Paul L. Caron

Thursday, February 4, 2021

NCBE Announces Online Option For July 2021 Bar Exam

NCBE Announces Remote Option for July 2021 Bar Exam:

NCBE (2020)NCBE today announced that it will again offer jurisdictions the option to administer the bar exam remotely in July 2021 to help address health concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and provide support for future legal professionals. Despite progress toward widespread vaccination against COVID-19, NCBE recognizes that restrictions may still be in place this summer that would prevent jurisdictions from being able to offer an in-person exam in July.

As it did for the February 2021 exam, NCBE will make a full set of bar exam materials available for remote administration in July on the same dates as the in-person administration (July 27–28, 2021). Each jurisdiction will select which delivery mode it will use for its administration.

In addition to supplying secure, high-quality exam content, NCBE will equate the MBE, calculate scaled scores for the written components, and provide UBE and MBE score transfer services for both the in-person and the remote administrations.

Karen Sloan (, NCBE Unveils Online Bar Exam Option for July 2021:

[L]ike this month’s upcoming bar exam—which is also being given in-person and remotely—the July remote exam will be a full-length Uniform Bar Exam, meaning that scores earned on that administration may be transferred within the 38 UBE jurisdictions. The National Conference also will score and scale the Multistate Bar Exam portion of the test, which consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. It did not score the MBE for the first remote exam last October but is planning to do so for the February remote test. Without an official UBE in October, states were forced to create a patchwork of reciprocity agreements to accept transferred scores earned on that exam.

It remains to be seen how many jurisdictions opt to give their July bar exams remotely, but it appears that state bar exam authorities are becoming more comfortable with the idea of examinees taking the test from home while being monitored for cheating through the microphones and cameras on their computers.

Last summer, 30 states opted to give the bar exam in person in either July or September, with the remaining jurisdictions either giving the National Conference’s remote October test, designing their own online exam, or canceling the test altogether. Only 16 states are giving in-person exams on Feb. 23 and 24, and none of the five jurisdictions that adopted some form of emergency diploma privilege during the previous July bar exam cycle have opted to go that route again in February.

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