Paul L. Caron

Monday, May 11, 2020

February California Bar Exam Pass Rate Falls To All-Time Low: 26.8%

State Bar of California Releases Results of February 2020 Bar Exam:

California State Bar (2014)Today the State Bar released results of the February 2020 California Bar Exam and announced that 1,128 people (26.8 percent of applicants) passed the General Bar Exam. 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. ...

The mean scaled Multistate Bar Examination score on the February 2020 bar exam in California was 1357, down from 1370 last year. The national mean score was 1326, down from the previous year’s mean of 1328 and an all-time low.

February 2020 General Bar Exam preliminary statistics

  • Completed the exam: 4,205 applicants
  • First-time applicants: 1,192 (28.3 percent of total)
  • Pass rate for first-time applicants: 38.0 percent overall
  • Repeat applicants: 3,013 (71.6 percent of total)
  • Pass rate for repeat applicants: 22.0 percent overall

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

School Type



 California ABA



 Out-of-State ABA



 California Accredited (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.

Cheryl Miller (The Recorder), California Bar Exam Pass Rates Drop to All-Time Low 26.8% on February Test:

The percentage of would-be lawyers who passed California’s February 2020 bar exam plummeted to a historic low with fewer than 3 in 10 test-takers posting a passing score, according to figures released by the state bar Friday night.

Just 26.8% of the 4,205 applicants who completed the test passed. That’s the lowest success rate recorded in California since at least 1951, the oldest figures provided by the bar. ...

The February 2020 exam pass rate fell below what was then the historically low figure of 27.3% tied to the February 2018 test. The pass rate had climbed to 31.4 percent a year ago, offering hope that California’s slumping scores were over.

Cheryl Miller (The Recorder), Here's Who Passed the February 2020 California Bar Exam:

The California state bar has released the names of the successful—and relatively few—people who passed the February 2020 bar exam. ...

This year’s dismal pass rate, recorded just two years after the February 2018 exam set a record low, will shine a spotlight yet again on the bar’s efforts to revamp a controversial test that a majority of applicants regularly flunk. The bar has completed four studies related to the exam, and trustees will consider possible next steps at a teleconference meeting on Thursday.

The bar on Monday is also scheduled to release a work plan for administering what would have been the July 2020 bar exam in September. The California Supreme Court has asked bar officials to make “every effort possible” to administer the test online.

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something is seriously wrong and should be done to retroactively pass students who were unfairly failed this time.

Posted by: Upset JD | May 12, 2020 1:26:00 PM

I am an atty in CA who is running a one-man campaign against this injustice. Our cut score keeps out minorities and people of lower means who cannot afford the cost of taking over/over again. CA Bar will become a Rich White Man's Club (again). Alos, no earthly reason cut-score needs to be 15% higher than rest of county. CA law practice is no more difficult than rest of country. Would love to discuss!

Posted by: Lewis Levy | May 11, 2020 12:54:01 PM