How to Retake the Bar Exam and Pass

How to Retake the Bar Exam and Pass (1).png

Updated April 27, 2020. Originally published May 1, 2018. 

After all of the sacrifices you made last fall and winter, you’ve learned that you didn’t pass the Uniform Bar Exam and now face the daunting task of re-taking the exam. Hang in there. The pain of not passing gets (a little) more bearable each day, and with a few more months of hard work, you will pass the exam in September.

Although the bar is anything but easy to pass, that doesn’t make failing any less disappointing. Remember, though, there are plenty of people who are or have been in the same situation as you. Hillary Clinton, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Michelle Obama all failed their bar exams on the first try as well.

You're not alone and there's still a lot you should be proud of yourself for. Not everyone can get into or graduate from law school, so don't get discouraged. The key is to dust yourself off, determine where you lost points, and then start studying for the next exam. 


Understanding Your Score

It can be difficult to start studying again if you don't know where you went wrong the last time. That's why it's important to understand your scoreIf you don't bother to do so, there's a good chance you could make the same mistakes you did in February. 

With respect to the written portion of the exam (essays and MPTs), you’ll be looking for a total scaled score of 133 or higher. If you didn't achieve that, then your written average weighed down your overall score. You’re looking to achieve a 133 scaled score or better on the MBE as well. By going through each of your essay scores and your MBE percentile rankings for each topic (remember, higher numbers are better with “% Below Nationally” and numbers above 30 are actually helping your score), you'll get an idea of where you struggled and what subjects need the most attention. 

So Learn From Your Mistakes

As mentioned above, the results of the last UBE contain valuable information showing what sections of the exam you excelled in and which need improvement. This information can help you figure out what you should concentrate on as you prepare again.

For example, if you took the exam in New York or any other jurisdiction that requires a passing score of 266 and your MBE scaled score was below 133, your MBE was weighing you down. If you took the exam in Alaska, which requires a 280 UBE score, any MBE scaled score below 140 was weighing you down. Based on these results, you'd know you need to focus additional time on improving your process-of-elimination skills—that could be the difference between passing the bar and taking it once more. It could, however, be your Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) that needs improvement. This section makes up 30 percent of the UBE. If this is the case, you will need to focus additional time on your essay-writing skills. Keep in mind as you plan for this winter's exam, though, that you'll need to do more than just improve upon your weaknesses.  You’ll also need to maintain and improve upon your strengths. Studying strictly to improve your MBE score won't benefit you if you let your MEE or MPT scores decline in the process. Balance is essential.     


A short message from Pieper Bar Review Founder and instructor John Pieper

And Put Your Plan into Action

After pinpointing where you made the majority of your mistakes on the last exam, jump right back into studying, as the next exam is right around the corner. Taking another UBE review course would be most beneficial to you. And while you may be tempted to take the bar review course you previously did for free, do you really want to risk failing again?

Maybe it’s time for a change.

You can start studying today with Pieper Bar Review. You’ll get immediate access to our UBE lecture videos so you can get a head start in the areas where you struggled most, and be up to speed on those topics when our courses begin. Plus, our team of attorneys can help guide you with managing any study time you have before class starts.

Pieper Bar Review’s UBE review course is led by knowledgeable instructors who cover every topic that will appear on the exam—from torts and constitutional law to conflicts of laws and UCC Article 9—and offer tips to master each section. Our essay-writing and MPT workshops teach you how to organize your answers in order to ensure that you are maximizing your scores, and you’ll have the opportunity to submit your written assignments to be analyzed by our team of top attorneys.  Our mnemonic devices will help you recall the law more efficiently than ever before, and our breakdowns of MBE questions will help you conquer the exam. With more than four decades of sharing our legal expertise with students, we not only know the bar exam inside and out, but we also appreciate how stressed students can get as they prepare for it. This is why we don’t just teach the information, but rather guide our students, providing them with endless support and advice through various resources, such as our tutoring services.

The UBE Question of the Day

whether you are retaking the bar exam with Pieper or any other review course, you can start studying by subscribing to our Question of the Day. Every morning, you’ll receive one bar exam question with a detailed explanation as to why your response is correct or incorrect.

We want you to be fully equipped to take on the UBE and pass with flying colors. The skills you’ll learn with Pieper will prepare you for the UBE and set you on your way to finally starting your career.

As a repeat student the Full Bar Review Course is available to you at a discounted rate of $1,595.00. Click here to reserve your seat.


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About the author

Pieper Bar Review

For over forty years, Pieper Bar Review has taught students the legal concepts and skills necessary for success on the bar exam, and reinforced students’ knowledge through thought provoking examples and bar exam questions. The proof that the Pieper teaching method works is found in the success of our former students – now present-day attorneys. Learn more

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