California Bar Exam

California Bar Examiners

State Bar of California
Office of Admissions
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639
(415) 538-2300

Bar Exam Format

The California general bar exam includes one PT, five essay questions, and the MBE. The California Attorney’s Exam has those components except for the MBE.

Day 1

Day one will consist of (A) three, one-hour California essay questions in the morning session and (B) two, one-hour California essay questions and one, one and one-half hour California PT in the afternoon session.

Day 2

Only the California general bar exam includes day two, which is the MBE. The MBE has 100 multiple choice questions to answer in the 3 hours before the lunch break and 100 multiple choice questions to answer in the 3 hours afterward. On average, you have one point eight minutes to select each answer.


California does not provide for admission on motion or reciprocity, rather it offers the California Bar Exam. If an attorney does not qualify to sit for the California Attorneys’ Exam, then the attorney would sit for the California General Bar Exam.


The California bar exam’s essay questions may test the following subjects:

  • Business Associations (including Agency, Corporations, Joint Ventures, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships (General Partnerships, Limited Partnerships, and Limited Liability Partnerships), and Sole Proprietorships);
  • Civil Procedure (federal and California law);
  • Community Property (California law);
  • Evidence (federal and California law);
  • Professional Responsibility (California and American Bar Association rules);
  • Remedies;
  • Trusts;
  • U.C.C. Articles 1, 2, and 9 (regarding fixtures);
  • Wills & Succession (California law); and
  • All Multistate Bar Exam (“MBE”) Subjects.

Bar Exam Dates

The California bar exam is held in February and July. The exam is usually on the last Wednesday and prior Tuesday of each month.


  • February 27-28, 2024
  • July 30-31, 2024

Exam Results

Traditionally, the California Committee of Bar Examiners releases the February California Bar Exam results by the end of May, and the July California Bar Exam results before Thanksgiving.  Once the California committee mails your bar results, you can access a pass list online.  You will only receive your grades and answers if you do not pass.


The California Bar Exam passing score is 1,440 on a 2,000 point scale, based on the combined scaled scores of the California Performance Test (“PT”), the California essay questions, and the MBE.  The California Committee of Bar Examiners weights the PT and the essay questions together at 50% and the MBE at 50%. The PT is worth twice the amount as an essay question score.

Pass Rate/Stats

Each California general bar exam pass rates differ. For total takers, pass rates range between 33% – 62%.  For first-time takers, pass rates range between 47% – 81%.  Repeat takers have lower pass rates ranging between 14% – 42%.