Originally published August 25, 2017. Updated November 4, 2019.
It's the moment of truth. Your phone alerts you to that long-awaited email from the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). And then your heart sinks. It reads: "We regret to inform you..." Instantly, you know: You failed the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE).
The initial feeling is no doubt gut-wrenching. After your mind races for explanations—"How did this happen?" "What about all the hours I spent studying?"—it's important to collect yourself and take a moment to realize that one failed test is hardly an indicator that the law is not for you. It's only natural to be upset and frustrated, and experience doubts. But the most important thing is to not give up, because you're not alone. Thousands of students across the country (and even notable people) have received the same deflating email.
So, the question becomes: "What do I do now?"
Take Some Time For Yourself
You dedicated countless hours to studying and preparing for the UBE. Regardless of your results, you deserve a break. Take some time to decompress before deciding what to do next.
Review Your Bar Exam Results
Reviewing your bar exam results is important. Since you receive your scaled Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) and Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) scores, you'll have a precise understanding of the sections in which you excelled, as well as those in which you had disappointing results. This will help you discover why you failed the first time and what you need to focus on to increase your chances of passing the next attempt.
Commit To Retaking The Bar Exam
Without committing fully to retaking the UBE, it's unlikely your performance will improve from the first time around. Understand that gearing up for a second crack at the bar exam will require even more work. You must be willing to dedicate additional hours to studying, and practice exams, to pass the second time. Make sure you're 100 percent ready to hit the books before deciding to take the UBE again.
Make A Plan
Before committing entirely to another Uniform Bar Exam, it's helpful to create a strategic plan. You'll have a lot of work ahead of you, so mapping out how to accomplish certain goals will make the process that much easier to handle.
Among the things to consider is your initial experience preparing for and taking the UBE the first time:
- Do you wish you had prepared differently?
- Were there topics you wish you spent more time studying for?
- Which laws did you have trouble applying on the exam?
Now think about your results and the sections you need to improve upon. You should take all of these observations from your first experience and use them to help create a plan to ensure you pass when you retake the UBE.
Choose A Bar Review Course
Yes, you should take bar review again. Just because you failed with the help of bar review the first time doesn't mean you should prepare to retake the UBE alone, without such important preparation. Decide which bar review course works best for you, whether it's re-enrolling in a previous course, or exploring other options that might help eliminate your previous mistakes. If you felt the bar review you took wasn't helpful, perhaps it'd be best to identify a course and program tailored to your needs.
Pieper Can Help
Failing the bar exam is incredibly disappointing, but think of it as a speed bump on a long journey, rather than an insurmountable obstacle impeding your path. People fail the UBE on their first attempt more often than you think, so don't be discouraged. We can help.
At Pieper Bar Review, we offer more lecture time than any other course in order to ensure a comprehensive understanding of every single topic and law expected to appear on each exam. Unlike the Kaplans and Barbris of the world, we focus on note-taking, so students stay engaged and retain the information they learn during lecture sessions.
If it's the MBE you need to improve on, we provide you with everything you'll require to be successful the second time around. Students receive 1,500 practice questions, including every actual exam question released by the National Conference of Bar Examiners within the past 10 years. Students are required to complete multiple-choice assignments that reinforce course material and improve test-taking skills.
We can also help you improve your MEE score. When you register with Pieper, you're automatically enrolled into our essay-writing workshop, where you'll learn everything you need to succeed on the MEE. You'll complete 12 essays and five MPTs that are graded by a professional staff of attorneys. While competitors may provide automated comments and a numerical grade, these experts weigh in with extensive written comments on the content and the organization of your essays, to help you improve.
Remember: Pieper people pass!