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Friday, October 2, 2015
California to Shave a Day off Bar Examination
If you're applying to law school in California, you've probably already heard all the horror stories. The LSAT may have been your first major hurdle, but an even more daunting barrier awaits California law school graduates at the end of their demanding three years of education. The California Bar Exam.
Widely regarding as one of the most difficult (if not the most difficult) in the nation, one thing that sets the California Bar Exam apart from other states is its length. Even the New York and Virginia Bar Exams-also amongst the most challenging in the U.S., require law students to sit through just two days of testing. At 18 hours, the California examination is grueling.
As it currently stands, California law students must complete six hours of written exams on seventeen different subjects. They must also complete six hours of a performance examination, which tests real-world legal skills. The remaining six hours are devoted to 200 multiple-choice questions.
Under the new rules, which take effect in 2017, California would make the biggest cut to the performance exam, which would consist of just ninety minutes. The written subject exams would consume the other five hours of day one. The multiple choice exam—which is a nationally standardized test—would consume day two.
Grading may be as unforgiving as ever. With equal weight given to the two days, students who struggle with multiple choice questions may face an uphill battle. On the other hand, the physically and emotionally demanding exam will be an entire day shorter.
The motivation of the Committee of Bar Examiners is unclear. Cutting a day from the exam would make it more cost-effective for students, and less unwieldy for graders. So while it may translate to one less night in a hotel for law students, it won’t necessarily be easier.
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