In Florida, the bar exam is next week and for the past two weeks I have been finishing up my work with students. One of the things they always ask as we finish working together is what is the key to passing the bar exam, what does it really take for them to pass. As much as I want to give the same age old advice others give that there is no magical thing that helps someone pass, I find myself saying something else.
It sounds strange. But I honestly think that's the key to passing the bar. Bar prep is a long, complicated journey. Constantly students find themselves debating whether it is worth it to continue. Some give up, they postpone, they run and hide from the exam. But others, they keep working. They are determined to continue. That determination carries them through, makes them do hundreds of questions, write multiple essays, and spend countless hours in isolation. Determination pushes a student to do their best and try their hardest. It pushes a student to succeed.
Re-takers might wonder then why they don't pass although they were determined the past time (or times). While they wonder what's wrong with them, they fail to see something incredibly special about themselves. They exude determination; heck, they ARE determination. It would be so easy for them to walk away and decide not to attempt to take the exam again. Why bother? It's expensive, you tried and didn't make it, and, sadly, most schools turn their backs on re-takers. But they wouldn't have the title of re-taker if they didn't decide to face the bar exam again. They are determined to not let the exam get the best of them. They try again. And they go through bar prep again. The students I've met and worked with who are re-takers are more determined to pass than my first timers. It's amazing how much they want to pass but yet they don't see what I see: They take determination to a whole new level. I envy them, I want to be that determined. They are the true heroes of bar prep. Many eventually succeed too and it's all because they were determined to finally pass.
Everything again boils down to determination.
How determined are you to pass the bar?