California Bar Exam: Preliminary Statistics, Pass Rates

Hello all,

Congratulations to all who passed the February 2018 California bar exam. There are not very many of you this year.

Bar Results are out and only 27.3% of examinees passed the bar exam. This was a particularly low bar pass, even for the February bar exam. It is, I believe, the lowest pass rate in 25 years. Part of this, as you will see by reviewing the statistics below, is due to the nearly three quarters of examinees who were repeat takers. Repeat takers did not fair well on the February 2018 exam. In fact, the pass rate for repeat takers was only 23 percent. First time takers (of which there were only 1,267 examinees) enjoyed a 39% pass rate which is a more typical February bar pass rate.

Dont give up

If you just found out that you did not pass the February 2018 bar exam, do not give up! Know that you are in good company. I will be posting more soon about what you should do next. In the meantime, know that you are not alone and that the bar exam is not an IQ test. It is a test and it is a difficult one. But, it is do-able.

Below is an excerpt from the California Bar’s press release. I recommend that you review this and that you also visit the California State Bar’s website

Today the State Bar of California released the results of the February 2018 California Bar Exam, and announced that 1,282 people (27.3 percent of applicants) passed the General Bar Exam. If those applicants satisfy all other requirements for admission, they will be eligible to be licensed by the State Bar to practice law in California.

Preliminary statistical analyses from the February 2018 General Bar Exam:

  • 4,701 applicants completed the exam
  • 1,267 (27 percent) were first-time applicants
  • The passing rate for first-time applicants was 39 percent overall
  • 3,434 applicants were repeat applicants
  • The passing rate for repeat applicants was 23 percent overall

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

School Type First-Timers Repeaters
California ABA 46% 31%
Out-of-State ABA 35% 27%
California Accredited (but not ABA) 23% 9%
Unaccredited: Fixed-Facility 33% 5%
Unaccredited: Correspondence 14% 13%
Unaccredited Distance Learning 24% 5%
All Others 43% 19%
All Applicants 39% 23%

*Source: California State Bar