Taking The Bar Exam A Second Time? What You Really Need To Know

Whether you are retaking the exam for the second, third, or even the twelfth time — the first step to success on the upcoming exam is the same.

If you were unsuccessful on the bar exam and you have to take it again, you may be feeling a wave of emotions — from embarrassment to helplessness to resentment.  This wave is common and understandable when facing the reality of starting over. Although it is justifiable to feel this way, staying stuck in negative emotions can result in further setback. They are potential landmines lying in the way of you being successful this time.

You need to take the exam again, so the best thing you can do to fix all of the above negative feelings is to ensure you pass this time. Once you do, any anger and resentment you have about the previous failure or failures will magically disappear. You will see that as an admitted attorney, no one cares how many times you took the bar exam or what your scores were. Trust us.

These are the keys you need to make your next shot at the bar exam your last:

START by analyzing your score report to understand why you failed the bar exam. WE CAN HELP YOU WITH THIS.

The first thing that you really need to do before you begin diving into studying all over again is to devise a game plan. The game plan must be individualized to you. Not everyone failed the exam for the same reason. Your bar results will provide a well trained eye the ability to see where you went astray on the exam and specifically where you need to improve. Unfortunately, many test takers do not understand the numbers and misinterpret their scores. If you haven’t already done so, you can submit your bar exam score sheet here to have one of our experienced bar exam consultants review your scores at no charge and give you detailed guidance in studying for the next bar exam.

CONSIDER how you are going to study for the next bar exam.

This is by far the most important factor to consider when getting ready to retake the bar exam. While some students are going to be at a disadvantage based on their prior scores and test-taking aptitude, preparation can and often is the real difference maker. Studying for the exam the same way you did before is almost always a big mistake. A new approach is required and for repeat exam takers this does not necessarily mean learning more law, but rather learning how to attain the skills necessary to master the different sections of the exam. Consider taking a course specifically designed for retaker students that will teach you the test-taking strategies that your first course did not show you.


Focus on your strengths and make sure you maximize your score on your strong subjects. The Rule against Perpetuities is rarely tested. So don’t go nuts trying to figure it out. On the other hand, two thirds of the Torts MBE questions will be on negligence — so make sure you master the rules of negligence! Focus on the major topics to maximize your points. If you cannot nail down every single nuance of subtopics, especially those not frequently tested, that’s fine — just move on from them.


When you took the bar exam previously, you probably used a course and tried to figure out what to do on your own, based on a schedule. But you did not have someone with bar exam experience to personally guide you. A good bar exam tutor can provide this, among other things. Working with an experienced tutor can significantly increase your chances of passing the bar exam. The right tutor can make your schedule and keep you on track. If you are having trouble with a particular section of the exam, or a particular substantive topic, a tutor can evaluate your skills and give you strategies and methods for improving your proficiency. A tutor can help drill you on the rules of law and give you personal feedback on your Essays, MPTs, and MBE problems. A tutor has an objective eye and can be an effective resource to increase your odds of passing the next bar exam.


Exam takers have a tendency to prioritize the MBE section of the exam. It is easy to do a lot of practice questions and see how well you did instantaneously. This approach to studying falls short and doesn’t encompass the whole exam. In bar exam states that administer the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) essays, and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) section make up 50 percent of your grade. With both written sections, you need a method to practice. In the beginning, instead of completing full essays, outline the answers and focus on getting the method down. During the last few weeks, however, you must write essays and MPTs to completion. The written section is not just about issue spotting.  It also tests how you resolve the problem at hand and assesses your analytical skills.

Feel free to send your score report if you need any help understanding exactly what went wrong and how to fix it so that you can pass the next bar exam. Or you can just email your score report to [email protected] to receive an entirely free evaluation.

Remember we are here to help. We wish you good luck and success on the upcoming bar exam!

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