All India Bar Exam

This article is written by Abhyuday Agarwal, COO, iPleaders.

Out of all those who attempt the bar exam, about 30 percent or more fail the bar exam. Why is the number so high? After all, isn’t it an open book exam? Here are the top 5 reasons most people fail.

#1 – Thinking that the All India Bar Examination is too easy

Many people tend to believe that since it is an open book exam, it is going to be super easy to crack. If you can carry all the books and use them in the exam, what’s the difficulty?

You’ll run out of time and not finish attempting all the questions. Moreover, it’s difficult to manage a lot of books simultaneously. One gets tired scrounging for answers and sifting through materials. Sometimes, questions in different subjects are jumbled up, so you need to keep reopening the same books again and again. It can be a maddening exercise.  

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When faced with this problem, the first thing we did at BarHacker was to identify a method by studying patterns from different question papers and develop training around those patterns, so that we can create a tool that enables you to identify and solve different types of questions with ease. As the exam evolved, we ensured that the training evolved too.  

#2 – Trying to study too much or learn too many things

Those of us who are sincere, dedicated, hard-working or studious start learning the law very meticulously. We go through guide books (e.g. Sujata’s), detailed commentaries like Mulla on Contracts or Durga Das Basu on Constitution, judgments, practice questions in books such as Universal. This is the ideal nerd’s practice formula, but it still doesn’t give you a fair chance of passing. In fact, many people who observe this ‘comprehensive method’ actually end up failing!  

Those who frame the question paper do not think of providing conceptually easy questions, or the most relevant questions for your future practice of law. At the same time, human memory is limited, and you will end up forgetting a huge chunk of what you cram. Since the those who set the question paper can create questions from almost anywhere (as long as they pertain to the subjects in the syllabus), it is pointless to even try grasping the entire subject.

Senior lawyers and judges have spent years dealing with subjects, and even they don’t know everything. The smart thing here would be to give up the chase, and identify a METHOD that works.

#3 – Carrying the wrong materials into the bar exam

You can’t possibly carry all the materials related to each subject – it would just be too unwieldy. While it’s an open book exam, you still have to be smart with how you use the books, as you can’t use Google, your cellphone or the Ctrl+F function on your cellphone.

Who would have thought that one of the biggest assets and tricks to cracking an open book exam is to strategically select the right materials that give you a the best chance of finding answers?  Nothing is a bigger letdown than carrying in the wrong materials. Many people actually carry commentaries or textbooks in the hope of being ‘safe’, but this backfires. Most textbooks don’t contain the provisions of bare acts, and that can be an impediment for you. This is our number one free tip – carry the right set of bare acts. Ever since December 2012, when the Bar Exam got a new format, there has been a heavy focus on bare-act based questions which has continued over the years.

#4 – Not having enough practice

It’s difficult to have the self-discipline to take mock tests on your own – having a tool that monitors your timing and gives you analytics on your performance is much better. When you measure your performance and have data to assess how much time you took to answer each question, there is a real opportunity of improvement. Advanced online technology and tools make this possible, far beyond books and offline programs.  

#5 – Avoiding external support or training

Often, we try to over-evaluate the value of any preparatory tools – will an online preparatory tool really be worth every penny of the fee? Why shouldn’t I buy a book from the market, which is cheaper?

Well, consider the alternative – if for some reason, you didn’t manage to clear the exam, how much would it set you behind by in your career? If the tool increased your chances of clearing the exam, would that be sufficient? Do you still want to take a risk?

We love to say we did things on our own. I know it sounds heroic, but unfortunately it does not fetch you any additional prizes.  

Last, how do you value the benefits of what you will learn, which may be helpful in your career after you clear the exam as well?

Don’t avoid facing the tricky questions – for example, you may not know how to practice mock tests, or how to crack a particular subject, etc. Assess your current preparation state, and accordingly make a clear and realistic preparation strategy. Remember, systematic preparation pays off.

To know more about how you can ace the Bar Exam or to inquire about, call 011-39595032.


  1. […] increased or decreased over the past few years. While we have focussed a lot on why people fail (Top 5 reasons why people fail the All India Bar Exam) or the preparation strategy (How to build confidence for AIBE: Last minute tips), I have not […]


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