving disappointing bar exam results, it’s tempting for some students to delay taking the exam again. It’s especially tempting for students who failed the July bar exam to wait for the next July bar instead of re-attempting as soon as they can in February. I encourage students thinking about doing this to reconsider for a few reasons.
Often students consider opting out of taking the February bar exam in favor of the next July bar because they’ve heard that the February bar is more difficult than the July bar. Thankfully, this is only a myth. The February bar exam is not designed to be any more difficult than the July bar, and it’s not graded any differently either. The key difference between the February and July bar is that there’s a larger amount of repeaters taking the February bar exam than in July, which is what affects the statistics and makes the test seem like it might be more difficult.
Another important thing to keep in mind is your ability to draw on material you learned in law school in preparation for the bar exam. The further you get away from when the material was still fresh to you, the less likely you are to retain information that can be valuable when taking the bar exam.
In making your decision about when to take the bar exam, it’s also helpful to ask yourself if you’re procrastinating. Procrastinating on something as important as taking the bar exam can easily lead to losing that sense of urgency you once had about taking the exam. You don’t want putting the exam off to become a pattern.
Finally, determine if the reason you’re considering waiting out the next bar exam is because you haven’t fully processed the disappointment that came with not passing. Understandably, this is a letdown and no one is going to downplay that aspect of it, but you have to remind yourself of your goals and get back on the horse, as they say. Giving yourself the soonest opportunity to pass the exam is definitely one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself to get back on track and moving towards the success you deserve.
(For more advice on what to do after failing the bar exam, you can watch our YouTube video on how to bounce back.)