Those taking the California Bar Examination or First-Year Law Student's Examination must follow strict rules while the exam
is in session.
Failure to follow oral and written instructions will result in notice
to the State Bar's Committee of Bar Examiners 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, carrying unauthorized items into
the examination room (such as cell phones), 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, which is available in the forms section of the
State Bar website,
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.
During the essay and Performance Test sessions of the California Bar
Examination and the essay and multiple-choice sessions of the First-Year
Law Students’ Examination, only the following items are allowed in the
examination room without prior approval. All items are subject to
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. In addition,
applicants must bring their 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, the application will receive a conduct rule violation notice and, possibly, additional sanctions
imposed by the Committee. In accordance with the Committee’s policies, the applicant 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 devices (like a Fitbit), into the examination
room, as well as any additional sanctions the Committee may impose.
Applicants who wish to bring items into an examination test center
that are not listed above (for either the written or MBE sessions) must
file a petition for testing accommodations using the Committee’s forms
in conformance with the committee’s policies and deadlines. (This
includes back support, pillows and foot rests during the MBE sessions.)
Permission to use specific items will not be granted as a matter of
convenience or preference. Applicants cannot bring wallets, tissues,
cough drops/throat lozenges, gum, candy, or other food or drinks into
the examination room, unless specifically granted permission to do so
through the testing accommodations petition process
. Water and tissues will be available nearby.
First-Year Law Students’ Examination: Applicants using laptop
computers must be seated no later than 7:20 a.m. All applicants must be
seated no later than 7:30 a.m. The examination will begin immediately
following the instructions.
California Bar Examination: Applicants using laptop computers must be
seated no later than 8:20 a.m. All applicants must be seated no later
than 8:30 a.m. The examination will begin immediately following the
Applicants with disabilities granted accommodations to take the
examination that include extended time may have different start times,
which will be communicated in the Testing Accommodations Notice provided
to such applicants in advance of administration of an examination.
Applicants who arrive at the test center after one hour of testing has elapsed will not be permitted to enter the test center.
If an applicant does not attend a required, scheduled examination
session, the applicant will not be permitted to attend any remaining
examination session(s). Applicants must make a good faith attempt to
complete each portion of the examination for which they are present.
An applicant’s attempt to circumvent security procedures may lead to
voiding the applicant’s attendance at a session and the prohibition to
attend any remaining examination session(s).
Although 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.
Smoking is prohibited at test centers located in buildings that do not allow smoking in accordance with city ordinance.
Applicants must select the test center in which they wish to take
the examination. Only a limited number of applicants can be accommodated
at each test center. Priority of assignment to the test centers will be
based upon the date of receipt of complete applications. When the test
center given first preference is full, the second choice or third choice
will be assigned. If all three choices are full, applicants will be
assigned to the closest available test center.
If after filing the application form, applicants are granted testing
accommodations, in most cases but not all, they will be assigned to a
testing accommodations test center in the general area of their first
choice. Notice of the test center to which they have been assigned will
be forwarded with the letter advising them of the testing accommodations
that have been granted.
1. After an applicant has been found eligible to take an
examination, he/she will receive an admittance ticket, which contains
the applicant’s application number and file number. The applicant should
not write anything on the ticket and all applicants are required to
show their tickets to the proctor when they enter the test center.
Applicants must keep the ticket in their possession throughout the duration of
2. If items other than those allowed are brought to the test center,
applicants will be required to leave them at their own risk outside of
the examination area. The committee assumes no responsibility for the
safekeeping of items that applicants bring to the test
center. Applicants are not permitted access to those items while the examination is in session.
3. Applicants should bring any permitted personal items, e.g.,
prescription medication, foam ear plugs, pens, etc., into the
examination area in a small, clear plastic bag. Larger items, such as
pillows, do not need to fit into the clear plastic bag that holds their
4. All applicants are assigned to particular rooms in particular
test centers. Signs will be posted showing seating assignment by
examination application numbers. Applicants must occupy the same seating
space throughout the examination.
5. Upon arrival at their seats, applicants will find an
identification badge that will be their identification credential during
administration of the examination and which applicants may be required
to show at any time. The badge must be fastened so it can be easily seen
by the proctors. Applicants will be told to relocate the badge if it is
not placed appropriately. Applicants at standard test centers must
leave the badge at their seat during the lunch break.
6. At some time during administration of the examination, applicants may be required to provide their fingerprints. If an applicant refuses
to provide the required fingerprints, a
conduct rule violation notice will be issued
to him/her, in accordance with the policies and procedures established
by the Committee.
7. At some point during the examination, applicants will be asked to
show a government- issued ID card that has their photograph (driver's license, California Identification card or passport) for the purpose of
verification of identity. Applicants must carry this photograph ID card
at all times during the examination.
8. At the beginning of each Essay and Performance Test session of
the examination, applicants will be instructed to write their applicant
numbers, names, and signatures in the upper right hand tab of each of
their answer book covers. Applicants must not write notes, answers, time
schedules or make any marks on the inside or outside of their answer
book covers. Prior to grading, the tab containing their personal
information will be removed after a code number has been assigned and
labeled on each answer cover and tab. Thereafter, answers are
identified by code number
only; nothing about an individual applicant is known to the Graders.
9. Applicants are not allowed to make notes from memory prior to the
start of the examination session. If applicants are using their laptop
computer, they may not access any notes or other documents on their
computer after they have entered the secure examining area. Scratch
paper will be distributed for the essay and PT sessions of the
examination. Scratch paper is not permitted during the Multistate Bar
Examination (MBE) portion of the examination. Applicants must not make
notes on their Admittance Tickets.
10. There is a separate answer book for each written question of the
examination, which is numbered to correspond to the number of the
question. Applicants’ handwriting their answers must be certain that
their answers to Question No. 1 are in the book for Question No. 1, etc.
Answers written in a wrong book or typed in the wrong answer
window while using SofTest, or more than one answer is typed in an
text box screen while using SofTest require special handling and the
grading of an applicant’s answer could be delayed as a result.
11. If applicants need additional scratch paper or lined paper to
write their answers during the examination, they should raise their
hands and a proctor will provide them with what they need. Nothing
written on scratch paper or answer book covers will be graded.
12. If applicants are hand writing, they should do so as legibly as
possible. Ballpoint pens, with blue or black ink, must be used to write
their answers. Answers written in pencil are not acceptable. Only
non-mechanical pencils may be used for the MBE and multiple- choice
portions of the examinations. Neither highlighters nor white-out may be
used on applicants’ answers.
13. All answers to the MBE portion of the examination must be marked
on the answer sheets provided. If applicants have circled their answers
in the question booklet, extra time to transfer answers to the answer
sheet will not be granted. Only answers marked on the answer sheets will
14. Examination questions and used scratch paper may not be taken
out of the examination room. After completing each session of the
examination, all examination questions and used scratch paper must be
placed in the envelope designated for that purpose.
15. If applicants handwrite their examination answers, it is their
responsibility to turn in their written examination answers to the
proctors. If an applicant leaves a test center with his/her answers, the
answers will not be graded.
16. The examination is electronically timed and the official time is kept by the announcer.
Applicants are encouraged to keep track of their own time; wall
clocks are not provided. During the instructions at the beginning of
each session, applicants will be advised of the courtesy time warnings
that will be given. Any failure on the part of the announcer to give the
planned warnings will not affect the outcome of the examination or the
17. Timing devices, i.e., watches and clocks, brought into the
examination 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" x 4". Timing devices that
are programmable and/or that make noise are not permitted. If found,
they will be confiscated, and the applicant will receive a notice that they have violated the bar's conduct rules.
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 an applicant attempts to write anything
after time has been called, he/she will receive a Chapter 6 Notice.
19. Restrooms and water will be available at each test center.
Applicants should use the facilities before taking their seats so they
do not miss the instructions prior to the start of each session. Extra
time to use the restroom will not be granted. Applicants will not be
permitted to use the restroom or leave their seats during the last
several minutes of the examination (5 to 15 minutes depending on the
session). After time is called, applicants
will not be permitted to use the restroom or leave their seats until
all materials are collected and inventoried. If an applicant fails to
remain seated after being advised to do so or while the examination
materials are collected and inventoried, he/she will receive a Chapter 6
20. If an applicant leaves his/her seat for any reason, he/she should
be considerate of others who are taking the examination. The scraping
of chairs, heavy footsteps, or conversation just outside the examination
area disturbs others.
21. If an applicant leaves the secured examination area during the
examination session, he/she will not be permitted to return for the
purpose of completing his/her examination answers.
22. At laptop computer test centers, laptop computers may not be
disconnected from electrical outlets or removed from the examination
hall while the examination is in session, even if the applicant has
completed the examination for that session. Applicants must wait until
the examination session has concluded and applicants are dismissed
before retrieving their computer.
23.The proctors' chief function is to proctor the examination;
however, if asked, the proctors will attempt to assist with any problems
that may arise.
24. If there is an emergency of any kind, applicants should remain seated and wait for instructions on how to proceed.
After applicants have been advised that they may print their
admittance ticket from their Status Screen, they may initiate and
complete the certification process with ExamSoft. The required security
software must be downloaded onto their computers and the certification
process must be completed prior to the first day of the examination. The
Laptop Computer Program Bulletin for each examination, which is found
on the State Bar’s website, contains the details for participation in
the program. Technical assistance will not be available at the test
centers. Applicants must be prepared to handwrite their examination
answers if the electricity, electrical outlets, software or their
computers are not working.
If applicants use laptop computers to take the examination, it is
their responsibility to timely upload their exam files containing their
answers. For the First-Year Law Students’ Examination, there is one (1)
exam file containing answers to four (4) essay questions. For the
California Bar Examination, there are two (2) exam files (1 for each of
the two written sessions of the examination) which contain answers to
the five (5) essay questions and one
(1) Performance Test. All exam files must be uploaded in accordance
with the published procedures, instructions and deadlines. If applicants
fail to upload their answer files by the published deadline, a
deduction of ten scaled points will be taken from their total written
scaled score. If applicants fail to upload their answer files within two
(2) weeks of the published deadline, they will be given a grade of zero
(0) for each answer not uploaded in a timely manner.