I Think I Can: How Self-Efficacy and Self-Regulation Impacts Black and Latinx Bar Examinees
Law Review Article
psychological barriers, bar passage
This study examined experiences of bar exam takers of color who passed on either the first or the second time. The theories of self-efficacy and self-regulation served as a conceptual framework for this study and were used to shape the interview questions as well as the data analysis. Eight participants were interviewed who graduated from law school within the last five years, passed the bar exam on either the first or second time, and identified as Black or Latinx. Through analysis of the participants’ interviews, nine themes emerged. Participants who passed on the first time overcame academic insecurity early on, were mindful of study strategies that worked, and found support. Participants who passed on the second attempt were isolated in studying and experienced outside distractions, but when taking the exam the second time, found their familiarity with the bar exam relieved stress. Finally, both groups found balance in studying, were aware of their ethnic and racial background, and experienced nervousness and anxiety during the exam. Each of these findings had implications for the participants’ self-efficacy and self-regulation while preparing for and taking the bar exam.