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 while the exam is in session will result in notice to the State Bar's Committee of Bar Examiners of a violation of exam 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 exam, which includes, but is not limited to, bringing unauthorized items into the exam room (such as cell phones, notes, etc.), writing or typing after time has been called, looking at another applicant’s papers, talking while the exam is in session, being abusive to other applicants, staff, proctors and/or other exam personnel, will result in notice to the Committee of a violation of exam rules or, in some cases, dismissal from the exam test center. Applicants are expected at all times to maintain a professional attitude toward other applicants, staff, proctors, and other exam 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 exam. 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 exam 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 exam 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 will be asked to remove the headwear.
During the essay and Performance Test sessions of the California Bar Exam and the essay and multiple-choice sessions of the First-Year Law Students’ Exam, only the following items are allowed in the exam room without prior approval. All items are subject to inspection:
During the MBE sessions, the items listed above are allowed in the exam room, except for pens, rulers, paper clips, highlighters, back supports, orthopedic cushions, pillows, bookstands, or footrests. 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 exam room.
If items not listed above are brought into the exam 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 exam room, as well as any additional sanctions the Committee may impose.
Applicants who wish to bring items into an exam 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, cushions, pillows, and footrests 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, lip balm, activity trackers (e.g., Fitbit), or other food or drinks into the exam 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’ Exam: 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 exam will begin immediately following the instructions.
California Bar Exam: 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 exam will begin immediately following the instructions.
Applicants with disabilities granted accommodations to take the exam that includes 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 exam.
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 is absent for any portion of the exam, the applicant is considered as having not taken the exam; the applicant’s written answers will not be graded; if the applicant intends to take a future administration of the exam, they will be subject to the same application filing deadlines applicable to first-time applicants rather than the deadlines applicable to immediate repeaters. Applicants must make a good faith attempt to complete each portion of the exam 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 exam session(s). Applicants taking the Attorneys’ Exam are excused from the Wednesday sessions and will not be allowed into the exam test center on Wednesday.
While every effort will be made to keep the environment of the test center comfortable and quiet, there are times when events or conditions, or actions of third parties 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 exam, proctors carrying out their duties, people entering/exiting the exam room, equipment inside or outside the test center that may make sounds while operating, construction outside the facility, other meetings or conventions in the same facility, etc. Earplugs, 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 exam. 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.
Only those applicants with permanent disabilities who have previously been granted testing accommodations and who wish to request the exact same accommodations should select a testing accommodations test center (those with a code number starting with an “S”). Applicants must not select a testing accommodations test center unless they have been granted testing accommodations in the past for a permanent disability.
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.
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 exam. The Laptop Computer Program Bulletin for each exam, 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 exam answers if the electricity, electrical outlets, software, or computers are not working.
If applicants use laptop computers to take the exam, it is their responsibility to timely upload their exam files containing their answers. For the First-Year Law Students’ Exam, there is one exam file containing answers to four essay questions. For the California Bar Exam, there are two exam files (for each of the two written sessions of the exam) which contain answers to the five essay questions and one 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 10 scaled points will be taken from their total written scaled score. If applicants fail to upload their answer files within two weeks of the published deadline, they will be given a grade of zero for each answer not uploaded in a timely manner.