I Failed the New York Bar Exam. Now What?

October 02 2015 Bar Review News By Pieper Bar Review
I Failed the New York State Bar Exam. Now What?

You failed the bar exam. What now?

The results came in an email. The news was nothing less than excruciating. You failed the New York State bar exam.

After a week or two of feeling like you’ve been kicked in the stomach and the whole world is staring at you, you need to take two courses of action: figure out how to read your score sheet to discover why you failed, and come up with a game-plan for passing the next Uniform Bar Exam.

The first action is more difficult than you might have anticipated. It turns out that law school could teach a course in deciphering bar exam score sheets. However, you are in luck because we can help.

With respect to the written portion of the exam, on the right hand side of the score sheet where it indicates the weighted score, the ideal score would be 332.5 or better. This is not a “cut-off” for passing —332.5 is simply half of a passing score of 665. The written average (MPT and 5 essays) counts for half of the points available on the exam (500 points out of 1000). Essentially, students need a 48.5 on each essay and the MPT, which would get them to the 332.5.

On the NYMC, a score of 66.5 or better is ideal. On the MBE, a 266 or better is the target (266 is 40% of 665.)

If your scores suggest, for example, that your writing needs improvement, be aware that you can still pick up points on any section of the exam to improve the overall score. Therefore, it is essential to take a balanced approach to studying for the bar exam and start blocking off as much time as possible to study.

Your biggest ally in passing the exam is time, so start thinking about things you can do to free up your schedule as much as possible over the next few months, especially as the exam approaches. The more time you have to study the material and practice bar exam questions (as torturous as that is), the better your chances of making this the last time you take the exam.

We also strongly encourage you to take a full bar review course again. If Feburary was your first time taking the exam, it’s likely that you may be entitled to a free course from Pieper, BarBri, or Kaplan. If so, you need to do some soul searching to figure out what is going to help you learn the material better than you’ve ever known it before. That may very well mean that switching courses may be your best option, even if it costs you money. After all, how much is that course worth to you if you don’t end up passing the February exam? What are you really saving?

The time, expense, and emotional capital that you invest in re-taking the New York State bar exam is considerable. While you can save cash by enrolling in a course that failed you for free, what is it going to cost you in time? What will be different about the course this time that will propel you to a passing score that it didn’t last time?

If you have failed the bar exam, and feel like your bar review program failed you, it is worth it to invest in a new program that will give you a comprehensive course that will get you ready for the next exam. If you fail again, what did you save?

At Pieper Bar Review, we take a personal approach to helping you understand what parts you will need to strengthen in order to get to a passing score. As the most respected bar review program in New York, our staff is adept at teaching students how to achieve success on the New York bar exam.

We can get you on track to pass the exam once and for all. Remember, Pieper People Pass.

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The following video is John Pieper’s discussion of the July 2015 New York Bar Exam and how to prepare to prepare to re-take the exam in February 2016.


The following document is the handout to which John Pieper refers in the video above.

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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