Alameda County
Bar Association

Two-day Bar Exam Starting in 2017 


Contact: Laura Ernde 415-538-2283

SAN FRANCISCO, March 16, 2016 — The State Bar of California is pleased to announce that the California Supreme Court today approved the change to a two-day bar exam effective July 2017.

The General Bar Examination, which is primarily administered to newly graduated law students, will be shortened from three days to two. The first day will consist of five one-hour essay questions and one 90-minute performance test. The performance test score will be worth twice the amount as an essay question score, which is consistent with the current grading policies established by the Committee of Bar Examiners. The second day will be the Multistate Bar Examination, given in most other states and consisting of 200 multiple-choice questions. The written and multiple-choice portions will be weighted equally.

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court has approved this move toward greater efficiency,” State Bar President David Pasternak said. “Years of careful study have shown that the new format will ensure that the exam remains valid, fair and reliable.”

The change was previously approved by the Committee of Bar Examiners and the State Bar Board of Trustees after receiving public input.

“With careful analysis, the Committee has managed to maintain the long-standing effectiveness of the exam in admitting only well-qualified lawyers to practice, while also reducing the time and stress on our applicants. I applaud their work,” Executive Director Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker said.


The State Bar of California is an administrative arm of the California Supreme Court, protecting the public and seeking to improve the justice system for more than 80 years. All lawyers practicing law in California must be members of the State Bar. Membership now stands at about a quarter-million.