failed bar exam

Appealing A Failed Bar Exam in Arizona

On average, 77.3% of first time bar takers pass the Arizona Bar Exam between 2000 to 2009.  This means roughly 22.7% of first-time takers do not pass the bar.  Of course, those people have the opportunity to take the test again, but statistics show that second (and third) time test takers are less likely to pass the  same exam.  As a result, some bar takers may choose to appeal their score.  If you choose to appeal, keep the following in mind:

1.  Great Legal Briefs Are Short; Yours Should Be Too:  Make your point and move on.  If your brief is too long, the reader may start to subconsciously skim over important details. 

2.  Eliminate your weak arguments:  The purpose of writing is to persuade, not to show off.   Do not list every possible reason for reconsideration. For example, your choice to use one test prep company over another will not raise your final score, so that argument should be eliminated from your appeal.

3.  Research: Before drafting any appeal, determine the grounds for reconsideration.  For example, you should find out if there were any established procedures and protocols for administering and grading the test.  If those guidelines were not followed, then you may have a strong argument for reconsideration. 

4. Frame Your Appeal in Terms of What Will Raise Your Score.  Sending the committee your law review article may not help raise your score.  However, should you find a mathematical error that would entitle you to more points, than that is worth mentioning.  

5. Special circumstances:  Special circumstances may merit additional consideration by the committee.  For example, if someone pulled the fire alarm during the test, then your test score may have suffered.  If you think that a special circumstance caused the undesirable test score, then you should tell the committee about it.

6.  Hire an Attorney:  An attorney can provide objective guidance and put you in the best position to succeed. 

The chances of winning an appeal are low.  However, test takers must understand that they have options, and it is possible to have the committee reconsider your score.

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