Applicants taking the First-Year Law Students' Examination should carefully read this bulletin prior to the first day of the examination as it contains important information that you will need to know. Download this bulletin as a PDF.
This year’s June First-Year Law Students' Examination will be offered online and remotely proctored to all applicants. In-person exam administration will be available to those with approved testing accommodations that cannot be provided for effectively in a remote environment. The examination is scheduled to be administered on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. There will be a morning and an afternoon session. The morning examination session is four hours and the afternoon session is three hours, with set breaks in between each of the morning session’s four essay questions and one break in the middle of the afternoon’s 100 multiple-choice questions. There will also be a scheduled lunch break.
Applicants must use laptop computers and must be logged into the system no later than 7:30 a.m. The examination will begin immediately following the establishment of the applicant’s identity and delivery of instructions. You must be logged into the system no later than 1:45 p.m. for the afternoon session, with re-establishment of your identity and delivery of instructions to begin promptly thereafter. The examination session will commence at 2:00 p.m.
Those applicants testing in person with laptop computers must be seated no later than 7:20 a.m. All in-person applicants must be seated no later than 7:30 a.m. The examination will begin immediately following the instructions. You should plan to arrive at least twenty minutes early to locate your assigned section or room. You must be seated no later than 1:45 p.m. for the afternoon session and instructions will begin promptly thereafter. The examination session will commence at 2:00 p.m.
The examination is scheduled to conclude at approximately 5:30 p.m. It may be earlier or later depending on when the examination begins. Applicants granted extended time may have different schedules, which are communicated to them individually in advance of the examination.
The First-Year Law Students’ Examination consists of four one-hour essay questions administered during the morning session and 100 multiple-choice questions, divided into two 50-question 90-minute sets, administered during the afternoon session. Applicants who have been granted extended time may have a different division of the multiple-choice questions and different allotments of time, which will be communicated to them individually in advance of the examination.
An applicant's multiple-choice raw score will be the number of items answered correctly. Multiple-choice raw scores will be converted to a 400-point scale. This process adjusts for possible differences between administrations of the examination in the average difficulty of their multiple-choice items. As a result, an applicant's multiple-choice score will not be affected by the difficulty of the particular version of the examination taken.
On the essay portion of the examination, applicants are graded on a basis of 400 maximum possible raw points. An applicant can earn up to 100 raw points on each of the four essay questions. Total raw essay scores will be converted to the same 400-point scale of measurement as that used for the multiple-choice portion to adjust for possible differences between administrations of the examination in the average difficulty of their essay questions and for variations in grader standards. Consequently, an applicant's converted essay score on the 400-point scale will not be affected by possible differences between administrations in the difficulty of the essay questions or by fluctuations in grader standards.
An applicant's total score on the examination is the sum of an applicant's converted scores on the multiple-choice and essay sections. This step gives these portions equal weight in determining the total score. To pass the examination after one reading, an applicant must achieve a total scaled score of 560 or higher.
If the total scaled score is at least 540 but less than 560, that applicant’s examination is automatically sent to reappraisal, where the supervising member of the Examination Development and Grading Team reviews the entire examination and determines whether, taken as a whole, it merits a pass or fail. Because no score adjustments are made in reappraisal, the scores reported to applicants whose examinations were reappraised are the scores achieved after the initial reading.
If an applicant is absent for any portion of the examination, or for any other reason cannot complete the examination, the applicant will be considered as having not taken the examination; the applicant’s written answers will not be graded; and, if the applicant intends to take a future administration of the examination, they 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 follow all of the rules and procedures noted in the Admittance Ticket Bulletin and in the Acceptance and Acknowledgement of Testing Conditions Form. Failure to do so may result in receiving a sanction of zero for a section of the exam, or for the full exam, or a negative referral to the Moral Character Determinations unit.
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 an 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.
Failure to follow examination rules 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, having unauthorized items with you during the examination (such as cell phones, notes, etc.), writing or typing after time has been called, attempting to cheat or avoid/override the remote proctoring system, or leaving the view of the camera while the examination is in session, will result in notice to the committee of a violation of examination 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 at all times to maintain a professional attitude toward other applicants, staff, proctors and other examination personnel. Behavior that is abusive or disruptive may result in dismissal from the examination test center and will be reported to the committee for whatever action it deems appropriate. It is expected that all applicants will demonstrate integrity, honor, and ethical behavior during this exam, and 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 will result in strict sanctions. Sanctions may include, but are not necessarily limited to: a zero for the flagged exam session, a zero for the entire exam and a negative impact on your moral character determination.
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 that policy, which would permit them to wear headwear due to their religious beliefs. Such petitions must be submitted online through the Applicant Portal no later than the final deadline for filing testing accommodations petitions.
Only the following items are allowed in the examination areas without prior approval (all items are subject to inspection at the in-person test centers):
The following laptop accessories are allowed:
Applicants who will be testing in person are allowed to have the following additional items:
Applicants testing at in-person test centers that will be handwriting their examination answers, must bring their own standard blue or black ink ballpoint pens. In-person applicants must also bring their own pencils (several sharpened pencils are recommended) for the multiple-choice portion of the examination. Mechanical pencils are not permitted. Pencil sharpeners and separate erasers will not be allowed into the examination room.
Please note that applicants, whether testing remotely or in person, cannot have wallets, lip balm, tissues, cough drops/throat lozenges, gum, candy, or other food or drinks in the examination room. Water and tissues will be available nearby at the in-person test centers.
Applicants taking the exam in person who need to bring items into an examination test center that are not listed above as being allowed must file a petition for testing accommodations using the committee’s forms in conformance with the committee’s policies and deadlines. Permission to bring or use specific items will not be granted as a matter of preference or convenience.
If unauthorized items are brought into the in-person examination room or into the exam area for applicants taking the remote-proctored examination, either intentionally or inadvertently, they will be confiscated or noted, and applicants will receive a Chapter 6 Notice and, possibly, additional sanctions imposed by the committee. In accordance with the committee’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 or activity tracker device (e.g., Fitbit), into the examination, as well as any additional sanctions the Committee may impose.
While every effort will be made to keep the environment of the in-person test center comfortable and quiet, there are times when events, conditions, or actions of third parties occur that are 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. Applicants 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, of the type specified earlier, are strongly recommended.
After you have been notified your admittance ticket is available, 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, June 19, 2020. 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. It is the responsibility of applicants using laptop computers to timely upload their exam files containing their answers to each of the four essay questions in compliance with the published procedures, instructions, and deadlines. Applicants who fail to upload their answer files by the published deadline will have a deduction of 10 scaled points taken from their total written scaled score. Applicants who fail to upload their answer files within 2 weeks of the published deadline, will be given a grade of zero for each answer that is not received by the State Bar’s Office of Admissions by the published deadlines. 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.
You will be required to establish your identity at the beginning of each session (at the start and after each break). If the system cannot confirm your identity, you will not be able to proceed with the examination.
The following conduct will be prohibited:
Smoking is prohibited at in-person test centers that do not allow smoking in accordance with local ordinance. Regardless of whether smoking is prohibited, any applicant who exits the secure examination area in order to smoke while the examination is in progress will not be allowed to reenter to complete the examination.
If you do not attend or are unable to complete a required, scheduled examination session, you will not be permitted to attend any of the remaining examination sessions. For instance, if you are absent for or unable to complete any of the Tuesday morning sessions, you will not be allowed to take either of the Tuesday afternoon sessions of the examination. If you are absent for or unable to complete any portion of the examination, you will be considered as having not taken the examination and your written answers will not be graded. If you intend to take a future administration of the examination, 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. This policy does not in any way affect the statutory requirement within which the applicant must pass the First-Year Law Students’ Examination in order to receive credit for all law studies completed to the time the examination is passed. 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 the remaining examination sessions.
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 five 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.
Applicants whose addresses change after filing their applications 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.
Applicants will receive an email alerting them when admittance tickets are ready to be printed. The admittance can be located in the examination case record through the applicant portal.
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 telephone, however, the following numbers are provided:
The State Bar of California–Los Angeles
845 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017
The State Bar of California–San Francisco
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
Results from the June 2020 administration of the First-Year Law Students’ Examination are scheduled to be released to applicants on August 7, 2020. The contact information on file will be used to communicate your examination results. Please note that applicants will not be able to change their contact information after July 31, 2020 until after results are released.