Top Reasons People Fail the Bar Exam

November 03 2016 Bar Review News By Pieper Bar Review
Top Reasons People Fail the Bar Exam

So you spent months studying for the bar exam, and sadly you just found out you failed. We’re sure you think everyone knows—even your mailman—and is judging you for it. Maybe you're wondering, "How could this have happened? I spent months preparing for the bar!" But now you need to pick yourself up and get back to work. Remember: you're not the only one who ever failed the bar. Even famous and successful people have failed the exam (some more than once). Are you still seeking an explanation? Here are a few.

Though every person's situation is unique, people who fail the bar exam usually fall into two categories. First, you would have passed but life got in the way, and the second is that you ran out of time. Let’s look closely at these explanations and determine what you can change so you pass the next bar exam.  

So, life got in the way.

Maybe you got sick, you were dealing with family issues, or you lost someone close to you. You may have put in the right amount of time and effort, but your mind was understandably somewhere else. Sometimes life happens, and that is okay.  The most important thing you can do is continue your hard work. Keep up your extensive studying habits, and put the same effort, if not more, into taking the test the second time around. Focusing on the bar exam may be difficult for you right now, but if you sign up for a bar review course, it can help you stay focused and keep you motivated, so you can conquer the bar exam the next time.

Or maybe you ran out of time.

The second issue is one we see often: you ran out of time to study. We always stress the importance of starting to study for the bar exam months in advance. You need to have the time to relearn, understand, digest, and apply the incredible amount of material on the bar exam.

Maybe you started late, or you began studying in advance but never got around to doing the practice questions, essays, or MPTs until crunch time. You may have thought that you knew all of the content, but the real issue was that you were not as prepared as you needed to be. You probably understood the concepts from the readings, but you were unable to recall them for an essay or the multiple-choice section because you never had the chance to work everything through and apply what you learned. Sadly, nothing you could have done would have pushed back the exam and given you more time to study.

Remember these tips for next time.

So now you have about four months until the next exam date. Here's what we recommend you do when you're studying to take the bar exam again:

  • Think how much time you spent studying for the exam you failed, and now double it. You don't want to have a repeat performance. But make sure you’re being productive during those study sessions.
  • If you did not spend enough time on the practice questions, make sure you focus on them more now. But balance the amount of time you spend studying and doing practice questions so that you can excel on each section of the test.
  • Set very high expectations for yourself so you can achieve your goal: passing the bar exam.
  • Enroll in a bar review course to stay on top of your studying progress.


Pieper Bar Review offers several great courses, so you can definitely find a class that works for you. Don’t be discouraged! Pieper Bar Review is here to help you pass.

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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