If you’ve failed the California Bar, don’t feel discouraged. Did you know that most people who took the 2018 February exam didn’t pass? Nearly 3 out of 4 failed (72.7%, to be exact).
Even if you’ve taken the bar more than twice—and sitting for the bar again feels like a merry-go-round—you can pass the next time around.
Yes, that’s right.
You can still pass on your second, third, or fourth try.
We’ve helped dozens of retakers improve their writing and MBE strategy with our bar prep course and tutoring services. In fact, 93% of our students have passed the CA Bar since we’ve opened, which means there’s still hope for you to pass.
The next time you sit for the CA Bar Exam, we want you to pass. So, let’s clear up some common questions—and review how you can step up your studying—so you’re more likely to succeed on your next bar exam.
What’s the Score Needed to Pass the California Bar Exam?
To secure that “pass” you want, you need to set the right goal.
That way, as you take practice tests, you can gauge how much you know—and how many more hours you’ve got to study.
For the CA Bar, you’ll have to score at least 1440 to pass. 50% of your score comes from the MBE, and the other 50% is from the written portion.
As you study for the bar, make sure you’re consistently checking your work. While you can see which answers you got right when self-grading the MBE, an answer key doesn’t tell you why you got it right.
On the flipside, you don’t know why you got certain questions wrong. If you work with a skilled tutor or instructor, you can finally pinpoint the logic behind the questions—and stop making the same mistakes over and over again. Then, you can apply the law with confidence. Plus, this process will reveal which areas are your strengths and weaknesses.
When it comes to the MBE, BarMD illuminates your path—and equips you with the best techniques to conquer the multiple-choice portion. For your written work, you can call on BarMD to grade—and thoroughly critique—your essays.
Keeping track of your scores, from the beginning of prepping to the end, helps you stay on track. When you see your score decline, you need to identify what problem areas are cropping up. And when you watch your grades climb, you can stay inspired and motivated.
So . . . How Many MBE Questions to Pass the CA Bar?
You might be wondering, “When I’m grading my own practice tests or sitting down to take the bar, how many MBE questions do I have to get right?”
Depending on how the test is scaled, you generally need between 122 and 126 raw correct answers to pass. Yes, you can make up for points lost on the MBE with excellent writing performance. But, ever since the CA Bar Exam’s written portion shrank, your MBE score is increasingly important.
Take note: Recently, the State Bar of California diversified the sub-issues within each MBE subject. That means that now you’re tested on a wider array of issues within the usual subjects. Moreover, the MBE questions are getting even harder than what we’ve seen in the past.
So, as you study, make sure you have all the information you need—and the right test-taking tactics too.
Are you an attorney in another state who wants to practice law in California? Well, in that case, you’ll take the CA Attorneys’ Exam, which is all writing and no MBE. (We have a course + services to help attorneys too!)
Should I Take a Day Off When Studying for the Bar?
Absolutely. When you’re studying, your brain needs time to rejuvenate.
The best way to recharge?
Go, get out there, and do things you love: Camping, beach time, crafts, sports . . . you name it. Whatever takes your mind off of studying and brings you happiness.
Besides activities, find a place where you can really relax with people who are supportive of—and compassionate about—your rigorous studying regimen. You can even bond with a study buddy (don’t forget to implement a “zero-Bar-talk” rule, of course). Or go solo, seeking the silence that lets your mind recover from cramming.
Clearly, too many days off could come back to bite you. Give yourself well-earned breaks at major milestones. It’s crucial to your mental well-being. And don’t forget to take long breaks from your phone, if possible, so you can relish every moment.
Does Anyone Really Pass on Their Fourth Attempt?
The BarMD staff helps many second-time examinees, as well as first-time CA Bar Exam students. We also help third- and fourth-time test-takers finally pass—which is an amazing feeling.
In fact, here’s a testimonial from one (who, for apparent reasons, prefers to remain anonymous).
“When I decided to sign up for your course, I felt frustrated because I had tried so hard so many times already. However, BarMD helped me feel hope. BarMD added the personal touch I was missing—for the longest time I’d been trying to go at it alone.
For the first time, I learned to think on my own, and I progressed. BarMD helped me feel confident in myself and in my writing abilities. I persisted. And I passed the bar on my 4th attempt.”
— 4th-time test-taker turned attorney
If you’re retaking the bar after failing 2, 3, or 4 times . . .
. . . it’s easy to feel pessimistic.
. . . it’s natural to doubt yourself.
But there’s hope.
You can learn to harness your critical-thinking skills. You can write to bar graders in particular—rather than to your law school profs. You can adopt a positive mindset, triumph over your doubts, and manage your time.
The key to passing? Overhaul your ingrained habits. Whatever held you back from passing last time should exit your repertoire: Ineffective studying techniques. Messy essay structure. MBE faux pas. Freezing under pressure. Believing you won’t pass.
Working one-on-one with a trained tutor or instructor—with an insightful second set of eyes on your work—can help you end a vicious circle.
It’s Time to Get Off the Merry-Go-Round
With BarMD, you can get the tools you need. Our 93% CA Bar Exam pass rate is a testament to our time-tested methods, in-depth grading, and one-on-one attention.
That’s the power of real strategies from real California attorneys . . . who really connect with their students.
Ready for a one-of-a-kind bar course? Learn about our bar prep today.