Many of you have contacted me regarding what to do next and are in a rush to sign up for something and start studying. My advice is to refrain from rushing the process. You will make better decisions as to what to do next if you wait until the emotional upheaval has subsided. Why? Because once you have dealt with the feelings associated with not passing, your “objective” mind – the one that looks at a problem from all sides – can take over and make a decision based on the facts. Decisions made while emotionally distressed often are not the best.
On or about November 28th, begin the process of deciding when to take the test again (now or wait and take the July exam). If you decide that you will re-take it in February, the next step is to determine what to do to prepare. A big bar course? A small seminar course? An online course? A tutor? On your own? There are a number of options and the choices can be overwhelming if you are not clear on what you need.
The first step in determining what you need is to read your score sheet carefully. Are the performance test scores low? Is the multiple choice score low? Or maybe all scores are low. What is the difference between your overall scaled score and the passing scaled score of 1440? Is it 10 points? Is it 50? Or is it a 100?
After you have read the score sheet, you might consider conferring with a reliable, expert source, such as a bar exam instructor or counselor at your school, to confirm your findings and advise you on how to proceed.
To those who were unsuccessful in their attempt to pass the bar exam, lick your wounds, rest, play, get support from friends and family and put it out of your head for a week or so. You need some time to mourn before moving on. It is a necessary part of the process so don’t skip it. (You might also read and re-read my Nov. 18th blog entry.)
How do you put it out of your head? All you need to do is notice that you are thinking about it. Don’t try to change your thoughts. Don’t try to push them away. Just notice them. “Oh, look. I’m thinking about the bar again.” If you have to notice a hundred times, a thousand times, fine. This exercise will speed up the mourning process and help you gain the perspective necessary for making good decisions about what to do next.
Check back soon for my advice on how to proceed.
I want to congratulate those of you who passed. Please celebrate your accomplishment. And if you are willing, reach out to a friend or two who wasn’t as fortunate. (You can verify whether a friend passed or not on Sunday by searching the publicly released list.)
Every year students who were unsuccessful suffer greatly. They often isolate themselves. Many feel depressed, hurt and ashamed. Sometimes they have parents who say things like “You’re lazy. That’s why you didn’t pass” or “Don’t bother coming home for Thanksgiving.” (These are actual statements reported to me by former students.)
So when you get a chance, please reassure them that they too can pass, that you believe in them and support their efforts to try again. Encourage them to do things that will shift their perspective such as contacting a mentor from school and, of course, reading my blog. Your friends will appreciate it.