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California Bar Announces July 2016 Bar Exam Results
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Summary: California has released data on the results of its July 2016 bar exam, and the stats aren’t good…

The bar passage rate in California is getting worse. This week, the State Bar of California’s Committee of Bar Examiners released data on the July 2016 California Bar Exam results; and it turns out, this year’s examinees fared worse than those who took the test in 2015. In fact, the low was the lowest bar passage rate for the California July test in 32 years.


Out of 7,737 California test takers, only 43% of them passed the General Bar Examination (GBX). For those 3,332 successful candidates, the next step for them is to satisfy other requirements for bar admission, and that includes a character assessment.

Statistics show that out of the 7,737 applicants, 66.7% of them took the test for the first time. Out of those 5,164 first-time applicants, only 56% of them passed the GBX.

For the 2,573 repeat test takers, only 17% of them passed.

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Below is a breakdown of test-takers and their educational background. To no one’s surprise, schools with ABA accreditation had a higher pass rate than schools without it.

Screen Shot 2016-11-21 at 11.16.19 AM

The GBX is a three-day exam given in California twice a year, in February and July. The exam has three sections–a multiple choice Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), six essays, and two performance tests designed to asses a candidates ability to apply legal knowledge to practical tasks.

One bright spot about the otherwise disappointing results, however, was that the MBE average score in California was higher than the national average. California’s MBE average was 1421 and the national MBE average was 1403.

The next California Bar Exam is scheduled for February 21, 22, and 23 in 2017.

California’s Bar Passage Rates 2006-2016

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Gayle Murphy, senior executive for admissions at the state bar, told The Recorder that the dropping rate in California was probably due to changes rooted in “the skills, abilities and preparations of the applicants who take a particular administration.”

But while California may have experienced a decrease, that was not the overall national trend, said Erica Moeser, president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Moeser told the ABA Journal, “The big picture item is that we have looked for scores to continue to drop, and they didn’t.”

Source: The State Bar of California

What do you think of California’s abysmal bar passage rate? Let us know in the comments below. 


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