The California Supreme Court issued a decision last week regarding lowering the California Bar Exam cut score. This decision was that, despite one of the lowest pass rates in the nation (42.7% for the July 2016 Bar), the passing cut score of 1440 will for the time being remain untouched. The court said the current passing cut score has been in place since 1987, while passing rates have “risen and fallen over time.”
Following the July 2016 administration of the California Bar Exam, twenty deans of ABA-accredited law schools signed a letter urging the California Supreme Court to exercise its jurisdictional authority over the State Bar to make crucial changes to the scoring system as they believe that the California’s higher minimum score is unjustified. While to the deans’ dismay, the cut score will not change for the July 2017 administration, the chief justice’s letter brings a glimmer of hope to change the status quo as it encourages law schools and the State Bar to work together to provide the information necessary to make an informed decision about a justified bar passage score. “Examination of these matters could shed light on whether potential improvements in law school admission, education, and graduation standards and in State Bar testing for licensure, combined with effective regulatory oversight of legal education, could raise bar exam pass rates,” the court said.
One cannot become an attorney if one does not pass the bar exam. Law schools are obligated to ensure that its graduates have the needed education to overcome this obstacle. However, many graduates need adequate bar exam preparation and private tutoring after law school because there is “a shifting of gears” when it comes to the Bar. Regardless of whether the cut score changes in the near future, a test-taker whose goal is to succeed must be proactive and invest in a preparation that reveals faults and helps close educational gaps. Contact Cohen Bar Review today to work with a bar exam tutor.