Image from Shutterstock. Only 40.7 percent of the people who took the California July 2018 bar exam passed, according to a state bar news release .

Comparatively, the state’s overall pass rate for the July 2017 bar exam was 49.57 percent. For July 2016, the overall pass rate was 43.57 percent.

A total of 8,071 applicants completed the July 2018 California exam, according to the news release, which was posted Friday. There were 5,132 first-time test takers, and that pass rate for that group was 55 percent. Out of 2,939 repeat test takers, the pass rate was 16 percent.

The overall pass rate for California is the lowest it has been in 67 years, the Recorder reports.

In September , the National Conference of Bar Examiners announced that the average Multistate Bar Exam score for July 2018 was 139.5, which is the lowest it’s been since 1984. That led to predictions—which for the most part were accurate—of lower pass rates overall for the July 2018 exam.

Connecticut appears to have one of the biggest decreases, with a 55 percent pass rate for July 2018 , compared to 70 percent in July 2017. And the New Mexico bar passage rate for July 2018 was 70 percent, compared to 83 percent in July 2017 .

Besides California and Connecticut, other states with bar pass rates below 60 percent for July 2018 include Alaska (56 percent), Nevada (57 percent) and New Jersey (58.83 percent), as well as Arizona and Maryland , which both had bar passage rates of 59 percent.

New York, which like California is seen as a state with a more difficult bar exam, had a pass rate of 63 percent for July 2018 , compared to 68 percent in July 2017.

Admitting law students with below-average LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs, along with accusations that people don’t study enough for the bar, are often listed as reasons why pass rates have dropped. What should be considered—but often is not—is that rote memorization is needed to pass a bar exam, and many new law graduates didn’t grow up with educations that focused on that skill, compared to […]

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