Why is the CA bar more difficult and passage rate so low?

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Poets

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Why is the CA bar more difficult and passage rate so low?

Postby Poets » Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:49 pm

Is it because essay questions are more difficult than other states'? Is the performance test unique to the CA bar?

Boltsfan

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Re: Why is the CA bar more difficult and passage rate so low?

Postby Boltsfan » Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:19 pm

There are a lot of factors here, but the three biggest (in order) are probably that: (1) CA allows people with JDs from unaccredited law schools to take the bar, and they pass at an incredibly low rate; (2) several of the worst ABA accredited law schools in the country are in CA (looking at you Whitier, TJ, Golden Gate, San Francisco, Southwestern, Laverne, Western State, and Cal Western) and they drag the pass rate down; and (3) the MBE is less heavily weighted than in other jurisdictions, meaning you can't just score well on the MBE and then type stream of consciousness nonsense in the essays like you can other places.

If you look at people that went to decent schools and took the CA bar, they aren't failing at that high of a rate. Last year, for in-state schools, Stanford passed at 88.8%, USC at 86.7%, UCLA at 85.4%, Cal at 84.8%, and UCI at 79.8%. Those odds aren't that bad.

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Re: Why is the CA bar more difficult and passage rate so low?

Postby BigZuck » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:31 am

Boltsfan wrote:There are a lot of factors here, but the three biggest (in order) are probably that: (1) CA allows people with JDs from unaccredited law schools to take the bar, and they pass at an incredibly low rate; (2) several of the worst ABA accredited law schools in the country are in CA (looking at you Whitier, TJ, Golden Gate, San Francisco, Southwestern, Laverne, Western State, and Cal Western) and they drag the pass rate down; and (3) the MBE is less heavily weighted than in other jurisdictions, meaning you can't just score well on the MBE and then type stream of consciousness nonsense in the essays like you can other places.

If you look at people that went to decent schools and took the CA bar, they aren't failing at that high of a rate. Last year, for in-state schools, Stanford passed at 88.8%, USC at 86.7%, UCLA at 85.4%, Cal at 84.8%, and UCI at 79.8%. Those odds aren't that bad.

Not sure if rancid pro- Hastings/Davis trolling or rancid anti- Hastings/Davis trolling

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2807

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Re: Why is the CA bar more difficult and passage rate so low?

Postby 2807 » Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:56 am

Hardworking students generally pass.

The top schools accept students who evidence hard work, and therefore have great pass rates.
Lower ranked schools accept the rest, and the pass rate reflects it.

It's not really the school, it's the student body.

I went to a Tier 5 school. I passed. First try.
But there were students all around campus who I would not trust to wash my car correctly.

It is an embarrassment of profiteering by these schools.
So many of these students could not rationalize their way out of the parking lot.
They are completely convinced that attendance = lawyer in three years.
Their entire life likely validates their worldview.
Then,,, BOOM... the CA Bar Exam.

If these schools provided as much clarity and support in their bar passage success as they do in their financial aid department, the bar pass rates would soar.

They will hold your hand all the way and make sure you get 100%.... on your loan application.

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rcharter1978

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Re: Why is the CA bar more difficult and passage rate so low?

Postby rcharter1978 » Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:18 am

I think unaccredited/low ranked schools may play a role in that students from those schools maybe haven't gone through the rigors of studying for a standardized exam before.

There is something to be said for the student body at lower tiered schools. I once had a professor tell me that the top students at every school are pretty much the same, but once you get to the lower ranked students it generally becomes a shit show (my words, his thoughts). However, the bottom tier at highly ranked school is just different. They are still pretty smart and competent.

And the exam itself is another factor. The only objective part of the exam is the MBE, and thats only weighed at 35%. Essays/PTs are subjective and are graded holistically, so if you aren't a great writer, or if you don't know how to game the exam (subject headings! super structured IRAC! short paragraphs!) you're kinda screwed.

It'll be interesting to see what happens in July 2017 when the MBE is 50% of the exam

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MsAvocadoPit

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Re: Why is the CA bar more difficult and passage rate so low?

Postby MsAvocadoPit » Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:23 am

Proud to be a first time passer from SCU... :-)

Boltsfan

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Re: Why is the CA bar more difficult and passage rate so low?

Postby Boltsfan » Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:51 am

BigZuck wrote:Not sure if rancid pro- Hastings/Davis trolling or rancid anti- Hastings/Davis trolling


I just listed the top 5 from last July. Loyola came in 6th before Davis and USD, Chapman, McGeorge, Santa Clara, and Pepperdine all came in ahead of Hastings. If you go outside of the schools in CA, then Yale, UVA, Chicago, Penn, Harvard, NYU, Michigan, Columbia, and UT all had strong bar passage rates as well (all over 83%).

I would generally not want to go below an 80% pass rate. That's still a 20% chance of having wasted three years of your life. I mostly agree with the sentiment that the top students at most (but not all) law schools are roughly the same caliber and will pass at a high rate. But if you go to a mediocre school and aren't in the top 25% or so, you are (statistically speaking) playing with fire.

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2807

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Re: Why is the CA bar more difficult and passage rate so low?

Postby 2807 » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:31 pm

There are other statistics to consider.
Go take a look at the CA Bar stats for gender/race etc..

If you are a white male at an ABA school, the over-all pass rate regardless of which school/rank is approx 80%.

So, that was me. I found comfort in that, as awkward as it is... its just math.

Boltsfan

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Re: Why is the CA bar more difficult and passage rate so low?

Postby Boltsfan » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:42 pm

Did not know a break down by race/gender existed.

I don't see "white male" in the data, but, for July 2015, for a white first time test taker from a CA ABA school it was 71.8%, for a male first time test taker from a CA ABA it was 67.6%, and for a female first time test taker from a CA ABA school it was 69%. Minorities do worse than whites, with Blacks doing the worst, followed by hispanics, then "other minority," and finally asians. Looks like white woman is the ideal bar taker.

The data is only from self-reporting, so there might be some sort of bias, but this is pretty interesting.

http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portals ... 121715.pdf

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2807

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Re: Why is the CA bar more difficult and passage rate so low?

Postby 2807 » Tue Nov 22, 2016 2:11 pm

Boltsfan wrote:Did not know a break down by race/gender existed.

I don't see "white male" in the data, but, for July 2015, for a white first time test taker from a CA ABA school it was 71.8%, for a male first time test taker from a CA ABA it was 67.6%, and for a female first time test taker from a CA ABA school it was 69%. Minorities do worse than whites, with Blacks doing the worst, followed by hispanics, then "other minority," and finally asians. Looks like white woman is the ideal bar taker.

The data is only from self-reporting, so there might be some sort of bias, but this is pretty interesting.

http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portals ... 121715.pdf


Yep. I took the exam a few years back, and at that time the number was around 80% for white folks from ABA.
As pass rates have gone down so has this % too obviously.

Anyway, not sure it helps, but it does add to the analysis of a schools' overall pass rate, and you.

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lacrossebrother

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Re: Why is the CA bar more difficult and passage rate so low?

Postby lacrossebrother » Tue Nov 22, 2016 2:26 pm

I think it's legitimately a harder test than other jurisdictions.
It is longer (at least used to be), the material is more complex (i.e. managing competing state/fed rules), and the questions test more arcane subjects.
In other words, not only is the MBE weighted less --it's also just harder to bs your way to a passing score on the essays.

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Yukos

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Re: Why is the CA bar more difficult and passage rate so low?

Postby Yukos » Tue Nov 22, 2016 3:21 pm

I'm on my phone so I can't link it, but someone did a study controlling for school quality and CA was still the hardest, so that's only part of the story. I think lower MBE weight is important, and maybe people fade at the end of day 3.

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Re: Why is the CA bar more difficult and passage rate so low?

Postby Boltsfan » Tue Nov 22, 2016 4:11 pm

I agree that the length of the exam is a factor. That third day is rough; after lunch heading into the second PT I felt pretty terrible. If the 3rd day is a problem, then the new format should address that. I have my doubts, though, because the PT, which right now is a gift from the bar examiners, is going to be much less heavily weighted.

Does anyone know if the MBE is going to be weighted at 50% in July? If so, that will be huge for pass rates.

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rcharter1978

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Re: Why is the CA bar more difficult and passage rate so low?

Postby rcharter1978 » Tue Nov 22, 2016 4:50 pm

Boltsfan wrote:I agree that the length of the exam is a factor. That third day is rough; after lunch heading into the second PT I felt pretty terrible. If the 3rd day is a problem, then the new format should address that. I have my doubts, though, because the PT, which right now is a gift from the bar examiners, is going to be much less heavily weighted.

Does anyone know if the MBE is going to be weighted at 50% in July? If so, that will be huge for pass rates.


Yes 50% MBE, 50% written. 5 essays + 1PT

Poets

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Re: Why is the CA bar more difficult and passage rate so low?

Postby Poets » Wed Nov 30, 2016 3:04 am

Yukos wrote:I'm on my phone so I can't link it, but someone did a study controlling for school quality and CA was still the hardest, so that's only part of the story.


I agree. Look at the school data. Hastings - less than 70% pass rate in 2015!

http://abovethelaw.com/2015/12/californ ... july-2015/



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