Applicants taking the California Bar Exam should read this bulletin carefully before the first day of the examination because it contains important information that you will need to know.
Download a PDF version of the Admittance Ticket Bulletin
The General Bar Examination will be administered on Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 27 and 28, 2018. The Attorneys' Examination will be administered on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018.
Each day, there will be a morning and an afternoon session.
The California Bar Examination consists of the General Bar Examination and the Attorneys’ Examination. Effective with administration of the July 2017 California Bar Examination, the General Bar Examination consists of three parts:
The parts of the examination may not be taken separately, and California does not accept the transfer of MBE scores from other jurisdictions. The examination is administered in February and July each year during the last week of the month that includes a Wednesday. On Tuesday, applicants will have three hours during the morning session to answer three essay questions; during the afternoon session, applicants will have three hours and 30 minutes to answer two essay questions and one PT. Each essay question is designed to be answered in one hour and the PT is designed to be completed in 90 minutes. The MBE will be administered on Wednesday. Applicants with disabilities granted extended time accommodations will have slightly different schedules.
On the written section of the examination, applicants are initially graded on a basis of 700 maximum possible raw points. An applicant can earn up to 100 raw points on each of the five essay questions and up to 200 raw points on the PT. The scores obtained on the written section of the examination are then translated to the 2000-point MBE scale. An applicant's total score is the scale MBE score multiplied by .50 plus the converted score on the written section multiplied by .50. Scaling ensures the two portions of the examination carry the relative weights assigned to them: written (50 percent) and MBE (50 percent). The passing score on the examination is 1440.
The Attorneys' Examination consists of the five essays and one PT from the General Bar Examination. An applicant can earn up to 100 raw points on each essay and up to 200 raw points on one PT. Written scores are scaled to the MBE.
The Committee of Bar Examiners is the sole judge of the validity of the examination and, at its discretion, may determine that the result of any test or any part of any test or any individual's score is not valid. Should the committee 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, the committee may, at its discretion, decide to make a pass/fail decision on the basis of the valid portion of the applicant's test product available to the committee.
If you are an attorney who has been approved to take the Attorneys’ Examination (one-day examination), the words "One-Day Exam" should be printed on your admittance ticket. If those words are not printed on your admittance ticket, you are scheduled to take the two-day General Bar Examination. Requests to change from the one-day Attorneys’ Examination to the two-day General Bar Examination, or vice versa, cannot be honored after the final filing deadline for applications. 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 your Testing Accommodations Notice.
Rules and policies
Failure to follow oral and written instructions while the examination is in session will result in notice to the committee of a violation of examination 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 examination, which includes, but is not limited to, bringing unauthorized items into the examination room (such as cell phones, notes, etc.), writing or typing after time has been called, looking at another applicant’s papers, talking while the examination is in session, being abusive to other applicants, staff, proctors and/or other examination personnel, will result in notice to the committee of a violation of examination rules or, in some cases, dismissal from the examination test center. Applicants are expected at all times to maintain a professional attitude toward other applicants, staff, proctors and other examination personnel. Behavior that is disruptive will be reported to the committee for whatever action it deems appropriate.
Applicants cannot wear hats, caps, hoods or any other type of headwear during the examination. The committee, however, will consider petitions filed by applicants seeking exemptions from the policy that would permit them to wear headwear due to their religious beliefs while in a secure examination test center. Such requests must be submitted on the committee’s form and filed no later than the final deadline for filing testing accommodations petitions. Upon arrival at the test center, applicants must be prepared to show a letter from the committee that permits them to bring the headwear into the examination room and the headwear may be subject to inspection. Applicants attempting to enter the test center wearing headwear who do not have a letter from the committee authorizing them to do so will be issued a Chapter 6 Notice and asked to remove the headwear.
Only the following items are allowed in the examination room without prior approval (all items are subject to inspection):
You may also bring:
During the MBE sessions, the items listed above are allowed in the examination room, except for pens, rulers, paper clips, highlighters, back supports, orthopedic cushions, pillows, bookstands or foot rests and any laptop accessories. In addition, you must bring your own pencils (several sharpened pencils are recommended; mechanical pencils are not permitted). Pencil sharpeners and separate erasers will not be allowed into the examination room.
If items not listed above are brought into the examination room either intentionally or inadvertently, they will be confiscated, you will receive a Chapter 6 Notice and, possibly, additional sanctions imposed by the committee. In accordance with the committee’s policies, you will receive a score of zero for any session during which you are found to have brought an unauthorized electronic device, such as a cell phone or activity tracker device (e.g., Fitbit), into the examination room, as well as any additional sanctions the committee may impose.
If you wish to bring items into an examination test center that are not listed above for either the essay and performance test or MBE sessions, you must file a petition for testing accommodations using the committee’s forms in conformance with the committee’s policies and deadlines. (This includes pens, back support, orthopedic cushions, pillows and foot rests during the MBE sessions.) Permission to use specific items will not be granted as a matter of convenience or preference.
In addition to other items you must not bring into the examination room, please note that unless otherwise specifically granted as an accommodation, applicants cannot bring wallets, lip balm, tissues, cough drops/throat lozenges, gum, candy or other food or drinks into the examination room. Water and tissues will be available nearby.
While every effort will be made to keep the environment of the test center comfortable and quiet, there are times when events or conditions occur beyond the control of the committee. 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 committee so that such an environment cannot be guaranteed. You should come prepared to accommodate noises, such as those made by other applicants taking the examination, proctors carrying out their duties, people entering/exiting the examination room, equipment inside or outside the test center that may make sounds while operating, other meetings or conventions in the same facility, etc. Ear plugs, in the form specified earlier, are strongly recommended.
After you have been notified your admittance ticket is available for printing, you are eligible to have your laptop computer certified for use during the examination. The required security software (Examplify) must be downloaded onto your computer and the certification process must be completed by Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. The Laptop Computer Program Bulletin for each examination, which is found on the State Bar’s website, contains the details and requirements for participation in the program. Technical assistance will not be available at the test center. You must be prepared to handwrite your examination answers if the software or your computer is not working properly, or if electricity is not available.
If you are using a laptop computer to take the examination, it is your responsibility to timely upload your exam files containing your answers to the five (5) essay questions and one (1) performance tests (1 exam file for each written session for a total of 2 exam files). If you fail to do so by the published deadline, a deduction of ten scaled points will be taken from your total written scaled score. If you fail to upload your answer files within two (2) weeks of the published deadline, you will be given a grade of zero (0) for each answer that is not received by the State Bar’s 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 files.
Smoking is prohibited at the test centers that do not allow smoking in accordance with city ordinance.
If you do not attend a required, scheduled examination session, you will not be permitted to attend the remaining examination session(s). For instance, if you are absent for the Tuesday morning session, you will not be allowed to take any remaining sessions of the examination. Applicants must make a good faith attempt to complete each session of the examination 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 examination session(s).
If you arrive at the test center after one (1) hour of testing time has elapsed, you will not be permitted to enter the test center.
The Admissions Rules require a positive moral character determination before the committee may recommend that an applicant be admitted to practice law. The process is initiated by the filing of the 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 Examination. The application must be filed online through the State Bar’s website under the requirements section.
Admission Status Screens (status screen) provide applicants with information regarding the admission requirements that have been met and those that are pending or not yet satisfied. You may access your status screen through the online application system, which most applicants use to apply for the examination. Applicants are able to log into the system by providing their Social Security Number/registration number, birth date and file number.
If your address changes, you must go online to and log into your Status Screen and select "Change My Profile." Your contact information will be updated within three to five business days.
You may print a duplicate admittance ticket from your Status Screen. You also may change your assigned test center, although space may not be available at your preferred test center, from your Status Screen. The last day to change your test center is Jan. 16, 2018.
For particular questions regarding your status or the other requirements for admission, you should contact the State Bar's Office of Admissions in writing. You can also call the bar's Los Angeles or San Francisco admissions offices directly:
Office of AdmissionsThe State Bar of California845 S. Figueroa St.Los Angeles, CA 90017213-765-1500
Office of AdmissionsThe State Bar of California180 Howard St.San Francisco, CA 94105415-538-2300
Results from the February 2018 administration of the California Bar Examination are scheduled to be mailed to applicants in mid-May 2018 and will be sent to the address on file as of two weeks prior to the date results are released. Notice of the actual date for release of results will be posted on the State Bar’s website at least two weeks prior to the release date.
You will be able to determine whether your name appears on the pass list through the State Bar’s website at 6 p.m. (Pacific Time) on the same evening results are placed in the mail. You will need your file number and applicant number, which are listed on the admittance tickets and ID badges, to access the pass list.