Why Are Pass Rates Lower in February? (Yours Doesn’t Have to Be)

Bar exam takers are some of the most anxious and superstitious people on the planet.

  • They spend more time agonizing over which subjects will be tested than prepare for each subject (and then get really mad when the subjects actually get leaked, like it did for California did in July)
  • They plug in numbers into score calculators to figure out how many correct MBE answers they could get away with… AFTER the bar (I’m also guilty of this)
  • They get worked up over the smallest indications of possibly passing the bar (“My account won’t let me sign up for the next bar exam! There’s some text that changed colors! My C&F status is different! Does this mean I passed the bar?!”)

It wouldn’t surprise me if someone used a ouija board to divine what a magic 8-ball would say about their bar results. (Spoiler: The answer is always “maybe” because there is no way to know beforehand.)

I’m only judging a little bit because it’s natural to get anxious over a high-stakes exam. But we sometimes focus on trivial minutiae as a proxy for the fundamental questions and answers.

One question that some repeaters (or first timers who don’t take it in July) have is whether they should take the bar in February or July. The lingering concern is whether the bar is harder in February than in July.

This is a valid question, but one that you ultimately need not worry about.

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Admire the Buttcrack (and 9 Other Last Minute Tactics for Bar Exam Week)

It’s finally here. Is it really that real? Let’s do this!

Implementing, practicing, and doing. I hope, by doing those things consistently, you’ve made solid progress!

Maybe you don’t feel ready. The good news is that the more prepared you actually are, the less you feel prepared. The bad news is that the other way isn’t necessarily true.

Not all hope is lost, ye weary traveler. For now, go in with a “might as well, even if I’m screwed” or a “you never know until you try” attitude.

You’ll be able to say, “I’m glad I tried.”

You’ve worked hard these past weeks and months. You’ve come all this way. Let’s finish it without any hiccups at the very end.

We don’t want a “failure of the last mile” to undo all we’ve done up until now.

You'll never know unless you try

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Bar Preparation Is Emotional Preparation

The bar exam might be the dryest subject on the planet, but it’s also full of emotions.

Joy when you pass. Sorrow when you fail. Frustration, hopelessness, anxiety, and overwhelm in between.

Naturally, this can be a new and unique life challenge!

The thing is, these feelings are all temporary. 

When you pass, you’ll celebrate for a day or two. You’ll probably forget how much you struggled and despaired. You’ll start to worry about other problems like how to get sworn in, or finding and keeping a job, keeping clients happy, and so on, as life goes on.

You might even excitedly thank me and say you’ll do anything to repay me, you’ll give me feedback, you’ll donate essays… then never respond again when I ask for a simple writeup. The high will wear off very quickly.

If you haven’t noticed by now, I live to cackle at people for their inconsistent behaviors LOL (don’t think I forget because I’m definitely judging you if you’ve ever pulled this shit).

That doesn’t mean these powerful emotions you’re feeling now are useless while they’re happening.

Continue reading “Bar Preparation Is Emotional Preparation”