by Paulina Bandy, Esq.
When I was a bar exam candidate, I hired a tutor specializing in the Performance Exam section of the CA Bar Exam. Afterward, I discovered the tutor had never taken, nor passed, the Performance Exam at the CA Bar Exam. Looking at the exam format history and comparing it with when the tutor passed the bar exam, and considering their experience and approach with repeaters, helps you make an informed decision in your bar exam preparation.
The California Bar Exam is different today, in subject matter, scope, scoring, timing, and competition than it was when many bar exam instructors passed the exam on their first try. This historical perspective provides understanding of why some tutors cannot relate to repeaters' needs and why many candidates are finding it necessary to get help in addition to bar review.California Bar Exam Format History:
Prior to 1972- Essay Only, able to throw a question out
1972- Multi-States Added
1975- First state to Add Professional Responsibility Exam
1980- MPRE Instituted
1983- First Performance Exam Added to Measure Practical Skills
1987- New Grading Procedure "Scaling"
2007- Business Associations, CA Code of Civ Pro, CA Evidence Code Added to Essays
2015- Civil Procedure Federal Rules Added to Multi-State Section
2017- Reduced to two day exam
2020 - Covid-19 - online exam in October
2021 - online exam in February
The addition of Multi-States, and the Performance Exam, caused new challenges for bar candidates including three areas to prepare for and new exam timing constraints. The Performance Exam tested Practical Skills for the first time on a bar exam. Prior to 1983, the test only focused on memorized law and its analysis.
The addition of Professional Responsibility in 1975 and the official addition of the CA Code of Civil Procedure, CA Evidence Code, and the expansion of Corporations to Business Associations in 2007, should also be considered when searching for a relevant tutor. Having your tutor comfortable in these areas reflects on their ability to teach you.
The grading method of "Scaling" was instituted in 1987. Your scaled score today does not directly compare with what a tutor scored in 1986.
Conducting an attorney search on The State Bar of California website will show when the tutor was admitted to the California Bar and if they are active members keeping up with their continued legal education.
As a CA Bar Candidate in 2021, your exam instruction should be relevant to the demands of today's California Bar Exam. Getting proper help during the Covid-19 challenges should help you feel more secure in uneasy times.
Paulina Bandy, Esq.
Bar Exam Strategist
CA Bar Exam Repeaters' Resource™
Prepare to Pass™
For a courtesy consultation email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we may arrange a teleconference to discuss your needs and bar preparation in specific detail.
For further help finding an appropriate tutor for your needs, click on link below:
Guidelines to Selecting Bar Exam Preparation
History presented here was confirmed by a telephone call to The State Bar of California, Office of Media and Information Services.