The biggest reasons people fail the bar exam (2023)

Law Academy

In this guide, we reveal the top 6 reasons law graduates fail the bar exam, with advice on how to avoid these potholes on the road to becoming a licensed lawyer.

The biggest reasons people fail the bar exam (1)

Realizing you forgot to put on deodorant … and you’re on a date;

Trying a new restaurant … and getting a wrathful case of Delhi Belly from the food;

Getting stuck behind a Sunday driver … and you’re late for something important;

Accidentally locking yourself out of your apartment ... and it’s 3 in the morning.

All of these things suck harder than a bus-sized squid on the timbers of a 17th-century galleon. But what sucks more than any of these things—worse even than having your heart broken or dropping your phone in the toilet—is failing the bar exam.

It’s a blow to the stomach, the heart, and the mind that sends law grads plummeting to lows they never imagined possible. In fact, a fear of getting your bar exam results back and finding out that you’ve failed is the number one reason law grads find the MBE such a nerve-wracking challenge.

The good news is: there are ways you can minimize your chances of failing the bar exam. Studying hard and smart according to a well-thought-out and robust bar prep plan is one of them. Another is optimizing your learning through productive study techniques, as we explain in our Law Academy guide: ‘How to study for the bar more efficiently’.

A third is learning from the mistakes made by the law grads who came before you (rather than making them yourself). Or perhaps learning from the mistakes you made the first time around if this is your second or even third time taking the bar.

And so, our goal with this guide, which we’ve compiled with the advice of our experienced panel of legal experts, is to highlight the key reasons that law grads fail the bar exam:

  1. Using a cookie-cutter approach to studying for the bar
  2. Aiming for prep (and written answer) perfection
  3. Spending your study time inefficiently
  4. Not getting enough bar question practice
  5. Using questionable MBE question resources
  6. Not learning how to answer long written questions

Knowing these reasons for failing the bar exam is the first important step towards avoiding them. And this is key to crafting a hyper-efficient and targeted bar prep plan that will maximize your chances of getting good bar exam results.

But before we expose these insidious potholes on the road to becoming a licensed lawyer, let’s take a look at the bar exam pass rate (because failing is a very real thing that happens to a LOT of law grads every single year) ...

What is the bar exam pass rate?

The biggest reasons people fail the bar exam (2)

The bar exam pass rate varies from state to state and from year to year. However, typically, it hovers between 60% and 80%, although it can be (and often is) significantly lower in certain states. For example, for the 2021 February test date, the bar exam pass rate in Alabama was 39.4%. In California, it was 39.6%.

(Video) Top Five Reasons People Really Fail the Bar Exam

(Check out The Bar Examiner’s stat page for the bar exam pass rate for your state, right up to the most recent results.)

What this means is that 20 to 40% of all the people in the exam room with you (if not more) will fail the bar. That’s a significant portion of people! But what’s really scary about these numbers is that most of these law grads studied their butts off.

I guess that’s why you’re here, isn’t it? You’re scared the same will happen to you. If these thousands of law grads studied hard, then where did they go wrong? Why are so many people failing the bar exam?

Let’s answer that right now …

Top reasons for failing the bar exam

The biggest reasons people fail the bar exam (3)

The answer is simple: they ran out of time.

They used a cookie-cutter approach to studying; they didn’t prioritize the content correctly; they used inefficient study techniques; and they aimed for perfection, rather than proficiency. And as a result, these poor grad students ran out of time and walked into their bar exam insufficiently prepared.

They may also have not factored in enough question practice, or used questionable MBE test resources, or didn’t spend time working on their longer written questions. There are many pitfalls when it comes to passing the bar and, right now, we’re going to thrust each under a microscope so that YOU can avoid them!

Using a cookie-cutter approach to studying for the bar

Go ahead and search: “how to study for the bar exam” and you’ll find the internet is a rich source of advice written by law academics, grad students, and even licensed lawyers. The problem is the internet is also a rich source of misguided advice: or advice that isn’t relevant to you.

Failing the bar exam often comes down to law grads trying to follow study advice that doesn’t really work for them.

You see, not everyone learns efficiently the same way. Some students are better with visual media, while others prefer making their own notes, etc.

Your learning goal is to maximize (1) knowledge retention and (2) actual enjoyment of your studies. If you haven’t figured out a study methodology that works to achieve these, then it’s important that you kick off your bar prep with some serious introspection and experimentation.

Just because some law vlogger insists that studying with mind maps is the best way to conquer torts doesn’t mean it’ll work for your brain. You may learn way more efficiently by distilling your lecture notes and textbooks down into concise study notes and then teaching it back to your Siamese cat.

Ideally, you should’ve figured out how YOU study most efficiently in law school but if you haven’t, now’s the time to do that. For guidance on some excellent learning approaches, check out Brainscape’s Law Academy guide ‘How to study for the bar exam more efficiently.

Pro Tip: Whatever your favorite study technique, there is one app that works consistently well with ALL brains to drill you on the ocean of law content you need to get great bar exam results. Brainscape’s certified MBE flashcards are the perfect study tool for memorizing law content, helping you learn twice as fast as traditional study methods!

(Video) 9 Surprising Ways People FAIL the Bar Exam

The biggest reasons people fail the bar exam (4)

And, being an app on your phone, you can whip it out anytime, anywhere to get quality, effective studying done, even if it is just a quick 5-minute round of flashcards while you wait for the bus or turn into a prune in the bath.

Aiming for prep (and written answer) perfection

The biggest reasons people fail the bar exam (5)

The amount of law content you have to learn to take on the bar is huge. HUGE. Overwhelming, really. Staring at it all laid out before you is like having to eat a big, fat Thanksgiving turkey all on your own. Not even that, actually: a big, fat Thanksgiving brontosaurus … if they still lived, of course. #toosoon

The task feels impossible. How can I get all of that into my stomach, I mean, brain?

The answer is: YOU DON’T HAVE TO.

And this is a major reason for failing the bar exam. Law grads strive for prep perfection with the goal of memorizing everything they’re given to read in law school: every case brief, lecture note, and textbook page. It’s impossible and you’ll soon realize that when you’re three weeks out from the bar and you’ve only gotten through 10% of the content.

Remember: your ultimate goal is to PASS the bar. To do that, you need 65%. Of course, you’ll want to aim for better bar exam results than that, but there is a line that gets crossed when you shoot for perfection.

The best approach to studying, in terms of learning and memorizing law content, is to:

  • Prioritize the highest-yield exam topics;
  • Be basically proficient in the medium-yield topics; and
  • Dedicate the least amount of time to the lowest-yield topics.

It’s not to be fluent in 100% of the test material.

Pro Tip: Many of the longer essay-type question resources out there provide model answers written by law professors under no time constraints. And while they illustrate how to best use your content knowledge to answer the questions, they just aren’t realistic under REAL examination conditions.

As a consequence, they can make you feel like your answers are inadequate. The point is, you don’t need to provide perfect, exhaustive answers to get great bar exam results. If anything, this approach will simply cause you to run out of time during the exam, which will flush precious marks down the wazoo. So don’t aim for perfection.

Be ruthless in your prioritization and efficiency!

(We’ll talk more about longer written questions in a bit.)

Spending your study time inefficiently

The biggest reasons people fail the bar exam (6)

Speaking of efficiency! One of the biggest reasons for failing the bar exam is spending your study time inefficiently. We’ve already touched on this in our first tip (using study techniques that work for others but not necessarily you) and second tip (aiming for prep perfection rather than prioritization, as well as trying to construct perfect answers to bar exam essay questions, which cause you to run out of time).

And while we really dig into how to study efficiently for the bar exam in our Law Academy guide, here are some of the common mistakes law grads make:

(Video) Why Do Some People Fail their Bar Exam?

  • They didn’t prioritize the content so that they spend more time on highly-tested topics and much less time on low-yield topics. This is SO important because if you’re not careful you can end up investing days studying topics that have little to no history of showing up on the exam.
  • They spent too much time on passive study techniques, like watching lectures, reading study notes, and turning the information from one form into another BUT not enough time MEMORIZING the information.
  • They didn’t portion the workload out well enough and so, as they near the bar exam, they become increasingly panicked at how much ground they still have to cover.
  • They didn’t track their progress and adjust their studies accordingly so that they could get through everything in time.

For the solution to ALL of these problems and how to, quite literally, DOUBLE your learning speed for the MBE, read Brainscape’s comprehensive guide: ‘How to study for the bar more efficiently.’

Also, check out 'When should I start studying for the bar exam?' so that you give yourself enough time to prepare!

Not getting enough bar question practice

The biggest reasons people fail the bar exam (7)

Practicing for the bar exam is almost as important as memorizing all that law content. Simply studying and then walking into the bar without practicing sample questions and full-length tests is like participating in a high diving competition without ever having done a jump before. It doesn’t matter how fit or agile you are. If you don’t apply your body to the task of executing those jumps, you’ll belly flop so hard, it’ll look like you fell asleep in the sun.

The same applies to the bar. You’ve got this incredible knowledge base but you need to learn to apply it intelligently, discriminately and succinctly to real bar exam questions.

As such, your study plan should include DAILY practice - and a lot of it. You should also take a handful of full-length bar exams in the months before the real deal to experience it in its full, punishing glory. It may be hard to discipline yourself to finish the whole exam when you start feeling fidgety after hour # 5 but consider this essential conditioning for the real thing.

ALSO—and I can’t stress enough how important this is—you need to practice bar exam questions RIGHT from the start of your bar prep.

Early on, the goal won’t be to test your knowledge (since you’re probably only just starting to memorize all that content). Rather, it’s to get a good feel for how the bar exam tests your knowledge. If you understand how the bar exam works right from the beginning, it’ll help you (1) study so much more efficiently and (2) visualize how the content you’re studying might show up in the bar exam.

Read: ‘How to take a practice bar exam

Using questionable MBE question resources

The biggest reasons people fail the bar exam (8)

A lot of law grads invest a good amount of practice time but, in an effort to avoid the expense of officially licensed MBE practice resources, they source cheaper or even free question and test banks. The problem is, these don’t necessarily accurately reflect the voice of the real bar exam.

These unvetted, unstandardized, and unapproved resources could even go so far as being misleading, poorly-phrased, inaccurate, and confusing. So, using random, made-up MBE questions you found on someone’s website can be dangerously counter-productive. Oftentimes, they’re a waste of time and don’t give students the kind of practice they need to score decent bar exam results.

The take-home message here is to use practice resources that have been written or approved by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) who are the official MBE test-makers.

Pro Tip: A good bar review course will provide you with quality MBE practice resources! Read ‘How to pick a good bar review course’ for even more criteria to consider.

Not learning how to answer long written questions

The biggest reasons people fail the bar exam (9)

It’s one of the tragedies of most educational systems: students are not taught how to write properly, and certainly not how to use the written word as a conduit for delivering information, argument, and reason. Unless we take an actual writing course, that is.

So an important part of your bar prep needs to be learning how to format your answers logically, concisely and using plenty of paragraphs and clear, correct grammar. Remember, your paper is being graded by human beings and if you deliver one long, dense block of text they are probably not going to feel very enthusiastic about grading your paper.

(Video) What To Do If You Failed The Bar Exam - Why Smart People Fail The Bar Exam

Grumpy graders are made even grumpier by responses that are difficult to follow. They are not going to work hard to extract the information/argument you’re trying to convey. So be clear in your writing, use plenty of formatting to give the eye breaks, and follow the “IRAC” method—Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion—to construct your responses:

Header = lays out the “Issue”

1st Paragraph = discusses the “Rule”

2nd Paragraph = provides your “Analysis”

3rd Paragraph = Draws up your “Conclusion”

Pro Tip: Practice answering longer written answers as early on as possible and then share your work with someone who knows how the MBE works and is in a position to offer valuable feedback, like a professor, tutor, or mentor. Very importantly, time your question practice so that you become proficient in crafting quick, succinct, yet thorough responses.

How many times can you fail the bar exam?

The biggest reasons people fail the bar exam (10)

Now that we’ve analyzed the six most common reasons for failing the bar exam (many of which are done in tandem with another) let’s focus on the positive.

The worst-case scenario is that you fail the exam. But you can always retake it. Again and again. In fact, most states allow law grads unlimited attempts at the MBE. 15 States, however, apply discretionary limits to these attempts (i.e. require certain circumstances to permit another examination):

  • Arizona (3)
  • District of Columbia (4)
  • Idaho (6)
  • Iowa (2)
  • Maryland (3)
  • Montana (3)
  • South Carolina (3)
  • South Dakota* (3)
  • Texas (5)
  • Utah (6)
  • Virginia (5)
  • West Virginia (4)
  • Wyoming (4)
  • Puerto Rico (6)
  • Virgin Islands (3)

And 6 states apply absolute limits on the number of times you can take the bar exam:

  • Kansas (4)
  • Kentucky (5)
  • New Hampshire (4)
  • North Dakota (6)
  • Rhode Island (5)
  • Vermont (4)

If you think about it, however, this isn’t really a big deal. If you take the bar exam seriously; plan and prioritize well; study and practice hard, and learn from the mistakes we’ve outlined in this guide, there’s no reason you should fail the bar exam the first time around.

But even if you do fail the bar exam, it’s not the end of the world. As you can see from the numbers above, the vast majority of states allow for at least three attempts at the bar. And you can rise to that challenge!

A final note on failing the bar exam

The biggest reasons people fail the bar exam (11)

Failing the bar exam unleashes a tsunami of feels, none of them good.

It feels like all that hard work you did counted for nothing; like the career in law you dreamed of has been ripped from your hands; and like you’ve been left behind, while your peers embark upon their exciting journeys.

The top reasons people fail the bar exam is that they run out of time and don’t get the practice they need. And they run out of time because they use a cookie-cutter approach to studying; don’t prioritize the content correctly; use inefficient study techniques; and aim for perfection, rather than proficiency.

(Video) Failing the Bar Exam | D Law

There are many pitfalls when it comes to scoring decent bar exam results. And now that you know them, you can apply them to your MBE prep so that you can lend your weight to the bar exam pass rate for your state!

For more excellent advice for law students and grads, check out:

  • How to study for the bar more efficiently
  • How to deal with bar exam stress
  • How to pick a bar review course


The biggest reasons people fail the bar exam? ›

Some states are even known for their exceptionally difficult exams, such as California, as indicated by their pass rate of approximately 44%. After all, the bar exam is intended to measure one's competence to practice law in a given jurisdiction, so it certainly isn't going to be easy.

How common is it to fail the bar? ›

Some states are even known for their exceptionally difficult exams, such as California, as indicated by their pass rate of approximately 44%. After all, the bar exam is intended to measure one's competence to practice law in a given jurisdiction, so it certainly isn't going to be easy.

Why do smart people fail bar exams? ›

Some students practice too many questions (that is, they go overboard practicing when they do not know the law — see #2 above). But others practice too few because they are waiting to “perfect” their knowledge of the law before trying out any questions. Both are strategies that may cause failure.

What percentage of people never pass the bar exam? ›

There are probably on the order of 150,000 law school graduates in the United States who have taken but never passed a bar exam; this amounts to one in ten J.D.s and the risk falls disparately on black, Hispanic, and Asian law school graduates.

Do most people fail the bar the first time? ›

(Reuters) - Just over 78% of U.S. law school graduates who took the bar exam for the first time in 2022 passed the mandatory licensing test, the American Bar Association said Friday.

How many times did JFK Jr take the bar exam? ›

John F. Kennedy Jr., failed the NY bar exam twice before he passed on his third try.

Is the bar exam the hardest test ever? ›

California is widely considered to have the hardest bar exam, due to its low pass rate and the difficulty of the content and constraints of the exam.

What is the hardest bar exam subject? ›

Many aspiring attorneys who have taken or are presently studying for the bar exam, however, appear to agree that the following three topics are the most difficult: Real Property. Contracts. Civil Procedure.

Is it normal to fail the bar exam? ›

It is common to fail the bar exam and then pass on a later attempt. Thousands of repeat bar exam takers pass every single administration! The key is to figure out why you did not pass the bar exam so that you can change your approach and pass on your next try.

How many times does the average person fail the bar exam? ›

The vast majority of law school graduates, 85 percent, take the bar exam once, according to a study by the National Conference of Bar Examiners that looked at data over five years. About 9 percent took the test twice. Less than 1 percent took the exam more than five times. A few refused to give up.

Did Kim Kardashian pass the bar? ›

$150 Million + Won!

Who has the easiest bar exam? ›

Scaled Minimum Scores. Here we look at the scores required versus the rate to pass the bar exam. Some bars have a super low scaled score, so we can measure that and say Alabama, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, and North Dakota tie as the easiest.

What is the lowest passing bar score? ›

About the Bar Exam Curve

UBE scaled passing scores range from 260-280 out of 400 and non-UBE jurisdictions may have different grading systems. If you earn 266 points, you pass the bar exam.

Who is the youngest person to pass the bar exam? ›

Gabrielle Turnquest is used to breaking records. She is the youngest person to be called to the Bar in over 600 years, passing the exam at the age of 18—almost a decade earlier than the average BPTC graduate.

Is it harder to pass the bar the second time? ›

If you are on your second time taking the exam, you are more likely to pass than if you are on your ninth try (though we did just have a ninth-time taker pass so it is definitely possible!). The numbers given by the NCBE do not distinguish between second time takers and other repeat takers.

Why do people fail the bar the second time? ›

One of the most common reasons people fail the bar exam is a lack of proper preparation. That's not to suggest that they didn't have a study plan or put in adequate hours studying, but rather, they prepared passively. So, consider taking an active-learning approach as you get ready to take the bar exam a second time.

How many times did Michelle Obama take the bar exam? ›

Answer and Explanation: Michelle Obama failed the Illinois bar exam one time. She later passed and became a licensed attorney in Chicago.

Did Joe Biden pass the bar exam? ›

In 1968, Biden earned a Juris Doctor from Syracuse University College of Law, ranked 76th in his class of 85, after failing a course due to an acknowledged "mistake" when he plagiarized a law review article for a paper he wrote in his first year at law school. He was admitted to the Delaware bar in 1969.

What famous lawyers didn t go to law school? ›

Other famous lawyers besides Abraham Lincoln and Clarence Darrow became lawyers without J.D. degrees. For example, John Marshall, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; Benjamin N. Cardozo, Justice of the Supreme Court; and even Strom Thurmond, U.S. Senator and South Carolina Governor, didn't possess law degrees.

What is the top 1% bar exam score? ›

Depending on how many people have taken the UBE, a score of 280 is approximately the 73rd percentile. A 300 is in about the 90th percentile, and 330 is in the top 1% of all scores.

Is the bar exam curved? ›

Keep in mind that the MBE is curved. For example, you scored a 125 and needed a 135 to pass. A 10-point difference may seem small, but the percentile difference is much bigger, so you may need more preparation than you think to earn a passing score.

Is bar exam or CPA exam harder? ›

The CPA Exam. You've heard the horror stories: It's derailed the careers of promising professionals. It's definitely harder than the BAR exam and maybe even some medical board exams. And it's nearly impossible to pass once you're a working professional.

What state has the hardest bar test? ›

While California's bar exam may be largely perceived as the hardest one in the nation, some other states that may pose similar difficulty and the reasons for this include: Arkansas: Arkansas also has a grueling two-day test. It requires you to know several state and local laws, in addition to federal ones.

Is the bar exam all memorization? ›

Passing the bar exam requires an intimidating amount of memorization. There are no shortcuts and no two people learn in the same way. But techniques developed over thousands of years can help you memorize all that you'll need for the bar.

Which state has the lowest bar exam score? ›

Alabama, Missouri, Minnesota, New Mexico, and North Dakota all have the lowest minimum passing score for the Uniform Bar Exam, at 260. While these states enjoy the lowest grade to pass, it does not reflect their difficulty or challenges. The state with the highest number of passing lawyers was South Dakota, as of 2021.

How many times did Kim Kardashian take the bar exam? ›

Kim Kardashian Failed the Baby Bar 3 Times - Then Passed! - JD Advising. Failed the bar exam? Download our free guide on what to do if you failed the bar exam here!

Can you fail the bar too many times? ›

No Set Limit: Most of the states in the country have no limit on the number of attempts a student can give to pass the bar exam. There is no set number defined, and it does not affect the candidate's eligibility in any way.

What percentage of people fail the bar exam on the first try? ›

February 2023 Bar Exam
JurisdictionOverall Pass RateFirst-Timer Pass Rate
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16 hours ago

How many questions can you get wrong on the bar exam? ›

That means you'll need to get 115 questions correct out of 190 — or that you can miss up to 75 questions and still pass the MBE!

Is the bar harder than the LSAT? ›

Very controversial. However, I believe that unlike the bar, you can't really “study” for the LSAT. Also, there are probably more retakers for the LSAT than there are for the bar.

What law school has the highest bar pass rate? ›

Law School Rankings By Ultimate Bar Passage Rate (2020)
RankSchoolPass Rate
46 more rows
Mar 3, 2023

Are you a lawyer if you pass the baby bar? ›

The Baby Bar Exam

According to the State Bar of California, the baby bar is required for those who study at a State Bar-unaccredited registered law school, those without two years of college work, or through a law office study program with lawyers or judges. Passing the baby bar does not mean you are a lawyer.

Is 474 a good baby bar score? ›

A score of 560 out of 800 is needed to pass the baby bar exam. Note that there is not a minimum score required on the essay or multiple-choice portion. An examinee just needs to get 560 points in total.

What's a baby bar exam? ›

The baby bar is a one-day test that covers contracts, criminal law, and torts. Students should also know the first two articles of the Uniform Commercial Code. The exam includes both multiple-choice questions and essay questions. The exam does not test California-specific law.

What state is the easiest bar? ›

Wisconsin makes the list of easiest bar exams for a unique reason: if you attend an ABA law school in Wisconsin, you don't have to take the bar! Students who have graduated from these universities can just apply to practice law in the state. No studying, no stressing, no grueling examination period.

Why is the bar so hard? ›

The sheer volume of information is overwhelming so it puts a lot of pressure on students. That's why the Bar exam is designed to be difficult. Individuals who practice law must be able to navigate all of this information. The first thing you have to do is get into the proper mindset.

Does Esquire mean you passed the bar? ›

What is Esq.? Esq. is the abbreviation for Esquire. It is a title that follows an attorney's last name to show that you've obtained your Juris Doctor degree and have also passed the rigorous bar exam. The formatting of this title is similar to an M.D., B.A, Ph.

What state requires the highest bar exam score? ›

The highest UBE score is a 273 (required in Arizona). The most common score is a 270, with major jurisdictions like Massachusetts and Texas requiring this score. You can find a link to the chart and map here. Please check the NCBE's website for the most up-to-date information.

Why is California bar so hard? ›

One of the main reasons the California bar exam is so difficult is its broad scope. The exam covers a wide range of legal subjects, including contracts, torts, criminal law, civil procedure, and professional responsibility.

What is a bar exam question like? ›

The questions on the bar exam feature a brief fact pattern and a question with four multiple-choice answers. The questions cover seven topics including civil procedure, contracts, constitutional law, criminal law and procedure, evidence, real property, and torts. Each of those topics has 25 questions.

At what age do most people become lawyers? ›

The average age of law students is 25 or younger. Only 20% of law students are 30 or older. While only a small percentage of law students are above the age of 40, there have been several successful older graduates.

What is the most bar exam attempts? ›

Maxcy Filer never gave up and finally passed the bar exam on his 48th attempt. For those 3,940 lawyers who failed last July's bar exam, Maxcy Filer has some advice: Try, try, again. And again and again and again and...

Are there people who never pass the bar? ›

In simple numbers, while 4236 law graduates passed the July 2017 California bar exam, a greater number of 4309 did not. These results are indefensible and the cost on the individual test takers and the legal profession as a whole unjustified. When would-be lawyers fail the California bar exam, their lives are upended.

How do you pass the bar on the first try? ›

If you want excellent resources for the Uniform Bar Exam check out our different options!
  1. Make a Study Schedule and Stick With It. ...
  2. Practice with Real Questions. ...
  3. Do Not Skimp On Active Review or Memorization. ...
  4. Practice Self Grading MBEs, MEEs and MPTs. ...
  5. Take Care of Yourself.

How do I know if I will pass the bar? ›

You Performed Well During Practice Tests

If you were getting around 70% of your practice MBE questions correct during bar prep, that is a good sign that you'll pass that portion of the exam. In most jurisdictions, a passing score is between 58-67% correct.

What do you say to someone who didn't pass the bar? ›

Here are a few ways that you can help support them during this difficult time.
  • Wait for them to talk about it. ...
  • Don't assume they'll retake it. ...
  • Don't ask what their score is. ...
  • Continue to talk to them about topics other than the bar. ...
  • Ask them how you can best support them. ...
  • Educate yourself on how to approach this with empathy.
Apr 27, 2022

What percent of law school graduates never pass the bar? ›

There are probably on the order of 150,000 law school graduates in the United States who have taken but never passed a bar exam; this amounts to one in ten J.D.s and the risk falls disparately on black, Hispanic, and Asian law school graduates.

What is the percentage of people who fail the bar exam? ›

Bar Exam Statistics by Each State (Test Takers and Pass %)

According to the most recent data released by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE®), in 2021, of the 64,833 total persons taking the bar exam, 39,873 passed, which is an overall pass rate of 60% (down 1%from the previous year).

Do most people pass the bar? ›

For the nation, 58% of those who took the bar exam passed. To be sure you pass, a great MBE test preparation program, such as AdaptiBar, can greatly increase your chances of passing.

What are the odds of failing the baby bar? ›

First-time takers have had a pass rate between 18.8% and 32.3%. Repeat takers have had a pass rate between 8.8% and 22.7%. As you can see, the baby bar exam has a 21.17% pass rate overall, with first-time takers passing at a higher rate than repeat takers. Approximately one in every four first-time takers will pass.

Is the CPA exam harder than the bar? ›

Overall, however, the passing rates for the UBE average between 50% and 60%, a little higher than the CPA Exam. So, more Bar Exam candidates pass the Uniform Bar Exam vs. the CPA Exam.

What state has the easiest bar exam? ›

Some bars have a super low scaled score, so we can measure that and say Alabama, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, and North Dakota tie as the easiest. They both have the same meager minimum passing score on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE.).

What is the hardest part of the bar exam? ›

Most people regard the MBE as the hardest portion of the bar exam. The questions are rarely easy or straightforward. They can be tricky and sometimes worded in a way that guides you to the wrong answer.

What is the most difficult subject on the bar exam? ›

Contracts. Navigate any online forum where law students confer with one another, and you'll soon realize that Contracts is often reported as the most complicated MBE subject. These fact patterns tend to be lengthy, for starters, so there's a lot to read and read carefully.

Can you still be a lawyer if you fail the baby bar? ›

The Baby Bar Exam

According to the State Bar of California, the baby bar is required for those who study at a State Bar-unaccredited registered law school, those without two years of college work, or through a law office study program with lawyers or judges. Passing the baby bar does not mean you are a lawyer.

Is the bar exam for lawyers harder then the nursing text? ›

The Bar Exam Is Incredibly Difficult To Pass. It's Even Harder For Those Who Are Pregnant Or Nursing.

What happens if you fail the baby bar 3 times? ›

What happens if you fail the baby bar three times? If you fail the baby bar three times, you will only receive credit for your first year of law school.

What is the hardest exam in America? ›

GRE (Graduate Record Examination)

Owned and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), GRE is among the world's most difficult exams. The exam is administered both online and in person. As a standardized test, GRE measures the overall academic readiness of students who want to attend graduate school.

What is the hardest professional exam? ›

Top 10 Hardest Exams in the World
  • Civil Services Exam (CSE)
  • GATE.
  • GRE.
  • Master Sommelier Diploma Exam.
  • ICAI CA Exams.
  • CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert)
  • Mensa International.
  • CFA.
Feb 17, 2023

What is the most failed CPA exam? ›

Often considered the most difficult exam, Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) has had the lowest passing scores of the four exams. The amount of material CPA Exam candidates have to learn for the exam, coupled with the combination of memorization and application, makes this exam more difficult.


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