|Today the State Bar of California released the results of the July 2019 California Bar Exam, and announced that 3,886 people (50.1 percent of applicants) passed the General Bar Exam, a rebound to the 2017 pass rate.
The State Bar also released two reports on the results: the first, an analysis by the State Bar’s psychometrician, the Research Solutions Group (RSG), concluded that “[t]he results of the … analyses indicated that the premature release of the content had no statistically significant impact on the results of the July 2019 examination.”
In light of the special circumstances for the administration of this bar exam, the State Bar engaged a second firm, ACS Ventures, national experts in assessment and psychometric analysis, to review the analysis performed by RSG. Their report confirmed that the methods and procedures for scoring, scaling, and equating the bar exam were consistent with industry expectations and historical practice and confirmed the validity of the methods used in the initial psychometric analysis. ACS Ventures’ report concluded that “the empirical evidence suggests that the early release of topics did not have a material impact on performance on the July 2019 California Bar Exam.”
The July 2019 pass rate rebound in California mirrors a national upward trend in scores:
Statistics from the July 2019 General Bar Exam
The General Bar Exam is administered in February and July each year.
The exam consists of three sections: a multiple-choice Multistate Bar Examination, five essay questions, and one performance test that is designed to assess an applicant’s ability to apply legal knowledge to practical tasks. The written portion of the exam (essays and performance test) and the multiple choice portion are weighted equally.
The Attorneys’ Examination consists of the essay and performance test sections of the General Bar Exam and is open to attorneys who have been admitted to the active practice of law and are in good standing for at least four years in another U.S. jurisdiction. Of the 442 attorneys who completed the Attorneys’ Examination, 226 (51.1 percent) passed.
Following the initial results release, a pass list from the exam will be published on the State Bar’s website on November 17 at 6:00 a.m. More detailed statistics about examination results will be available on the State Bar website in approximately 4-6 weeks.
If those who passed satisfy all other requirements for admission, they will be eligible to be licensed by the State Bar to practice law in California. Successful applicants who satisfy all other requirements for admission may take the Attorney’s Oath individually or participate in admissions ceremonies held throughout the state in December 2019.
After applicants have taken the Attorney Oath and submitted their oath card to the State Bar, they are eligible to practice law in California. Approximately two weeks after forwarding the oath card to the State Bar, their names will appear on the State Bar roll of licensed attorneys accessible on the State Bar website.
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The State Bar of California's mission is to protect the public and includes the primary functions of licensing, regulation and discipline of attorneys; the advancement of the ethical and competent practice of law; and support of efforts for greater access to, and inclusion in, the legal system.