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California Bar Exam and Attorneys Exam Shortened By One Day Each
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California bar exam

Summary: After over 25 years with no changes to the administration of the California bar exam, a change is planned for 2017 to shorten the exam by a day.

The California Bar Exam has been shortened from three days to just two. The exam will consist of five one-hour essay questions and a 90-minute performance test on the first day with the 200-questions multistate bar exam on the second day.


California has been considering this change for several years through discussion and consideration of comments from a public forum. The Attorney’s Examination would also been shortened by a day to be just a day long test. The exam will have a morning and afternoon session for a total of six and half hours where five essay questions and a performance test are administered.

If these changes are accepted by the Board of Trustees, the changes would go into effect in July 2017. There have not been any major changes to the exam format or grading process for over 25 years. The bar exam serves as a way to protect the public as well as assess the knowledge and abilities of those attempting to practice law.

Included in the discussion was a survey done by pyschometricians, a pros and cons list, and an estimated savings list being over a $1 million. While there will be some additional costs, they are only expected to be around $200,000.

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