If you found out that you didn’t pass the bar exam, like many people, you may be wondering what to do next. After everything you went through to study for the bar, this is likely to be a discouraging moment. The toll the bar exam takes on your schedule, as well as your mental and financial well-being, is daunting. Let alone a second or third attempt.
That’s why preparing your mind and your body for success is vital. If you decide you are retaking the bar exam, here are five tips for passing once and for all.
1. Decide When Retaking the Bar Exam is Right for You
After deciding to retake the bar exam, you may have the impulse to sign up for the very next bar exam. However, it is important to consider whether this is the right time for you to retake the bar exam. Will you be working during that time? Living in a calm environment? Are there any other factors that might affect your overall study quality? Will you have enough time to study as much as you need? Do you have any pivotal life events that could get in the way of your studying (wedding, surgery, long vacation)?
Take a step back to assess when the timing will be right. If you take some time to make this decision, you’ll go back to studying with less stress and more direction.
2. Study Smarter, Not Harder for the bar exam
While you may believe you don’t need to study certain areas of law again because you had them down last time, it is important to review everything again to ensure full retention of information. Maybe you felt like you owned Torts. That doesn’t necessarily mean you will during the next bar exam. Regularly review past subjects to maximize the information stored in your long-term memory before retaking the bar exam.
Quality vs. Quantity
You may want to cram every day until the exam. Remove the urge to do this altogether by planning ahead. Buy a paper calendar and plan out your daily studying. A sample day might read, “Review outline on Contracts Formation and watch the video lecture”. Only you know what type of learner you are (e.g., audio, or visual, solitude or social). Make sure the plan you make is attainable and utilizes forms of studying that work best for you. For example, videos or study sessions with classmates.
If you struggled with timing the last time, chances are you took too much time on questions you struggled with. Having a timer present while quizzing yourself gives you an idea of how long you take on each question. AdaptiBar helps you manage your time, so you know when you perform at your very best. On the MBE, you have 1.8 minutes to answer each question. AdaptiBar reflects the tension of exam-day test conditions and monitors the time it takes you to answer each question. This allows you to develop and refine your internal timing. With AdaptiBar’s Timing Performance, you can calculate your sweet spot where you answer questions with the greatest accuracy. We can make this extremely stressful portion of the bar the last thing to worry about on the big day.
3. Sound Mind + Sound Body = Retaking and Passing the bar exam
Eating junk food and watching until 1 AM every once in a while can be fun and relaxing. However, when we don’t get used to a regular routine, we’re not setting ourselves up for success. Try to move your body with some sort of exercise 3-4 times a week. Whatever you have time for will be better for your mind and body than a sedentary lifestyle.
Cooking can be a fun and even meditative task. Preparing nourishing meals will cultivate focus, stamina, and information retention. Keep in mind what your body needs. Maybe it’ll be best to avoid foods high in sugar. If you live in a city with a gloomy winter, it may help to add a supplement like Vitamin D. Or even a lightbox for half an hour a day. Whatever you do, make sure you’re assessing and meeting your needs to take care of yourself during this high-stress time.
The amount of sleep you do (or don’t) get can affect your entire study day. If you are habitually not getting enough sleep at night, consider reevaluating your schedule. Stopping may be more beneficial than pushing through more questions. Additionally, if you are spacing out often, studies indicate it may be beneficial to take a 20-minute nap. Sleeping for a short time and returning to study immediately afterward is one way to heighten productivity throughout the day.
Preparing for the bar can be solitary, saying out loud or writing down what is troubling you can be liberating. Journal your thoughts and anxieties about the bar exam. Talk to your family, friends, or a counselor if you are struggling with an emotional hurdle. Finding a mentor is also extremely beneficial. A friend from law school, a former professor, or anyone with bar experience you feel comfortable with. They know what you are going through and can help navigate you through this stressful time.
5. Use AdaptiBar MBE Simulator for Retakers
AdaptiBar MBE Simulator contains nearly every licensed question from the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), including the newest 200 released questions. They are updated frequently to accommodate present-day scenarios and are accompanied by detailed explanations. These explanations show not only why each answer is correct but also why the other answer choices are incorrect.
AdaptiBar also tracks your performance to automatically give you questions based on the subjects you need the most work in. The best way to prep for the MBE is with real past exam questions to mimic exam day conditions.
AdaptiBar MBE Simulator for Retakers includes a level-setting diagnostic exam plus an array of expert, coach-led videos created specifically for bar exam retakers. Let’s make your next attempt your last.