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California Supreme Court Introduces a New Bar Exam Cut Score

California has always been known for its difficult bar exams over the years, but things will be different after the recent Supreme Court decision. For instance, New York had an 83% passage rate in 2016 as compared to California‘s 62% passage rate. In order to get the necessary license to practice as lawyers, it is mandatory for every law student to pass the bar exam. However, the sagging passage rates in California have been a cause for concern for stakeholders in the legal fraternity. In order to allay these fears, the setting of certification score was changed by the California Supreme Court, which has the power to make major decision concerning the bar exam. The changes were scheduled to take effect from January 2017, but the exam threshold had not been determined when the decision by the Supreme Court was being made in 2016. Prior to the decision, there had been a debate on whether the144 cut score was realistic or not.

Every state in America offers its unique bar exam, but the multiple-choice sections have in the recent past been uniform across states. The line of passage has always been different for each state, and this has in most instances led to disparities in the number of passages. California has the second highest threshold in the country for passing a bar exam. Delaware is the only state has a higher threshold than California. A study conducted in 2013 by Robert Anderson, a corporate law professor at Pepperdine School of Law in California, revealed that the state had the most difficult bar exam in the country. The Supreme Court changed the score from 144 to 133 in order to increase the number of law students transitioning from law school into practicing law. The new cut score is similar to the cut score for New York.

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