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Pros and Cons of Deferring Your Bar Exam

By August 13, 2020 October 26th, 2020 2 Comments
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With uncertainty increasing about how and when the bar exam will be given, many exam takers may be considering deferring the test. Every state is allowing takers to defer their exam to a later date when conditions may be safer for an in-person exam. This is a serious decision that no examinee should take lightly. Weigh all your options before deciding to take the test or defer it.

No matter the decision you make, AdaptiBar will be here to help you prepare. If you have questions about how your AdaptiBar account access may be affected by your decision, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our support team at or (877) 466-1250.


More time to study

  • Bar examinees might benefit from having longer time to study for the exam at their own pace. Also, if uncertainty and anxiety from the pandemic interrupted study schedules, examinees will have extra time to make up for lost studying.

The ability to take the test in person, in a safer environment

  • Examinees who have close friends or family with health risks, or examinees themselves with health risks, could defer until there is a safer, in-person testing facility.

Fewer tech risks

  • Many examinees are concerned about the technology aspect of an online bar exam. Deferring until conditions are safer could be a good option for some examinees.

If your state has allowed temporary practicing privilege, examinees can work while they wait to take their deferred exam.

  • Oregon, Washington, Utah, and Louisiana have offered diploma privilege to bar examinees who meet their criteria. However, many states have offered limited forms of diploma privilege, such as New York. Under these provisional licenses, lawyers can practice under supervision until the next administration of the bar exam. For examinees who have a job secured that requires the ability to practice, this could be a great option.



Extended amount of time studying makes it harder to “peak” on the MBE.

  • With many exams in flux, examinees may struggle to adjust their bar preparation to changing bar dates and different ways of taking the test itself. Usually, examinees can target their studying to precisely when the bar normally takes place.

If your state has NOT allowed temporary diploma privilege, examinees would NOT be able to work while they wait to take their deferred exam.

  • Many states are providing examinees with the option to practice pre-licensure under supervision until an exam can be safely administered. However, this puts many future lawyers in a difficult position. Firms and other workplaces would likely want to hire attorneys who are fully licensed. Moreover, examinees who select this option would have to prepare for the bar again, months later.

Uncertainty of when the deferred exam will take place.

  • In some states, examinees who choose to take the deferred exam will be taking the February exam. However, other states do not yet have a deferred exam date.
  • The states that have firm dates are still prospective, due to uncertainty about what kind of gatherings will be safe by February. The uncertainty could make studying and staying motivated difficult for examinees.
  • Regarding licensure, if a February exam becomes too dangerous to administer, examinees who deferred might have to continue without licensure.


This is an unprecedented time for bar examinees and boards of bar examiners alike. To make the best decision for yourself, keep in mind your priorities and the pros and cons of taking or deferring the Fall 2020 exam.

Again, AdaptiBar will be here to help regardless of when you decide to take the bar exam. We are working with our students to ensure they keep access until their chosen exam date. If you have questions about how AdaptiBar can work for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our support team at or (877) 466-1250.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Adam Brody says:

    Thank you! It comforted me!
    There are so many circumstances why we can’t always do everything on time. But I am glad of course that with your help I can pass the exam later.
    Now one of the biggest cons is uncertainty. But I hope that next year I will get my license.

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