This Just In: The California Bar Exam is Officially Changing!

State Bar of California

The California Bar Journal officially announced that the California bar exam will be administered in two testing days instead of three beginning July 2017.  This is the first substantive modification to the California exam in over 25 years, according to the California Committee of Bar Examiners.

The announcement that the proposed changes to the bar exam had been solidified were first made by the State Bar of California Law Practice Management and Technology Section via Twitter on July 27. The handle read:

California Bar Exam Change

Most recently, however, the California Bar Journal, or The Official Publication of the State Bar of California, released a statement confirming that the Board of Trustees approved of the exam modifications. It was also established that the weighting of the bar exam will be revised so that both the MBE and essay portions count for 50% of the examinee’s score.

Now that the bar exam will take place on two days instead of three, each day will be divided into morning and afternoon sessions as follows:

Day 1:

Morning session: 3 hours, consists of 3 essays

Afternoon session: 3 and ½ hours, consists of two 1-hour essays and one 90-minute
Performance test

Day 2:

Morning session: 3 hours, 100 MBE questions

Afternoon session: 3 hours, 100 MBE questions

Additional considerations made by the State Bar of California in favor of eliminating a testing day included faster grading, more effective testing of students’ knowledge of basic law concepts, and lower costs for administration and grading.  In fact, the new accommodations are projected to save California more than $1 million per year.

The idea that eliminating a testing day would make the bar exam easier was also noted by the California Committee of Bar Examiners as a potential negative effect of changing the exam, so the State Bar will be sure to take this point into consideration when modifying it. Thus, all upcoming examinees planning on taking the California bar exam in July 2017 or later should cast aside wishful thinking and anticipate an exam equal in difficulty to the one administered now.

What do you think of the changes being made to the California bar exam? Are they positive or negative? Share your thoughts with us for your chance to be featured in an upcoming post!


Written by The AdaptiBar Team
AdaptiBar is the only Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) bar prep provider to combine 100 percent of the licensed questions from the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) with patented adaptive technology that tracks performance and targets weaknesses, yielding the most efficient and personalized study experience available. The program is designed for each individual to customize their learning and refine internal timing by simulating real-life conditions of the bar exam. Since 2003, AdaptiBar’s dedicated team of lawyers, technology experts, and customer service specialists have provided thousands of law students and lawyers in every jurisdiction in the United States, and more than 50 countries, with the tools and confidence they need to pass the MBE.

Leave a Comment