Monday, April 18, 2016

The February 2016 Bar Exam: The MBE or Essays, When You Fail the Florida Bar Exam

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What happens if you only pass one section of the bar but fail the overall bar? Should you sit for that section that you failed or do you take the entire bar exam over again? I think it depends on which section you passed. I will use Florida as my test case. In this possible scenario, say you pass the Florida section but fail the MBE. Should you take the Florida section again to get carry-over points for your MBE score?

It depends on what your MBE score is. I usually tell my students that you have to stay competitive in the MBE and let your extra points on the Florida section pull you over the top. It is my experience that many of the students who pass the bar, do not pass the MBE or only have a 1-5 point pass on the MBE. That is why doing well on the Florida essays for those extra overage points can help you pass the overall bar, even if you do not pass the MBE.

However, we have seen that the national mean score for the MBE is at its lowest in 33 years – a 135. This low mean score had a profound effect on Florida’s pass rate. In light of the mean score of 136, many Florida repeat takers, only taking the MBE, failed miserably. It is extremely hard to make that magical 136 when that was the mean average is below that score. How do these low national mean scores affect your decision in light of this new reality?

Evaluate your essay scores. Did you pass the essays with a large margin? If you did, it’s an easier decision to make – you obviously write well and 3 more essays won’t freak you out. If you sharpen up your writing with some more practice essays, you could get maybe another 5-10 points to bring over to your MBE scores. If you passed with only points to spare, you may not be able to pass another 3 more essays.

That’s the pros and cons of your situation. You must make the decision for yourself. Of course, it is easier to concentrate on only one section of the bar and if you think you can pull up your score on one section alone, then go for that one section alone. But you want to make sure that your second attempt is your last attempt. So do anything and everything to make that happen.

Once you fail the bar you would better spend your money on a private tutor, if a repeater is to spend any more money in the process. It is expensive, but working one on one with a qualified (and I mean qualified) tutor will push you over the finish line. No price is too much to get you to your goal and start your life as a lawyer. A private tutor can help with the subject material, motivate you and keep up your confidence. Bar Professors, as a Florida bar tutor and an MBE tutor, has had much success with Florida repeat takers.

Obtaining a Bar Professors’ bar exam tutor will help you pass. Many students who are repeat bar takers need a bar exam coach to help them improve their writing and analytical skills so they can properly navigate through the bar exam. A structured, personalized program is the key to passing the bar for repeat takers.

Bar Professors will also be conducting an MBE seminar in Raleigh, N.C., Miami and Orlando. Sign up now to reserve your space.

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Bar Professors provide private bar exam tutors for repeat takers who have difficulty with the MBE, MEE, UBE, Florida, California, and New York bar exams. You can find us at, like us on facebook at BarProfessors, follow us on twitter @BarProfessors or email us at

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