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February 2019 Cal Bar Examination results press release

From the Cal Bar website:


State Bar of California Releases Results of February 2019 Bar Exam

Pass rate improves more than 4 percentage points over last year

   Categories: News Releases

Today the State Bar released results of the February 2019 California Bar Exam and announced that 1,458 people (31.4 percent of applicants) passed the General Bar Exam. This is an increase of 4.1 percentage points over last year’s February pass rate of 27.3 percent. If those passing applicants satisfy all other requirements for admission, they will be eligible to be licensed by the State Bar to practice law in California.

"We wholeheartedly congratulate the 1,458 applicants who passed the latest California Bar Exam. We hope soon to be welcoming all of them to the profession," said Leah T. Wilson, Executive Director of the State Bar. "We are encouraged to see the increase in pass rate over last year. However, the overall low pass rate continues to be a concern and a focus here in California—to address it, we have two significant studies under way this year that we expect to complete by year end."

The mean scaled Multistate Bar Examination score on the February 2019 Bar Exam in California was 1370, an increase of 1.01 percent from 1355 last year. Similarly, the national mean score of 1340 edged up approximately 1 percent from the previous year’s mean of 1328.

The State Bar’s comprehensive series of studies of the bar exam have included a review of the passing score and whether the content of the bar exam is appropriate to test the knowledge and skills needed by entry level attorneys.

This year for the second year, applicants for the July Bar Exam can participate in the California Bar Exam Strategies and Stories Program, an online learning experience designed to help applicants prepare for the exam. The program is being tested for its impact on test-takers’ performance. Initial results from last year were promising; this year the intent is that a larger sample size will validate the program’s efficacy. July 2019 Bar Exam applicants can apply to participate for free in the Strategies and Stories program until June 7, 2019.

Meanwhile the State Bar will launch this summer an all-attorney survey for the first-ever California Attorney Practice Analysis Study. The effort will collect detailed information about the knowledge and skills needed by entry-level attorneys in California. Study results will provide the foundation for future evaluation of the content, format, and pass line of the California Bar Exam. The study is currently expected to be published in December 2019.

February 2019 General Bar Exam preliminary statistics

  • Completed the exam: 4,639 applicants
  • First-time applicants: 1,167 (25.16 percent)
  • Pass rate for first-time applicants: 41.0 percent overall
  • Repeat applicants: 3,472 (74.84 percent)
  • Pass rate for repeat applicants: 28.0 percent overall

Pass rate (rounded to whole numbers) by law school type:

School Type



California ABA



Out-of-State ABA



California Accredited (but not ABA)



Unaccredited: Fixed-Facility



Unaccredited: Correspondence



Unaccredited Distance Learning



All Others



All Applicants



Here is general information about the structure and content of the General Bar Exam.

The one-day Attorneys’ Examination is open to those 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 541 attorneys who completed the Attorneys’ Examination, 252 (46.6 percent) passed. Twenty three (23) were disciplined attorneys who took the exam as a condition of reinstatement; 6 disciplined attorneys passed.

pass list from the exam will be published on the State Bar’s website on May 19, 2019. More detailed statistics about exam results will be available in four to six weeks on the State Bar website.

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 June 2019. After applicants have taken the Attorney’s 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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