Bar Exam Basics: What If I Failed?

Bar Exam Basics: What If I Failed?

Bar Exam Basics: What If I Failed?

Every law student is worth more than their ability to pass or fail the bar exam. Let’s get that straight. The bar exam does not define your self-worth. If you failed; it’s over and done. The next course of action after forgetting the past result is planning your preparation for passing the test the next time that you take it. If you dread the fact that you must take it again, then consider that you have the experience of just having experienced it. Remember what you did well and what was problematic. Use this knowledge as an outline to your preparation.

Once you acknowledge it has nothing to do with determining your self-worth, remember it’s just a test that can be retaken as many times as necessary, and the worst has already happened. It’s likely that it’s not either a matter of studying “more” or studying “differently” but some of both. Refine your study methods and sharpen your study habits.

Speaking of test anxiety, it can cause you to get overexcited and simply not be calm enough to cover all the material. It’s one thing to review the material, it’s another to understand and memorize it. Focus on an approach to studying that reduces your test anxiety.

It may be a safe bet to take the approach that you should prepare differently this time for the test. It’s fairly logical that if you prepare exactly the same way you did for the test that you failed, you will be unsuccessful.

Here are some questions on which you can reflect to help you better prepare.

  • Which subjects do you know well? If a subject isn’t on this list, it’s on the next.
  • For which subjects do you believe you are still unprepared?
  • Do you understand the law well enough? Which areas of the law do you really understand?
  • Did you spend enough time memorizing outlines? If you believe that you did, you may need to improve your memorization techniques. Consider the next question.
  • Do you have good memorization techniques?
  • What is your method for improving performance on essay questions?
  • Do you spend enough time on outlining essays?
  • Do you answer enough essay questions?
  • What is your MBE strategy?
  • Do you study actual released bar exam questions or course-invented questions?
  • Do you complete enough MBE questions? (several hundred is recommended)


Consider your answers to these questions. Determine your strengths and weaknesses. Make a study schedule. Consider and utilize the resources that are available. First and foremost, don’t give up.

The California Desert Trial Academy helps students prepare for the bar exam. We look at the bar exam as a challenge rather than an obstacle. The California Desert Trial Academy was founded with a progressive vision of legal education. This vision includes the maximum utilization of technology to help students achieve their professional goals. At CDTA, we train, educate, and develop students to be exceptional attorneys and trial advocates. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.





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