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Category: Bar Exam Updates

Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

Courts provide additional evidence re: the in person v. remote exam debate: trials and oral arguments delayed or held remotely via Zoom or teleconference

According to the ABA Journal, the 1st, 2d, 5th, 7th, and Federal Circuits are conducting oral arguments by Zoom or teleconference.

The ABA Journal also reports:

The Northern District of California said it would delay all criminal and civil jury trials through Jan. 26, impacting proceedings at its courthouses in San Francisco; Oakland, California; and San Jose, California.

The Central District of California announced that it would delay all civil and criminal trials for three weeks through Jan. 24.

“Given the increased rate of transmission of COVID-19 in the Central District of California due to the omicron variant, conducting jury trials would place court personnel, attorneys, parties and prospective jurors at undue risk,” the court’s statement said. “Accordingly, a temporary suspension of jury trials is necessary to protect public health and safety, as well as ensure the continuous performance of essential functions and operations of the court.”

The federal court in Connecticut announced Monday that it will delay trials set to begin before Feb. 1. The court’s order cited the risks of seating jurors close to each other and the “reduced ability to obtain an adequate spectrum of prospective jurors due to the public’s perceptions of the risks associated with jury service.”

Reuters reported Tuesday that an increasing number of federal courts are delaying trials, including in Washington, D.C., New Jersey and Maryland. State courts in Ohio, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland and Hawaii had also announced delays.

In some jurisdictions, trials are still going ahead. In New York, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore of the New York State Court of Appeals said in-person proceedings will continue, but the state courts will be “monitoring the metrics very closely, assessing the situation in each courthouse and staying ready to pivot quickly to make any and all appropriate adjustments necessary to respond to problem areas or new public health guidance.”


Young lawyer

February 2022 Bar Exam CHAOS! NCBE v. Examsoft!

Hello y’all!

A nice little bombshell today from the NCBE, the organization who administers the MBE for bar exam jurisdictions.

Evidently the NCBE and Examsoft aren’t getting along.  The NCBE just announced that if a jurisdiction switches from an in-person to a remote bar exam format, “remote testing using NCBE exam materials is no longer an option for the February exam dates.”

So… a few options present themselves:

  1. Hold your exam in person (come what may), and paper materials and status quo start date of February 22.
  2. Pull a Nevada:  hold the exam remotely, hold it at the status quo start date of February 22, and NO MBE.
  3. Use the Examsoft equivalent program of ILG Exam360, have the NCBE use that service for its MBE administration, and hold the exam on the same dates – status quo
  4. OR… as the NCBE states below, force a bar exam jurisdiction to postpone its exam to late March and provide MBEs then.

No, I’m not making this up.  See below.


From the NCBE:


Update on Status of February 2022 Bar Exam

MADISON, WISCONSIN, January 10, 2022—NCBE is actively supporting bar admission agencies and courts as they prepare to administer the February bar exam consistent with their local health restrictions and requirements. As of this date, we anticipate that most jurisdictions will be administering the bar exam in person on February 22 and 23.

In the event that a jurisdiction’s February bar exam administration is prohibited due to public health restrictions, testing materials will be available for makeup dates in late March. Examinees are encouraged to watch for email and website announcements from the jurisdiction in which they plan to test, including announcements about specific COVID-19 protocols in place for the exam. Further information about administration of the bar exam in either February or March will come from the individual jurisdictions.

Due to firm deadlines set by ExamSoft, remote testing using NCBE exam materials is no longer an option for the February exam dates.

For information about jurisdiction announcements related to the February 2022 bar exam, visitFebruary 2022 Bar Exam: Jurisdiction Information.

Judge's gavel and scales on blurred computers background

Cal Bar FAQ update in text and tone

The Cal Bar’s latest FAQ (published January 10) seems to be a bit of a sea-change in tone.  Yes, each iteration of the FAQ has indicated, in #1, in person, paper paper paper, party like it’s 2017.  BUT the escalation of the FAQ for the COVID testing section (#5) about full vaccination, negative PCR test, antigen test deadlines, no sufficient proof of vaccination, no entry into the exam, and of course all of the reports of schools going remote or extending remote, Grammys being cancelled, etc. all seemed towards an inevitable transfer to a remote exam.

But this week’s FAQ (1/10) has more of a feel that the exam’s going in person.  Their tone now seems to be:  we’re doing this in-person (see #1, in person, paper paper paper), but if you’re feeling squeamish about doing this in-person thing, you can always ring the bell and opt out, and if you get COVID and can’t show up, you can get a 95% refund.  That sounds a LOT like the Super Bowl in LA rationale:  we’re just going to push forward and it’s going to happen, no matter what’s going on around us.

But as with all lawyers, we have ONE little disclaimer:  if a public health authority “relevant to the testing center locations issues different mandates for in-person gatherings” then we’ll get back to you.

What I interpret that to mean is that if LA County says you can’t hold an in-person bar exam at the LA County sites, the exam will be administered remotely for everyone in the state.  I believe that the Bar is tone deaf about its question 13, a new question altered from #7 a week ago (“What if there is a winter COVID-19 surge?  What if there is a new variant?)

Guess what, folks?  It’s not a new variant.  It’s Omicron, and it’s been here for months!  Call it winter, call it Omicron.  It ain’t new, and it’s GOTTEN A LOT WORSE.  LA County case counts are doubling every two days.  Criminal trials have been suspended two weeks.  Eight UC’s have gone remote and five have doubled (for now) it’s remote calendar.  And just yesterday, Nevada became the first state to announce a remote, non-MBE exam.  So it’s not a new surge, and we don’t need a new variant to go remote, because the current one continues to get worse.

Questions #11-14 are listed below.


11. In light of the recent surge in COVID cases, I don’t want to travel to take this test in person. Can I withdraw from the exam at this point due to my concerns about COVID?

  • Yes. The Office of Admissions is seeking to provide in-person testing conditions that are safe for all test takers, proctors, and staff. But we understand that some people might nonetheless have concerns about the in person environment. If you would like to opt out of this exam due to concerns you might have with an in-person exam, you may do so. You will be given a full refund if you withdraw by January 18, 2022, by 11:59 p.m. PST.
  • To make a refund request, please submit a General Request in your Applicant Portal with the subject “Withdrawal for COVID concerns,” and request your refund in the body of the request. If you ask to withdraw from the exam for this reason after January 18, 2022, you will not receive any refund.
  • 12. I withdrew before you put this information out about allowing an additional reason to withdraw with a full refund. How can I get more of my application money back?
  • All those who withdrew before this information was published will be contacted, and their additional fees will be refunded.
  • 13.  What if there is a new variant or another serious surge?
  • If public health conditions change and a public health authority relevant to the testing center locations issues different mandates for in-person gatherings, we will update all applicants for the February 2022 bar exam accordingly.
  • 14. What happens if I test positive for COVID-19 and cannot come to the exam?
  • If you have COVID-19, or any illness, that prevents you from attending the February bar exam, you may apply for the existing 95 percent medical refund of fees. Documentation must accompany any request for medical refund.

Check the FAQ daily for updates.  For now they seem to be issuing updates on Mondays (1/3, 1/10), but as with everything else, that can change quickly as well.

My advice:  prepare as if the exam is in-person, AND prepare as if the exam is remote.  Have your logistics ready to go about where to take the exam, etc., either way.  Practice essays with paper fact patterns and digital fact patterns.  Practice PTs with paper Library and File, and with digital Library and File.

Take care and stay safe and healthy!


A young woman typing on computer laptop in front stack of books

February 2022 Nevada Bar will be REMOTE, NO MBE

Announced on 1/10.

Exam held over two days, and no MBE.  People who were going to handwrite the exam could still do so at the State Bar’s office, but spacing is limited so it sounds like no guarantees.




The Supreme Court of Nevada has ordered holding the February 2022 bar exam remotely due to COVID-19 concerns, as was done successfully with the July 2020 and February 2021 bar exams.   The February 2022 bar exam will be held over two days (February 22-23, 2022) and the MBE will not be given.  There will be seven (7) Nevada essay questions and two (2) Nevada Performance Test questions.  Additional information, including the registration and testing schedules, computer registration schedule and testing protocols will be included in the Notice to Appear that will be emailed to all February 2022 bar exam applicants in mid- January.

Applicants who signed up to handwrite the exam:   You will be permitted to take the exam in-person at the offices of the State Bar of Nevada in Las Vegas if you elect to do so.  As there will be limited space at the State Bar’s offices due to social distancing requirements, we will honor this election on a first come-first served basis.  Alternatively, applicants who signed up to handwrite the exam may elect to take the exam remotely by computer.  Please provide us with your decision via email by no later than January 14, 2022 at


Dates & Locations



New York Times article about when Omicron is predicted to peak in January 2022

From New York Times, January 7


Dr. Shaman is an infectious disease modeler and epidemiologist at Columbia. His team built one of the first Covid-19 models.

The Omicron variant is spreading widely and infecting large numbers of people, including the vaccinated and those previously infected with the virus. While spikes in cases have been the norm for the past two years, there are clear indications this wave will differ substantially from previous ones.

The record number of cases in the United States and globally is largely because Omicron is more contagious than other variants and has a greater ability to evade immunity to infection. At the same time, early evidence indicates that it’s less common for people infected with Omicron to experience severe disease and end up in the hospital. This has important implications when estimating just how disruptive Omicron will be in terms of deaths, hospitalizations and work and school interruptions.

To assess the future burden of a variant like Omicron, epidemiologists like myself often turn to mathematical modeling and projection. The idea is to use a computer-based representation of how the virus spreads to simulate potential future outcomes.

It is important for modelers to explore the unknowns around Covid. For instance, evidence indicates that Omicron is more transmissible than the Delta variant, but by how much? By incorporating uncertainties into our models, we don’t merely project a single outcome. Instead, we create a distribution of outcomes, much like the cone of uncertainty used for a hurricane landfall forecast.

Projecting the Covid-19 burden is also more difficult now because of the December holidays. Reporting of cases is often delayed during the two weeks beginning shortly before Christmas until shortly after New Year’s Day. As a consequence, reported case numbers can give the misleading short-term appearance of steep case increases, or even declines.

All these issues create uncertainty and limit how far we can reliably project the burden of Omicron. My inclination is that four to six weeks is as far as modelers should routinely project.

So what does my team see for January 2022?

Our models project that the United States is likely to document more Covid-19 cases in January than in any previous month of the pandemic, but a smaller fraction of those cases will require hospitalization. Whether hospitals experience more or less strain than they did in January 2021 will depend on case numbers and how severe they are. For example, if twice as many people become infected but these people are half as likely to be hospitalized, the demand for hospital beds would be the same. This calculus also applies to estimated deaths from the virus, as well as expected disruptions to the work force.

Our projections depict a rapid surge of cases nationally that peaks at record high numbers during the first one to three weeks of January. Just how many? Our middle-of-the-cone projection produces five million cases during the worst week but ranges from three million to more than eight million cases. And the estimates vary by location. New York City is projected to peak during the first week of January; other locations peak later.

As we move deeper into January, it will be important to monitor whether the steep rise of Omicron cases is followed by a rapid decline, as has been seen in South Africa. This would make the Omicron wave intense but short-lived. However, a rapid decline is not guaranteed. South Africa has a younger population compared to the United States, and younger people are more likely to have mild, undetected infections. South Africa is also in summer, which is less favorable for virus transmission.

Other countries like Britain, which has demographics more similar to the United States and is also in winter, will be critical to watch. If Britain also experiences a rapid case decline, that may bode well for the United States.

The implications for hospitalizations and deaths here from the Omicron wave are even less certain. While Omicron is causing record numbers of infections, the hope is that vaccinations, booster shots and prior infections by other variants will still protect most people from the worst effects of the virus. Early evidence supports this conclusion. However, Omicron may still greatly affect our daily lives in other ways: If teachers test positive and schools move to remote instruction; if flights, subways and buses are disrupted because of a lack of workers, or if elective surgeries are postponed because of staffing shortages.

What will happen beyond January? We don’t yet know the ultimate fate of SARS-CoV-2 and all its variants. The future burden of Covid depends in large part on whether highly transmissible variants able to evade pre-existing immunity, such as Omicron, continue to emerge.

If new variants arise roughly twice per year, for example, then we should expect multiple outbreaks each year, even in the summer. If such variants emerge less frequently, then outbreaks might occur annually or even less frequently. The severity of these outbreaks will depend on the characteristics of those new variants and whether prior infections, vaccination and new drugs can keep people at a lower risk of severe disease.

The long-term implications of Omicron remain unknown, but in the near term, everyone should expect an intense month of disruption. Still, the familiar advice remains the best: get vaccinated, get booster shots and prepare for a bumpy January.

Education after Corona Pandemic - College students wear protective face mask in campus, outdoor

Happy New Year! Omicron update… Bar Exam in-person? Remote?


Hello everyone and Happy New Year!

The February 2022 Cal Bar (and to some extent, the UBE) applicant pool are wondering about the impact of the Omicron variant on the administration of the February 2022 Bar Exam.  Here’s what we know:

The Cal Bar has issued four updates to its FAQ document since October 1 (12/1, 12/14, 12/17, and 1/3).  The updates have mainly focused on what kinds of testing applicants need to take to take the exam in person (e.g., as of 1/6:  vaccination by 2/8, negative PCR test between 2/20 – 2/22, or negative antigen test between 2/21 and 2/22).

To date, as of 1/6, the Cal Bar has not changed a syllable of its FAQ #1, which indicates that we are returning to normal (e.g., party like it’s 2017, in person exam, paper materials for essays and PTs, scratch paper).

However, the big question is whether the Cal Bar will indeed remain an in-person exam for February 2022.  If the Cal Bar decided to go remote a la October 2020/Feb. 2021/July 2021, when would it need to make this decision?  Who approves this decision?  And how does a student prepare with all this uncertainty in the meantime?

Here’s what we know for now.  Disclaimer:  at Cal I was a history major, not epidemiology, immunology and not public health.  And no, don’t rely on this blog post to your detriment.  Your exam, not mine, personal responsibility, folks.

The lay opinion from a history major suggests that everything around us looks terrible in terms of trends from the Omicron variant.  Examples:

  • Omicron numbers are doubling in LA county every 2 days per the LA Times
  • LA County is suspending criminal trials for two weeks per the LA Times
  • 8 UC campuses have delayed in-person classes and have gone remote for 2-3 weeks (for now).
  • My law school (UC Hastings) announced on December 23 that we were going back in person on January 10. Seven days later, on December 30, Hastings announced that we were going to have most courses on Zoom for 3 weeks, with in-person classes currently slated to resume on January 31.
  • 8 Cal State schools have delayed in-person education and will begin school on Zoom, per the LA Times. Long Beach State, for example, will begin school on January 20 and operate via Zoom for 3 weeks.  That means in-person operations will begin no earlier than February 10.
  • Requirements for return to in-person operations have intensified, not reduced. For example, students and staff at many schools are required to have booster shots, not merely one or two shots as appropriate, to set foot on campus.
  • More than 70% of coronavirus cases in LA county were among adults younger than 50 for Dec. 22-28, per the LA Times.
  • Rates among youngest adults (18-29) are 8x higher than they were one month ago. Adults in the 30-40 year old range are 6x as high as per the LA Times.  Guess what the ages are of the typical Cal Bar applicant?
  • The Grammy’s (an indoor event with a lot of people seated near each other for a few hours) were cancelled.
  • Sporting events have been postponed


That said, is Omicron less serious than the prior surges of COVID-19?  Seemingly.  Yes, Omicron is far more transmissible than prior forms of COVID-19.  But cases generally seem less severe.  Fewer deaths.  Hospital beds aren’t filling up as quickly.  According to the LA Times, Omicron appears to be “more infectious to the airways, but less infectious to lung tissue, where infections contribute to respiratory problems and death.”

And as reported on January 1 in the LA Times, COVID-19 patient hospitalizations jumped 48% from a week prior, but those 5,433 patients are a fraction of the 20,640 who were hospitalized in early January 2021, and the all-time peak was 21,938 on January 6.  Hospitalizations have risen most dramatically in the last month in So Cal and in the Bay Area (double the rate), while Sacramento’s count increased 30%.

According to Bob Wachter from UCSF, supposedly Omicron should peak around mid-January and then recede relatively quickly.

Note the recommendations from state and local officials.  Per the LA Times on January 1, state and local officials “have indicated no need for new orders closing certain businesses or mandating people to stay at home, but they have looked at bolstering requirements in certain settings for vaccinations or negative coronavirus tests.”

And the California Department of Public Health, really the final arbiter in our state on decisions about in-person v. remote events, announced a new order on December 31 that requires “those at indoor events with 500 or more attendees to show either proof of full vaccination or a recent negative test to enter. The order will go into effect Jan. 15. Currently, only indoor events with 1,000 or more attendees are subject to the requirement.”

In other words, businesses aren’t shutting down.  People aren’t being forced to stay at home (except for undergrad and grad students at certain California schools).

So… what are the logistics moving forward?

My guess is that if the trends continue that the Cal Bar Exam COULD be moved to a remote exam and not conducted in person.  That’s my guess, and that’s not informed by any inside information.  I think if the move to a remote exam occurs, it would need to occur between January 15 – 31 so that students can find places outside their home (if needed) to take the exam.  Living in a loud area, too many people living with you to realistically take the exam in a quiet area, internet not reliable at home, etc.  Law schools would need to prepare to allow former students to take the exam there as needed.  Etc.

The Cal Bar would need to consult with the California Dept. of Public Health (especially if the CA DPH forces the exam to go remote), the Cal Bar must make a recommendation to go remote, and ultimately, the Cal Supreme Court must issue an order to hold the exam remotely.  I hope that these entities are already consulting with each other and that a decision is made soon about what to do.  Students deserve to know as soon as possible if the exam is in-person come what may, or if the exam will be remote.  A January 15-31 window is responsible.  A Valentine’s Day surprise would be difficult to implement logistically I would think.

As a Bar applicant, what should you do?  Prepare for both options NOW.  The registration deadline has passed.  So that means if you’re taking this exam, you have an exam site.  If the exam site is in person, great.  If the exam goes remote, what are you going to do?  Where are you going to go?  Start developing that plan NOW.  Take the exam at home?  Going to a law school?  Taking the exam at a hotel?  Local law library?  Public library?  Figure it out.  NOW.  Don’t wait.

What about practicing exams?  For MBEs, take some questions online for practice.  For essays, you can get exams online and practice them online from the Bar’s site or my stie.  Same with the PTs.

Don’t wait until the last minute.  Have plans for in-person vs. remote about where you’ll take the test.  Practice on hardcopy and online so that regardless of how you’ll take the exam, it won’t be a shocking event to you.  Stocks going down 20 points, not 2000 points.

Hang in there!  Happy 2022 everyone!

Cal Bar Clarifies – paper materials for February 2022

The Cal Bar published FAQ’s today, 10/7.  The matter is settled:  paper materials for essays, PTs, and MBE for February 2022:


  1. Does returning to an in-person exam mean the administration of the exam will return to “normal” – paper exam materials (question booklets and scratch paper), multiple questions administered per session, access to water, and ability to use the restroom during exam sessions?

    Yes. The administration of the exam will be the same as it was prior to the remote exam administrations. Essays 1–3 will be administered together without breaks during the morning session of Day 1; then, after a lunch break, applicants will return for Essays 4, 5, and the Performance Test, which will be administered together without breaks during the afternoon session of Day 1. The morning session of Day 2 will be comprised of the first 100 Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) questions, after which there will be a lunch break. The last 100 MBE questions will be given during the afternoon session of Day 2. Please see the full schedule here.

    Applicants will receive the questions in a paper booklet and will be given scratch paper to use if they need.

    Applicants will be allowed access to water during the exam.

    Applicants may leave to use the restroom, but the clock will run continuously.

February 2022 Cal Bar Exam Update – IN PERSON TESTING

Hello y’all!


Registration is OPEN for February 2022.  Timely filing occurs this month.  Don’t pay late fees, people!  Remember you can submit your Accommodations petitions at any time.  If you haven’t submitted your Moral Character Application, note that it takes 5-6 months to get cleared and that’s if you’re boring.  You want to be sworn in after you get the good news in May, right?  Make sure your admission isn’t delayed due to not filing your Moral Character application as early as you can.

But what is FAR more important for the applicant pool, my friends, is the fact that the Cal Bar is going to be held IN PERSON.  The February 2022 Cal Bar Exam Announcement was published today.  In relevant part, it states:


February 2022 California Bar Exam

Date: Tuesday and Wednesday, February 22–23, 2022

Please note that the February 2022 California Bar Examination will be held as an in-person examination. Applicants will be required to select atesting locationand test in-person.


So we’re going to party like it’s 2019, people!  Back to the Future, as it were.


The Announcement is located in full here:


The exam schedule is here:


No more remote video proctoring.  Show up on Tuesday, take the exam for 3 hrs., then leave.  Then come back, take the exam for 3-1/2 hrs, and then leave.  Rinse and repeat on Wednesday.  Your results will vary if you have accommodations.


And now you know!  If you want a certain location, I’d suggest registering over the next 7 days.


By the way, some notable dates for you:

10/1 – 11/1 Registration period for Feb. 2022

11/1  Timely filing deadline

11/1 – 11/30    $50 late fee registration period.

12/1 – 1/3/22  $250 late filing fee


2/22 – 2/23/2022   February 2022 Cal Bar Exam

2/24, noon    Laptop answer file upload deadline

2/25 OR 2/26, noon  Extended time students’ exam answer file upload deadline (deadline dependent on student’s accommodations).



May 6, 2022, 6 pm.









July 2021 Cal Bar Exam Admittance Bulletin

Exam schedule

The July 2021 bar exam will be offered online and remotely proctored to all applicants. In-person exam administration will be provided to those for whom online remote proctoring is not available and to those with approved testing accommodations that cannot be effectively provided and securely administered in a remote environment. The exam is scheduled to be administered on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 27 and 28, 2021.

The July bar exam will have 200 Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) questions, with the essays and performance test on day 1 and the MBE on day 2. Applicants approved to take the Attorneys’ Exam will test on day 1 only.

Applicants must use a laptop and must be logged into the system no later than 8:30 a.m. The exam will begin immediately following establishment of the applicant’s identity and delivery of instructions. You must be logged into the system no later than 2:00 p.m. for the afternoon session on day 1, and 1:30 p.m. for the afternoon session on day 2. Every session begins with reestablishment of your identity.

Review the schedule and plan accordingly. Keep in mind that each exam session will begin immediately after you enter the password for that session. You should enter the password when you’re ready to begin, and no later than the schedule allows. You will have 30-minute breaks between each session and one hour for lunch.

All in-person applicants should arrive no later than 7:30 a.m. The exam will begin immediately following the instructions. You should plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early for temperature screening and to locate your assigned room. Arriving late to the test center will not alter the start time of your exam.

Applicants granted extended time may have different schedules, which are communicated to them individually in advance of the exam.

Exam description

The California Bar Exam is comprised of the General Bar Exam and the Attorneys’ Exam. The General Bar Exam consists of three parts: five essay questions, the MBE, and one Performance Test (PT). The parts of the exam may not be taken separately, and California does not accept the transfer of MBE scores from other jurisdictions.

On the first day of the exam, five essay questions and the 90-minute Performance Test is administered. A 90-minute break for lunch will occur between essays 3 and 4.

On the second day, the MBE will be administered in four 50-question sessions, 90 minutes each. There will be a 90-minute break for lunch between Part 2 and Part 3 of the MBE.

Applicants with disabilities who are granted extended time accommodations will have slightly different schedules, which will be communicated to them prior to the exam.

July’s exam will be scaled and graded as described here. The passing score on the exam is 1390.

The Attorneys’ Exam consists of the five essay questions and the PT from the General Bar Exam. An applicant can earn up to 100 raw points on each essay question and up to 200 raw points on the PT. The same methodology as described above will be used to convert the written scores to a 2000-point scale. The score for the Attorneys’ Exam is 100 percent based on the written portion. The passing score is 1390.

If an applicant is absent for any portion of the exam, the applicant will be considered as having not taken the exam and their written answers will not be graded, and if the applicant intends to take a future administration of the exam, they will be subject to the same application filing deadlines applicable to first-time applicants, rather than the deadlines applicable to immediate repeaters.

The Committee of Bar Examiners (CBE) judges the validity of the exam, and at its discretion, may determine that the result of any test, any part of any test, or any individual’s score is not valid. Should the CBE invalidate any part of the test, or if any individual’s test is declared invalid, or for any reason, any part of the test cannot be graded, at its discretion, the CBE may decide to make a pass/fail decision on the basis of the valid portion of the applicant’s test product available to the CBE.

If you are an attorney applicant and have been approved to take the Attorneys’ Exam, you are not permitted to take the MBE. Written notification of an attorney’s decision to take the General Bar Exam instead of the Attorneys’ Exam, or to take the Attorneys’ Exam instead of the General Bar Exam, must be received in the Office of Admissions by the final filing deadline for applications. Requests for changes received after that date will not be processed; applicants must pass the exam selected and approved by the Office of Admissions.

For attorney applicants with disabilities who have been granted accommodations that include an extended day schedule, the number of testing days will be specified in their Testing Accommodations Notice.

Examination administration rules and policies

Failure to follow exam rules while the exam is in session will result in notice to the State Bar of California of a violation of exam rules in accordance with the provisions of Title 4, Division 1, Chapter 6 of the Rules of the State Bar of California (Admissions Rules). Conduct that results in a violation of security or disrupts the administration of the exam, which includes but is not limited to having unauthorized items with you during the exam (such as cell phones, digital watches, and timing devices, notes, etc.), writing or typing after time has been called, attempting to cheat or avoid/override the remote proctoring system, leaving the view of the camera while the exam is in session, or ignoring warnings about minimum system requirements that result in gaps in the audio/video recording will result in notice to the State Bar of a violation of exam rules, or in some cases, can lead to a negative referral to the Moral Character Determination unit.

In addition, applicants who are testing in person are expected to maintain a professional attitude toward other applicants, staff, proctors, and other exam personnel at all times. Behavior that is abusive or disruptive may result in dismissal from the test center and will be reported to the State Bar or the CBE for appropriate action. It is expected that all applicants will demonstrate integrity, honor, and ethical behavior during all exams administered by the State Bar of California.

The remote-proctored exam will be continuously monitored by artificial intelligence and human proctors, and any and all anomalies or suspicious behavior will be flagged accordingly. Flagged video files will be reviewed by the State Bar, and conduct violations determined to be serious will result in strict sanctions. Sanctions may include but are not limited to a zero for the flagged exam session, a zero for the entire exam, and a negative impact on your Moral Character Determination. For less serious conduct and rule violations, the State Bar or the CBE may take whichever action it deems appropriate.

Applicants may not wear hats, caps, hoods, or any other type of headwear during the exam. The CBE, however, will consider petitions filed by applicants seeking exemptions from that policy, which would permit them to wear headwear due to religious beliefs while in a secure exam test center or while testing remotely. Such petitions must be submitted online through the Applicant Portal no later than the final deadline for filing testing accommodations petitions. Upon arrival at an in-person test center, applicants must be prepared to show a letter from the CBE that permits them to wear the headwear in the exam room. The headwear may be subject to inspection. Applicants attempting to enter the test center wearing headwear who do not have a letter from the CBE authorizing them to do so will be issued a Chapter 6 Notice and will be asked to remove the headwear. Letters allowing headwear for applicants testing remotely will be kept on file with the State Bar and compared against the applicant’s uploaded video file to determine whether a violation has occurred.

Only the following items are allowed in the exam areas without prior approval. All items are subject to inspection at the in-person test centers:

  1. Valid government-issued photo ID
  2. Eyeglasses (no cases or sunglasses)
  3. Foam earplugs (cannot be wireless and must not be connected to any mechanism or device)
  4. Menstrual products
  5. Inhalers
  6. Diabetes-related items and equipment (does not include food or drinks)
  7. Eyedrops in single-use vials
  8. One back support (without a cover)
  9. One orthopedic cushion (without a cover)
  10. One standard-size pillow (without a case)
  11. One footrest
  12. Splints, braces, casts, crutches, wheelchair
  13. Hearing aids
  14. TENS units
  15. Disability-related items that have been approved through the testing accommodations petition process

Online applicants will be allowed the following items during the PT session only:

  • Nondigital pens
  • Nonmechanical pencils (with eraser incorporated; no separate erasers)
  • Pen-style highlighters
  • Eight pages of physical scratch paper no larger than 8.5” x 11” (both sides must be blank); Applicants will be required to hold up to the camera the front and back of each piece of scratch paper (Failure to do so will result in the issuance of a Chapter 6 Notice of Violation)

The following laptop accessories are allowed:

  • Separate keyboard
  • Mouse (wired or wireless)
  • Laptop riser/stand no higher than 4”
  • Solid color mouse pad with no writing on it

Additional instructions for in-person test takers

Applicants who will be testing in person are allowed to have the following items in addition to those listed above:

  1. The admittance ticket with no writing on it (detach ticket from instructions above prior to arrival at the test center)
  2. Silent analog watches
  3. Prescription medications (does not include cough drops)
  4. Cash (must not have extraneous writing on it)
  5. Credit/debit cards that might be needed for the lunch breaks
  6. Keys
  7. Face masks (with no patterns or extraneous writing on them)
  8. Protective gloves
  9. Applicants who are handwriting or have certain testing accommodations may be allowed the following beyond the PT session: Nondigital pens (standard blue or black ink), Nonmechanical pencils (with eraser incorporated; no separate erasers), Pen-style highlighters (must not be used on answers), Nondigital timers and nondigital clocks measuring 4”x 4” or smaller.

Applicants who are handwriting or have certain testing accommodations may be allowed the following beyond the PT session: nondigital pens (standard blue or black ink), nonmechanical pencils (with eraser incorporated; no separate erasers), pen-style highlighters (must not be used on answers), nondigital timers and nondigital clocks measuring 4”x 4” or smaller.

Applicants who will be handwriting their exam answers must bring their own standard blue or black ink ballpoint pens. Applicants must also bring their own pencils for the multiple-choice portion of the exam (several sharpened pencils are recommended). Mechanical pencils are not permitted. Pencil sharpeners and separate erasers will not be allowed into the exam room.

Please note that, whether testing remotely or in person, applicants cannot have wallets, tissues, lip balm, cough drops/throat lozenges, gum, candy, or other food or drinks in the exam room. Water and tissues will be available nearby at the in-person test centers. Applicants testing in-person with an online format because of extenuating circumstances will not have access to these items during testing; only during breaks.

During the in-person MBE sessions, the items listed above are allowed in the exam room, except pens, highlighters, back supports, orthopedic cushions, pillows, bookstands or footrests, and laptops or laptop accessories. If you need any of these items due to a disability, you must request them through the timely filing of a Testing Accommodations Petition.

If unauthorized items are brought into the exam room, either intentionally or inadvertently, they will be confiscated or noted, and the applicant will receive a Chapter 6 Notice and possibly additional sanctions imposed by the State Bar or the CBE. In accordance with the CBE’s policies, applicants will receive a score of zero for any session during which they are found to have brought an unauthorized electronic device, such as a cell phone, digital watch or timer, or activity tracker device (e.g., Fitbit) into the exam room, as well as any additional sanctions the State Bar or the CBE, may impose.

General instructions: Remote-proctored administration

The system will prompt you to establish your identity at the beginning of each session (at the start and after each break). However, if the system cannot confirm your identity, you will be able to proceed with the exam, but your video will be reviewed later.

The following conduct will be prohibited:

  1. Leaving the view of the webcam outside of scheduled breaks.
  2. Any attempt to bypass or avoid the remote proctoring mechanisms and protocols, or to obtain or receive assistance on the exam.
  3. Individuals (other than the applicant) entering the exam room.
  4. Possession of cell phones or other electronic devices, including a tablet or additional computers in the exam room, or connected remotely to any other devices or equipment in the exam room.
  5. Possession of notes, study aids, or other papers or exam resources in the exam room, including scratch paper (digital scratch paper will be provided). An exception is made for scratch paper only for the PT session and only under the specified terms and conditions.
  6. Possession of any digital timers, watches, or clocks in the exam room (the exam software has a built-in timer that allows applicants to set timed reminders).
  7. Possession of books of any kind in the exam room within view or access during the exam session.
  8. Possession of food or beverages in the exam room, including but not limited to coffee and water (unless you have been granted a testing accommodation that allows for these items).
  9. Smoking in the exam room.
  10. Possession of any item(s) other than the allowed items listed in the Admittance Bulletin in the exam room (unless you have been granted a testing accommodation that allows for these items).
  11. Possession of any radios, stereos, or other devices/equipment (including smart home devices such as Google Home or Alexa) that can make audible sounds in the exam room. Any such items must be turned off at all times during the exam and scheduled breaks.

If items other than those allowed are detected during the exam, you will be flagged by the system and a corresponding sanction may be issued after review by State Bar staff.

You are not allowed to make notes from memory prior to the start of the exam session. Laptop users may not access any notes or other documents at any point during the exam. Digital scratch paper will be available in the Examplify program.

The exam is electronically timed, and applicants can set a timer in the system. Applicants are encouraged to keep track of their own time.

Please note that extra time is not granted to any individual applicant for any reason. If you attempt to continue completing the exam after the session has ended, you will receive a Chapter 6 Notice.

You should use the restroom before the start of each exam session. You will not be permitted to use the restroom or leave the view of the web camera during the exam session.

If you leave the exam area during the exam session, you will be issued a Chapter 6 Notice, and you will receive a score of zero for the entire exam session.

No smoking: In-person and remote exam instructions

Smoking is not allowed during any exam session, both in-person and remote. Smoking is prohibited at test centers located in buildings that do not allow smoking in accordance with city ordinance. Regardless of whether smoking is prohibited, any applicant who exits the secure exam area in order to smoke while the exam is in progress will not be allowed to re-enter to complete the examination.

Laptop computer users

After you have been notified that your admittance ticket is available, you are eligible to have your laptop registered for use during the exam. You must download and install the required security software onto your laptop (Examplify with ExamID and Exam Monitor), and you must complete the registration process by July 16, 2021, with the completion of both mock exams. Complete the following steps to make sure your laptop is ready for exam day:

  1. Download the required security software (Examplify) onto your computer and register with ExamSoft.
  2. Take the two required mock exams and upload the answer files by July 16, 2021.
  3. Download the 10 bar exam answer files between July 20 and July 23, 2021.

Confirmation: After you have downloaded the 10 exam files, you will be advised via email by ExamSoft that you have done so. Those 10 confirmation emails are the only certification that your laptop is ready for the exam. You may also check your status and view your download/upload history online by launching Examplify from your laptop and confirming you have the 10 downloads. Log in using the Exam Takers box, click the Exam History button to review your record, and confirm that you have downloaded the exam and mock exam files, and have uploaded the mock exam answer files. You should have a total of 10 answer files for the July 2021 California Bar Exam.

It is the responsibility of applicants using laptops to timely upload their exam files containing their answers to the five essay questions, one Performance Test, and four parts of the multiple-choice exam. Applicants must also timely upload their video files for each exam session, for a total of 10 video files. Applicants who fail to upload their answer and video files by the published deadline will have a deduction of 10 scaled points taken from their scaled score. Applicants who fail to upload their answer and video files within two weeks of the published deadline will be given a grade of zero for each answer that is not received by the State Bar Office of Admissions by the published deadline. Applicants are expected to comply with the published deadlines; there are no waivers of the deadlines or the sanctions that will be imposed as a result of applicants’ failure to upload their exam and video files.

General instructions: In-person administration

  1. Your admittance ticket contains your applicant number, your file number, and your NCBE number. Do not write anything on the ticket. You will be required to show your ticket to the proctor when you enter the test center. You must keep it in your possession throughout the exam.
  2. If items other than those allowed are brought to the test center, you will be required to leave them at your own risk outside of the exam area. The State Bar, CBE, Office of Admissions staff, and proctors assume no responsibility for the safekeeping of items that you bring to the test center. You are not permitted access to those items while the exam is in session.
  3. You should bring any small permitted personal items (e.g., prescription medication, foam earplugs, pens, etc.) into the exam area in a small, clear plastic bag. Larger items, such as pillows, do not need to fit into the clear plastic bag that holds your smaller items.
  4. Proctors will provide you with seating information upon your arrival at the test center.
  5. Upon arrival, you will be provided with a badge that will be your identification credential during exam administration, which you may be required to show at any time. The badge must be fastened so it can be easily seen by the proctors. You will be told to relocate the badge if it is not placed appropriately. The badge must be left at your seat during the lunch break.
  6. At some time during exam administration, you may be required to provide your fingerprints. If you refuse to provide the required fingerprints, you will be issued a Chapter 6 Notice.
  7. During the exam, you will be required to show a valid government-issued photo ID (e.g., Driver’s License, California Identification Card, or Passport) for the purpose of identity verification. You must carry this photo ID card at all times during the exam.
  8. Those applicants that are handwriting their answers will be instructed to write their applicant number, name, and signature in the upper right-hand section of each of their answer book covers at the beginning of each written exam session (essay and PT). Do not write notes, outlines, answers, time schedules, or make any marks on the inside or outside of your answer book covers. Prior to grading, your personal information will be removed after a code number has been assigned. Thereafter, answers are identified by a code number only; nothing about an individual applicant is known to the graders.
  9. You are not allowed to make notes from memory prior to the start of the exam session. If you are using your laptop, you may not access any notes or other documents on your computer after you have entered the secure examining area. Applicants using laptops will have access to virtual scratch paper. Physical scratch paper is not permitted during any of the Essay Question sessions or during the MBE sessions of the exam. An exception is made for physical scratch paper only for the PT session of the exam and only under the specified terms and conditions. Some applicants with documented disabilities requiring them to have physical scratch paper will be accommodated. Nothing written on scratch paper will be graded. You must not make notes or write anything on your admittance ticket. If writing is found on your admittance ticket, the ticket will be confiscated, and you will be issued a Chapter 6 Notice.
  10. If you are handwriting your answers, there is a separate answer book for each written question, and you must be certain that the answer to Question No. 1 is written in the book for Question No. 1, etc. Answers written in a wrong answer book or typed in the wrong answer window while using Examplify, or more than one answer typed in the text box screen while using Examplify, require special handling and could delay the grading of an applicant’s answer.
  11. If you handwrite your exam answers and need additional lined paper to write your answers during the exam, raise your hand and a proctor will provide you with what you need.
  12. If you are handwriting, you should do so as legibly as possible. A ballpoint pen with standard blue or black ink must be used to write your answers. Answers to the essay and PT questions written in pencil are not acceptable. Only nonmechanical pencils may be used for the MBE portion of the exam. Neither highlighters nor white-out may be used on your answers to the essay and PT questions.
  13. If you are testing with paper MBE exam materials, all answers to the MBE portion of the exam must be marked on the Scantron answer sheets provided. If you have circled or otherwise marked your answers in the question booklet, extra time to transfer answers to the answer sheet will not be granted. Only answers properly marked on the answer sheets will be scored.
  14. If you are testing with paper exam materials, exam questions, and used scratch paper may not be taken out of the exam room. After completing each session of the exam, the exam questions and used scratch paper must be placed in the envelope designated for that purpose.
  15. If you handwrite your exam answers, it is your responsibility to turn in your written exam answers to the proctors. If you leave the test center with your answers, the answers will not be graded.
  16. The exam is electronically timed, and you are encouraged to keep track of your own time since wall clocks are not provided. Laptop users will have the ability to set two timers while in the exam session.
  17. Timing devices (i.e., watches and clocks) that are allowed to be brought into the exam test centers are to be used solely for the determination of the passage of time. They cannot have a digital display, must be absolutely silent, and cannot be larger than 4″x4″. Timing devices that are digital, programmable, and/or make noise are not permitted. If found, they will be confiscated, and the applicant will receive a Chapter 6 Notice.
  18. Writing and typing of answers must be completed when time is called. Please note that extra time is not granted to any individual applicant for any reason. If you attempt to write anything after time has been called, you will receive a Chapter 6 Notice.
  19. Restrooms and water will be available at each test center. Applicable to applicants who are NOT required to use the online remote-proctored version of the exam: You should use the facilities before taking your seat so you have time to go over the instructions prior to the start of each session. Extra time to use the restroom will not be granted. You will not be permitted to use the restroom or leave your seat during the last several minutes of the exam session (5 to 15 minutes depending on the session). After time is called, you will not be permitted to use the restroom or leave your seat until all materials are collected and inventoried. If you fail to remain seated after being advised to do so, or while the exam materials are being collected and inventoried, you will receive a Chapter 6 Notice. Applicable to applicants who are required to use the online remote-proctored version of the exam: You should use the restroom before taking your seat at the start of the exam session. If you leave the view of the webcam at any time while the exam is in session, you will be flagged by the AI proctor and you will receive a Chapter 6 Notice, as well as a score of zero for the exam session.
  20. If you leave the secure exam area during the exam session, you will not be permitted to return for the purpose of completing your exam answers. For applicants who are required to use the online remote proctored version of the exam, any answer typed thereafter will not be graded if you leave the secure exam area during the exam session.
  21. The proctors’ chief function is to proctor the exam; however, if asked, the proctors will attempt to assist with any problems that may arise.
  22. If there is an emergency of any kind, you should remain seated and wait for instructions on how to proceed.

In-person test center environment

While every effort will be made to keep the environment of the test center comfortable and quiet, there are times when events, conditions, or actions of third parties occur that are beyond the control of the State Bar or the CBE. For instance, the temperature of the test center may fluctuate due to the weather or the test center’s cooling/heating equipment; applicants should be prepared for either warm or cold temperatures. Efforts will be made to keep the test center quiet, but there may be forces outside the control of the State Bar or the CBE that prevent such an environment from being guaranteed. You should come prepared to accommodate noises, such as those made by other applicants taking the exam, proctors carrying out their duties, people entering/exiting the exam room, equipment inside or outside the test center that may make sounds while operating, other meetings or conventions in the same facility, etc. Earplugs of the type specified earlier are strongly recommended.

Exam attendance policy

If you do not attend or are unable to complete a required, scheduled exam session, you will be considered a partial exam taker and your exam will not be graded. For instance, if you are taking the exam in person, if you are absent for the Tuesday morning session, you will not be allowed to take any remaining sessions of the exam. If you are absent for any portion of the exam, you will be considered as having not taken the exam and your written answers will not be graded. If you intend to take a future administration of the exam, you will be subject to the same application filing deadlines applicable to first-time applicants rather than the deadlines applicable to immediate repeaters, if any. Applicants must make a good faith attempt to complete each session of the exam for which they are present. Failure to do so may lead to receipt of a Chapter 6 Notice and being prohibited from attending any remaining exam sessions.

Late login to the system

Applicants testing in-person and arriving at the test center after one hour of testing time has elapsed will not be permitted to enter the test center for any portion of the exam.

Applicants testing remotely and logging in after 10 minutes of testing time have elapsed will not be permitted to begin the exam session that has started and will be locked out of the question in progress. Any answers to questions in subsequent exam sessions will not be graded or scored.

Address change

Applicants are encouraged to notify the Office of Admissions of a change of address as soon as possible. Applicants are able to update their admissions file with the new address by accessing their account through the Applicant Portal.

Moral Character

The Admissions Rules require a positive moral character determination before the CBE may recommend that an applicant be admitted to practice law. The process is initiated by filing an Application for Determination of Moral Character. The processing of these applications generally takes a minimum of 180 days and sometimes longer to complete. If you have not already filed a moral character application, you should do so now to avoid delays in your admission to practice law if you are successful on the California Bar Exam. The application must be filed online through your Applicant Portal.

Admittance ticket

Applicants will receive an email alerting them when admittance tickets are ready to be printed. The admittance ticket can be located in the exam case record through the Applicant Portal. Admittance tickets only need to be printed for applicants testing in person

Further communication

For particular questions regarding your status or the other requirements for admission, you should contact the State Bar’s Office of Admissions by sending an email directly from your Applicant Portal. If you need to contact the office by phone, please use one of the following numbers:

Los Angeles
845 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017

San Francisco
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

California Bar Exam results

Results from the July 2021 administration of the California Bar Exam will be available to applicants through their Applicant Portal on November 12, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. Communications regarding exam results will be sent to the applicant’s contact information on file. Please note that applicants will not be able to change their contact information the week before the exam results are released.

You will be able to determine whether your name appears on the pass list through the State Bar website at 6:00 p.m. (Pacific Time) on November 12, 2021. You will need your file number and applicant number, which are listed on the admittance tickets and ID badges, to access the pass list.

Update re: in-person v. online Bar Exam testing

Hello everyone!

An update about in-person v. online Bar Exam testing for the February 2022 Cal Bar Exam.  Perhaps not a given that we will return to in-person testing for February 2022?

The Cal Bar announced yesterday that the October 2021 Baby Bar Exam will be an online exam.  No explicit announcement about the Cal Bar format for February 2022.  Based on the timing of this announcement for the Baby Bar (i.e., July 1, or a week after the Baby Bar was held), it’s safe to assume that we should know more information about the February 2022 Cal Bar Exam format on Monday, August 2, if not before.

More info about the October 2021 Baby Bar exam format here:


Date: October 26, 2021

Applicants must log into the exam between the time the password is released at 7:40 a.m. and the latest start time of 8:00 a.m. for the first exam session to verify their identification. In the morning, the exam will be administered in four, one-hour sessions (one hour per essay question). There will be a 25-minute break between each one-hour question session. Other than scheduled breaks, applicants are not permitted to leave the view of their web camera unless they finish the session early and upload their answers. In the afternoon, multiple-choice questions will be split into two 90-minute sessions, each containing 50 questions. There will be a 25-minute break between the sessions. Other than the scheduled break, applicants are not permitted to leave the view of their web camera unless they finish early and upload their answers.


Important deadlines

Application filings

July 1 Exam application open
August 2 Timely filing deadline
August 3–31 $25 late filing fee
September 1–15 $200 late filing fee
September 15 – Final filing/reinstatement deadline

– Testing accommodations petition final filing deadline*

October 1 Appeal of Testing Accommodations Petition Decision*
October 12 – Final eligibility deadline

– Proof of Law Study (first-time applicants for the exam)

October 15 Emergency Testing Accommodations Petition final filing deadline*

*Documents must be complete and received in the San Francisco Office of Admissions

Withdrawal refund policy

Requests to withdraw from the October 2021 First-Year Law Students’ Exam must be received by the State Bar’s Office of Admissions on or before the dates listed below in order to qualify for a refund. See the Withdrawal Refund Policy.

July 1–September 1 Withdrawal with 60% refund
September 2–15 Withdrawal with 30% refund
September 16–October 12 Withdrawal with no refund
October 12 Final deadline to withdraw from exam

Exam preparation and exam day

September 28 – First date admit tickets available

– ExamSoft mock exams open

October 15 Deadline to complete two mandatory mock exams
October 19 Exam files open for download
October 25 Deadline to download exam files
October 27 12:00 p.m. (Pacific Time) Laptop upload date
October 28 12:00 p.m. (Pacific Time) Testing accommodation upload date


All applicants must pay the required fees:

First-Year Law Students’ Exam $624
Laptop computer fees $153
Late Laptop Computer Fee $15* $15

*Request received subsequent to filing application

The transfer of fees from one exam to another is prohibited.

Refunds requested due to hospitalization, death, or call to active duty will be considered in accordance with the Committee of Bar Examiners’ refund policy. The refund form and copies of the policy are available on the State Bar website. Withdrawal requests can be submitted by logging into the Applicant Portal.

Address change

Applicants who change their address after filing the application can make updates by logging into the Applicant Portal to update their profile. If admittance tickets are lost, a duplicate can be requested by contacting the Office of Admissions. Deadline to change address: September 15.

Release of results

Results from the October 2021 First-Year Law Students’ Exam are scheduled to be released electronically through the Applicant Portal to applicants on December 10.