Originally published March 24, 2016. Updated March 11, 2020.
You’re two weeks removed from the February Bar Exam. It’s done! You can officially breathe again.
So, what should you do while you wait to find out your results?
It’s likely going to be more than a month before you learn how you did. For reference, the February bar results came out in New York on April 24 last year, and April 25 in 2018.
Should you look for a job or prepare for the Uniform Bar Exam in July in case you didn’t pass? Everything’s been full-speed ahead since you started law school, so slowing down may not feel right.
Having said that, you deserve to take a moment and acknowledge all of the hard work and dedication that brought you here. Not everyone can do what you did: get accepted to law school, graduate, and make it as far as taking the bar exam.
Here are some things to do as you await the results.
Take a Break
Hopefully you’ve taken some time to clear your head after the exam. Even if you think that you failed, giving yourself a break is the best thing you can do right after the test.
You just dealt with a lot of stress studying for the bar exam, so jumping right back into review mode is the worst possible idea.
Don’t worry about your results. There’s nothing you can do to make them come any faster. But there are several productive ways you can distract yourself over the next few months.
After you have some time to recover and regroup, one way to pass the time is to start looking for a job, although it’s best to try to line one up before you graduate law school. Many law firms won’t hire recent graduates who haven’t yet passed the bar exam, but if they like you, they may ask you to let them know when you get your results so they can offer you a position then.
If you are particularly worried that you didn’t pass the exam, you can start to ease your way back into the material.
Perhaps you could take a look at your notes on one multi-state subject each week before you get your results, but don’t go crazy. As you know, preparing for the bar exam is a long process, and you’ll need to build momentum and intensity as the exam approaches. You won’t want to take on too much early on and then burn out by the beginning of June.
You could also practice an MPT each week before the results come out. Remember, on the UBE, there are two MPTs and they count for 20 percent of your score, so you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for them by July.
If You Pass
The first thing you’ll need to do is celebrate! Then, it will be time to get down to business. Don’t forget that you must fill out the proper paperwork (i.e. Admission Application) and be granted admission to the bar by the State Board of Law Examiners before you can start practicing law. Get started on your application right away! The sooner you are admitted, the sooner you can start practicing.
If you’re fortunate enough to be employed, keep your bosses apprised of your application status. Once you have a license, they can start giving you “real” work and more responsibility so you can start to build your career.
If you’re still on the job hunt even after you pass the bar exam, it’s time to move full-speed ahead once again. Updating your resumé to highlight bar passage and pending admission will make you more marketable to law firms.
The more jobs you apply for, the more likely you’ll find a position and be able to put your legal knowledge to work.
If You Fail
Thankfully, failing the bar exam isn’t the end of the world. Excruciating? Yes. Disappointing and frustrating? Absolutely. A catastrophe? Hardly.
The key is to figure out where you went wrong. Maybe you didn’t spend as much time reviewing the material as you should have. Maybe you focused too much on reading over your notes and not enough time answering actual bar exam questions.
Finding the best bar review courses can give you a major advantage.
Not only will they thoroughly go over all of the material you’ll need to know both for the bar and your future career as a lawyer, but they will help you to master the actual exam.
Some people don’t have any trouble absorbing the material, but they may fall short when it comes to answering test questions under pressure. Having a team of experts in your corner as you prepare to take the bar exam can make the difference between failing again and passing with flying colors.
Good luck! We wish you the best.