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Category: Tips

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.


NCBE wags the Bar Exam Dog… in-person bar exams for February 2022


The NCBE is only going to provide in-person materials for the February 2022 exam.  That means hardcopy materials.  This is a strong leverage play.  “OK, state bar licensing entities, you can do what you want, so long as you do what I say.”  You want Uniform Bar Exam materials?  Enjoy our hardcopy exams, people:  you really didn’t want to think about having another remote exam, did you.

What does this mean for California?  You want those MBE materials for 50% of your test, don’t you?  Welcome back to in-person testing, people.  California has about 60 days to decide right after the July 2021 Cal Bar Exam that, hey, it really was our idea, it really was!  But we’re doing in-person testing for February 2022… and now you know.

NCBE’s press release from June 1 appears below.


NCBE Anticipates Return to In-Person Testing for February 2022 Bar Exam

MADISON, WISCONSIN, June 1, 2021—The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) announced today that February 2022 bar exam materials will be made available to jurisdictions for in-person testing only, unless restrictions by a public health authority prohibit a jurisdiction from administering the February exam in person.

NCBE is the not-for-profit corporation that develops the licensing tests used by most US jurisdictions for attorney admissions. In the second half of 2020 and throughout 2021, NCBE made bar exam materials available to jurisdictions for both in-person and remote exam administrations. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bar exam had been administered by each jurisdiction in person, in a secure, proctored testing environment. The July 2021 bar exam is expected to be the last that includes a remote testing option; 29 jurisdictions plan to administer that exam remotely, while 24 will administer it in person.

NCBE has advocated for in-person testing as the best mode of administration of the bar exam.  According to Beth Hill, NCBE Director of Test Development, Operations, and Security, “Remote exams have been a valuable stopgap for jurisdictions during this time, allowing examinees to take the test without having to gather in a larger group. However, remote exams create challenges for exam security and uniformity, and for this reason, we have consistently advocated for in-person testing as the best option whenever possible.”

Hill acknowledges, however, that both NCBE and jurisdictions must continue to monitor the public health landscape: “Throughout the pandemic, jurisdictions have worked closely with their state and local health authorities to ensure that examinees may take the bar exam consistent with each jurisdiction’s safety requirements. Although conditions appear to be improving, NCBE recognizes that any jurisdiction’s public health authority may establish that candidates cannot test in person. Should that occur, we are committed to working with that jurisdiction on a solution that will enable its candidates to take the bar exam.”

The National Conference of Bar Examiners serves bar admission authorities, courts, the legal education community, and candidates by providing high-quality assessment products, services, and research; character investigations; and informational and educational resources and programs. It promotes fairness, integrity, and best practices in bar admissions for the benefit and protection of the public in pursuit of its vision of a competent, ethical, and diverse legal profession. For more information, visit the NCBE website at

July 2021 Bar Exam Announcement

Hello everyone!

The July 2021 Cal Bar Exam announcement is provided here:


Note that the first version of the FAQ Document for the July exam is here!   I’ve attached it.  Note it will change over time, so make sure to check the document online periodically.  Pro-tip:  Look at the LAST page of the document first because that’s where the tips are!


July-2021-Bar-Exam-FAQs 32521


Finally, the July 2021 Bar Exam Schedule (under traditional time) is available as well.  It’s attached.