The Difficulty Level of Bar Exams by State

The state you practice law in would be the state that you chose to take your bar exam. Think twice when choosing a state because the bar exams’ difficulty level varies from state to state. If you look at the numbers carefully, you will find that some states’ passing rates are considerably lower than others.

The California Bar exam shows the lowest passing rate in the country. In 2017, the State Bar of California designed the exam to include a performance test to determine and rate the test taker’s ability to handle a client’s legal challenges, five essay questions, and the standardized bar test from the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Arkansas also has a difficult bar exam. Like California, the exam takes place for two days. The number of state laws and local laws covered in the bar exam seems to raise the notch higher than other states.

The Washington bar exam is difficult. Having three law schools within Washington, including the out-of-state takers from Seattle, produces many law students. If you plan on taking the Washington bar exam, you need to prepare yourself. You may try Oregon next door, but they also rank fifth in difficulty level.

Louisiana differentiates itself in terms of bar exams. To practice law there, you will need to brush up on common law and civil law according to the state’s legal system. The Louisiana bar exam is constructed based on the Law curriculum of the four Law schools, which makes their bar exam unlike any other state.

In the state of Nevada, Las Vegas attracts experienced and new lawyers. The bar exam takes two days and a half to complete, while the passing score on their exams is higher. The laws unique to Nevada in combination with the standardized bar test makes it longer than other states.

If you are not confident about passing the bar exam, you should consider looking into the central states. The easiest bar exam is in South Dakota. Other states included in the list of easy bar exams would be Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska. In Wisconsin, for example, they have a policy called diploma privilege where you are admitted immediately after graduating law school to the state bar.

If you plan on moving to another state in the future, you might consider taking the Multistate Bar Exam. If the state you move into also makes use of a Multistate Bar Exam, it makes it easier to be admitted to that state’s bar.

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