Are there ways to help all who take the California Bar Exam better prepare and improve their performance? That is the question being studied by the State Bar in conjunction with a team of law and psychology researchers from Indiana University, University of Southern California, and Stanford University.
The research team used surveys and focus groups of recent California Bar Exam participants to help develop the California Bar Exam Strategies and Stories Program. The program was offered for the first time to all applicants for the July 2018 bar exam and has been offered for subsequent exams since.
The online program includes an introductory film, stories from prior test takers, and a writing activity in which participants share insights and strategies that may be useful to them and to future test takers. Results from all administrations of the program are promising: participating in the program improves bar scores by approximately 30 points, even after controlling for other factors.
The State Bar is offering the program again to all applicants for the February 2024 bar exam. Early registrants will be invited by email to apply for the program no later than November 10 to have access in December.
A second registration period for the program will open on December 14, with applicants invited by email, and will be available until January 7, 2024.
This research effort complements a series of studies that the State Bar has undertaken to comprehensively evaluate the California Bar Exam, prompted by several factors, including a multiyear decline in pass rates.