2017 Multi-state Bar Exam Update

What’s a law school graduate’s biggest fear?

Some might say, finding a job after graduation, but, what may be even worse: failing the bar exam.  The embarassment, the down time that will be wasted, and the significant amount of money that the poor guy/girl who fails the exam will miss.

For those who have secured attorney positions post-graduation, the worst fear is losing that opportunity as a consequence of failing the bar exam. In the past, most people who performed in the middle of the pack in law school would just go to the study sessions put on by the major bar prep providers (named below) and just skate by the bar exam.

However, there is an emerging trend of increased bar exam failure.    

In fact, in March of 2016, the American Bar Association wrote an article entitled Multistate Bar Exam Average Score Falls to 33-Year Low.  In the article, the author states that the mean score was 132—this is the lowest average test score since 1982! See http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/multistate_bar_exam_average_score_falls_to_33_year_low

This means one of a few things:

  1. Students are progressively getting more apathetic (and less knowledgeable) about the substantive law tested on the bar, or
  1. The bar is becoming increasingly more difficult, or
  1. Some combination thereof.

The president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners believes that this trend will continue for at least a few more years. 

For those law school graduates who are preparing to take the Multistate Bar Exam, there are numerous study resources that you can use, ranging from BarBri to Kaplan to Themis to Barmax.  These may be costly endeavors as described below, but the ultimate prize absolutely warrants proper preparation, which means an adequate monetary investment. 

Keep in mind, most law graduates who didn’t receive scholarships, which is a vast majority, took out loans somewhere in a neighborhood north of $100,000 over the course of the 3 years of law school. 

The following is a quick look at some of the approximate prices of the common bar preparation programs:

Bar Exam Prep Cost Chart
The above chart merely provides estimates of the costs of the bar prep programs.  This author suggests that law school graduates who are not incredibly self-disciplined and motivated to study, should purchase and participate in one of the above programs. 

To supplement these programs, and defy the odds and avoid the outcome that the NCBE president is predicting (increased bar exam failures), law school grads should supplement their study material with mnemonics for the bar exam essays. 

25 Bar Exam Mnemonics E-book | $5.99 60 Bar Exam Mnemonics E-book | $9.99
Bar Exam Mnemonics Cover Page

Bar Exam Mnemonics Cover Page 2

Additionally, every student should have a bar exam game day plan, including a specific meal menu and routine to optimize performance.  Check out this article on 6 ways to enhance your bar exam performance.  

We’d also like to hear your feedback on tips and strategies to excel on the bar.  Please leave your feedback in the comments section. 


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