California Bar Examination Instructions


Examination Date and Time

The February 2018 California Bar Examination will be administered in the morning and afternoon on February 27 and 28, 2018.

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General Bar Examination vs. Attorneys' Examination

The General Bar Examination has three parts: five essay questions, the Multistate Bar Examination (200 multiple-choice questions), and one performance test. The following table shows the examination schedule:

Day A.M. Session Session Time P.M. Session Session Time
Tuesday Essay 1, 2, 3 3 hours Essay 4, 5, and Performance Test 3½ hours
Wednesday MBE (100 questions) 3 hours MBE (100 questions) 3 hours

The Attorney's Examination has two parts: five essay questions and one performance test. Applicants approved for the Attorneys' Examination will not be permitted to take the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE). The following table shows the examination schedule:

Day A.M. Session Session Time P.M. Session Session Time
Tuesday Essay 1, 2, 3 3 hours Essay 4, 5, and Performance Test 3½ hours

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Essay Questions

The essay questions on the examination are designed to measure an applicant's ability to analyze legal issues arising from fact situations. Answers are expected to demonstrate the applicant's ability to analyze the facts in the question, to tell the difference between material facts and immaterial facts, and to discern the points of law and fact upon which the question turns. The answer must show knowledge and understanding of the pertinent principles and theories of law, their qualifications and limitations, and their relationships to each other. The answer should evidence the applicant's ability to apply the law to the given facts and to reason in a logical, lawyer-like manner from the premises adopted to a sound conclusion. An applicant should not merely show that he/she remembers the legal principles, but should demonstrate his/her proficiency in using and applying them.

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Multistate Bar Examination

The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), which is administered on Wednesday, is developed and graded by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). This portion of the examination is an objective six-hour examination containing 200 questions, which is divided into two three-hour sessions during which 100 questions are administered. The MBE tests seven subjects: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts. Information concerning the MBE is available through the NCBE's website at www.ncbex.org.

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Performance Test

The Performance Test question is designed to test an applicant's ability to understand and apply a select number of legal authorities in the context of a factual problem involving a client. The question consists of a file and a library, with instructions advising the applicant what task(s) should be performed.

In addition to measuring an applicant's ability to analyze legal issues, the performance test question requires applicants to:

  1. Sift through detailed factual material and separate relevant from irrelevant facts, assess the consistency and reliability of facts, and determine the need for and source of additional facts;
  2. Analyze the legal rules and principles applicable to a problem and formulate legal theories from facts that may be only partly known and are being developed;
  3. Recognize and resolve ethical issues arising in practical situations;
  4. Apply problem solving skills to diagnose a problem, generate alternative solutions, and develop a plan of action; and,
  5. Communicate effectively, whether advocating, advising a client, eliciting information, or effectuating a legal transaction.

An applicant's performance test response is graded on its compliance with instructions and on its content, thoroughness, and organization.

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NCBE Number Requirement on MBE Answer Sheets

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) has introduced the use of the NCBE account number as an identifier so that use of the Social Security number as an identifier can be phased out. Applicants are required to provide their NCBE number on the MBE answer sheet. Any applicant who either does not have an NCBE number or cannot recall his or her NCBE number can access the NCBE Account Number site at https://accounts.ncbex.org/php/ncbe_number and receive a number or retrieve a number. The process is easy and takes approximately 2 minutes to complete.

The NCBE number will be noted on the Admittance tickets for the examination, and therefore accessible during the MBE sessions.

Admittance tickets will be available for printing from the Admission Status Screen approximately eight weeks prior to the examination once an applicant's eligibility for the examination has been determined. This process includes pre-legal and legal education verification, payment of all required fees and, if applicable, a determination in connection with any testing accommodations petition that may have been filed.


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Scope of the California Bar Examination

For a detailed explanation of the scope of the California Bar Examination, refer to the bulletin "Scope of the California Bar Examination" which can be accessed through the Admissions' portion of the State Bar's website at admissions.calbar.ca.gov.

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Registration as a Law Student/Attorney

Any person submitting an Application to take the California Bar Examination must have registered as a law student or as an attorney with the Committee of Bar Examiners (Committee) prior to submitting the application in compliance with Section 6060 of the Business and Professions Code and accordance with the provisions of Title 4, Division 1, Chapter 2, section 4.16 (B) (Admissions Rules). An application for the California Bar Examination will be considered incomplete if the applicant has not previously registered. If an applicant has not done so, a separate "Registration" application must be completed and filed with the appropriate registration fee. Registration is only available online at admissions.calbar.ca.gov.

Applicants are advised that if they fail to register within 10 days following the receipt of their examination application or prior to the final filing deadline, whichever comes earlier, the application will be terminated and a refund of the application fees will be processed. Keep in mind that if an applicant does not have a bachelor's degree or transcripts of undergraduate study, a pre-legal education certification submitted by the law school must be received before the registration can be approved. If the examination application is terminated and the applicant decides to register and reapply for the bar examination, he/she will be subject to any applicable deadlines and late fees in effect at the time of submission.

As a convenience to applicants not yet registered, the Office of Admissions will process applications for the California Bar Examination when submitted simultaneously with the Registration application.

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Eligibility

General Applicant
A first time general applicant establishes eligibility to take the General Bar Examination if he or she satisfies the pre-legal education and legal education requirements of the Admissions Rules.

Proof of law study must be filed for all first-time applicants in order to determine academic eligibility to take the General Bar Examination. See deadlines.

Applicants must either be graduates of law schools approved by the American Bar Association or accredited by the Committee; or have completed four years in an ABA or Committee accredited law school or in a law school registered with the Committee; in a law office; in a judge's chambers; or by some combination of these methods; or meet the requirements for legal education in a foreign country; and have established exemption from the First-Year Law Students' Examination.

Applicants meeting any of these requirements will be found eligible for the examination and will not be entitled to refund on the basis of ineligibility for the examination.

Foreign Educated Applicants
Please refer to the bulletin for law students receiving their legal education outside the United States for any additional information.

Attorney Applicants
A first time attorney applicant establishes eligibility to take the General Bar Examination if he or she is admitted to practice law in any United States or foreign jurisdiction, and is in good standing. He/She must submit proof of admission to the Los Angeles Office of Admissions. See deadlines.

Attorney applicants admitted to practice law in any United States jurisdiction, possession, territory, or dependency the United States hereafter acquires may take the Attorneys' Examination provided that he or she has been an active member in good standing for at least four years immediately preceding the first day of the administration of the California Bar Examination for which the applicant applied. He/She must submit proof of admission to the Los Angeles Office of Admissions. See deadlines.

Suspended or Disbarred Attorneys
Please note that while attorneys who are suspended or disbarred in another jurisdiction are permitted to register as attorney applicants or file applications to take the bar examination, Rule 4.41 (B) of the Admissions Rules prevents them from filing a moral character determination application while so disciplined.

Disciplined Attorneys Required to Take the Attorneys' Examination
California Rule of Court 910 (f), states: "...Applicants who resigned without charges pending more than five years before filing an application for reinstatement or readmission must establish present ability and learning in the general law by providing proof, at the time of filing the application, that they have taken and passed the Attorneys' Examination administered by the Committee of Bar Examiners within five years prior to the filing of the application for readmission or reinstatement. Applicants who resigned with charges pending or who were disbarred must establish present ability and learning in the general law by providing proof, at the time of filing the application for readmission or reinstatement, that they have taken and passed the Attorneys' Examination by the Committee of Bar Examiners within three years prior to the filing of the application for readmission or reinstatement." Disciplined attorneys applying to take the Attorneys' Examination must complete the application process in the same manner as all other bar examination applicants. Please refer to the State Bar Court portion of the State Bar's Web site for additional information and the forms needed to file an application for readmission or reinstatement.

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Proof of Admission

A current Certificate of Good Standing from the highest court of each jurisdiction to which admitted must be submitted on or before the deadline in order to determine eligibility to take either the General Bar Examination or Attorneys' Examination.

Forward all certificates to the Los Angeles Office of Admissions:
845 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017

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Proof of Law Study

After the application has been filed, a bar-coded Law School Certification form will be sent to all law schools attended by the applicant. (This does not apply to applicants whose eligibility is based on foreign study. Please refer to the bulletin for law students receiving their legal education outside the United States for any additional information.) Law schools must certify that the applicant has fulfilled the legal education requirements set forth in Rule 4.26 of the Admissions Rules and return the form to the Los Angeles Office of Admissions by the established deadline. Applicants will be allowed to take the examination based upon certification by the law school that the applicant has met the pre-legal education and legal education requirements. If law school certifications/transcripts are not received by the final law school certification deadline, applicants will be notified. Applicants will have until the final eligibility deadline to submit certifications/transcripts. If these eligibility documents are not received by the final eligibility deadline, the application will be abandoned and no refund will be made. Any outstanding fees will be required to be paid before an applicant is allowed to take any future examination.

The school must also submit a certified law school transcript. It can be submitted with the certification or separately no later than 15 days following administration of the examination. Failure to do so will result in the applicant's eligibility status being voided and the applicant will not be eligible for any subsequent examination until the transcript is received. If an applicant's law school requires that the applicant personally request transcripts and/or pay a transcript fee, the applicant will need to fulfill the requirements for the release of the required transcripts.

Most law schools outside of California require that applicants personally request and sign a release for a law school certification/transcript and/or pay a transcript fee. In those instances, the applicant will need to fulfill the requirements for the release of the required transcripts. Even if your school certifies your eligibility to take the examination, a transcript must be received before you can be placed on a motion to get sworn in.

Applicants who submit applications less than 3 weeks prior to the final filing deadline are advised to contact their law schools directly to request that certified transcripts be sent to the Office of Admissions prior to the final eligibility deadline.

Foreign educated applicants must contact law school to request that a certified transcript indicating completion of the LLM Degree be sent to the Office of Admissions prior to the final eligibility deadline.

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Laptop Computers

For information on using a laptop computer, please refer to the Laptop Computer Program Bulletin at admissions.calbar.ca.gov.

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Deadlines
  February 2018 Exam
Timely Filing Deadline November 1, 2017
Withdrawal Deadline (60% refund) December 1, 2017
Withdrawal Deadline (30% refund) December 18, 2017
Final Filing/Reinstatement Deadline January 16, 2018
Exam Type Change Request (for Attorney Applicants only) January 16, 2018
Testing Accommodations Petition Final Filing Deadline (Petitions must be complete) January 16, 2018
Test Center Change Request January 16, 2018
Testing Accommodations Final Appeal Deadline February 1, 2018
Final Eligibility Deadline February 13, 2018
Proof of Admission (first-time Attorney Applicants) February 13, 2018
Proof of Law Study (first-time applicants for the General Bar Examination) February 13, 2018
Final Deadline to Withdraw from Examination February 13, 2018
Emergency Testing Accommodations Petition Final Filing Deadline February 16, 2018
Last Day for Applicants to Certify their Laptop February 23, 2018
Laptop Upload Date March 1, 2018 12:00 PM PT
TA Upload Date March 3, 2018 12:00 PM PT

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Testing Accommodations for Applicants with Disabilities

Applicants with disabilities are encouraged to make arrangements for testing accommodations well in advance of an examination, such as the beginning of their last year of law school, and should file a petition no later than three months prior to the examination they intend to take. Initial processing of a petition generally takes a minimum of 60 days and processing of petitions requiring review by outside consultants retained by the Committee or those requiring applicants to submit additional information will most likely take longer.

Applicants who wait to file their requests near the final filing deadline for the examination they intend to take generally are not able to exhaust all administrative remedies before administration of the examination, such as appealing a denial of some or all of an applicant's request for testing accommodations. Early filing is strongly encouraged.

All first-time petitions, requests for expanded accommodations and petitions filed by applicants with temporary disabilities must: 1) be filed separately from the examination application; 2) on the Committee's forms; and, 3) include all necessary documentation and attachments. Petitions for testing accommodations during the administration of the California Bar Examination based on disabilities existing prior to the final application filing deadline must be received by the State Bar's Office of Admissions in San Francisco no later than the final testing accommodations petition filing deadline. Petitions without the required forms and documentation will not be considered complete and will not be processed until brought to a complete status. The deadline will not be extended for any reason.

Petitions for acceptance of a testing accommodations petition on an emergency basis, which must be based on an injury that was acquired after the final application filing deadline, must: 1) include a cover letter seeking acceptance as an emergency petition with an explanation of why the petition could not have been filed by the final filing deadline; 2) be on the Committee's forms; 3) include all necessary documentation and attachments; and 4) be received in the San Francisco Office of Admissions no later than the deadline posted with all other examination deadlines on the State Bar's website. The fact that an applicant was unable to get an appointment with his/her specialist before the final filing deadline is not grounds for consideration as an emergency petition.

Petitions for testing accommodations may be filed prior to filing an application for the examination; however, the applicant must be registered with the Committee, or the petition will not be processed. If an applicant elects to file a petition close to the final filing deadline, it is possible that a determination regarding his/her request will not be received until after the deadline for filing an appeal in connection with administration of the current examination. Any appeal that is filed after the final deadline to appeal a testing accommodation determination would be considered in connection with a future administration of the examination.

Testing accommodations are available to individuals with mental or physical disabilities as defined in Title 4, Division 1, Chapter 7 of the Admissions Rules. Depending on the nature of the disability, accommodations may include such things as assistants (i.e., readers or personal healthcare assistants), wheelchair access, permission to dictate to a typist or digital recorder, customized timing, separate testing room, customized examination materials (i.e., Braille, large print, etc.), extended testing days and permission to bring and use specific items or medical aids. When completing the required forms, the applicant and his/her physician/specialist should request what they think is necessary to allow the applicant to compete on an equal basis with all other applicants and must provide adequate documentation and rationale to support the requested accommodations and their nexus to the effects of the applicant's disability.

The Committee's information and forms related to filing a petition for testing accommodations are available online through the State Bar of California's website at admissions.calbar.ca.gov or upon request. Completed petitions for testing accommodations must be sent to the Office of Admissions in San Francisco.

Applicants with disabilities requesting to use a computer must pay the applicable fee. If, however, an applicant's need for the use of a computer is directly related to his/her disability, a request for a refund of the fee paid may be filed with the Testing Accommodations department in San Francisco. The request for a refund must be accompanied by the appropriate documentation. The applicant will be notified within four weeks following receipt of the request as to whether a refund will be granted.

An appeal of a denial (in whole or in part) of an accommodation in connection with a particular examination must be received in the San Francisco Office of Admissions no later than the first day of the month in which the examination is scheduled to be administered. The deadline will not be extended.

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Credit Card Disputes

Once an application has been submitted, disputing a credit card charge does not constitute withdrawing from an examination. Applicants who do so will be required to return the fees and pay any additional fees required with a money order or cashier's check prior to being allowed to take any future examination. Any late filing fee in effect at the time the payment is covered will also be required. Applications will be considered abandoned if the full payment has not been received by the final filing deadline and no fees will be refunded.

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Withdrawals/Absences/Ineligibles

In order to withdraw from the examination, the Withdrawal Form may be used or a letter sent to the Los Angeles Office of Admissions.

An applicant who withdraws from the examination, is absent, or is deemed ineligible for the examination is subject to the same filing deadlines and fees as applicants who did not take the previous examination.

Withdraw requests received after the final withdrawal deadline will not be processed.

Requests for reinstatement of an application will be honored only if accompanied by all appropriate fees including the current late filing fee in effect at the time of reinstatement. No requests for reinstatement will be honored after the final filing deadline.

Applications for the next examination will be available through the Admissions portion of the State Bar's website at admissions.calbar.ca.gov.

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Refund Policy

Refund Policy

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Fees

All applicants must pay the required fees. The schedule of fees for the California Bar Examination is listed below.

California Bar Examination Fee
General Applicants $677.00
Attorney Applicants $983.00
Laptop Fee $153.00
Late Laptop fee (requested after submitting application) $15.00

To avoid payment of a late filing fee, an application must be accepted online no later than 11:59 PM PT on or before the Time Filing Deadline for the February 2018 California Bar Examination. All applications filed between the dates listed below must be accompanied by a late filing fee:

Fee February 2018 Exam
$50.00 Late Filing Fee November 2, 2017 - November 30, 2017
$250.00 Late Filing Fee December 1, 2017 - January 16, 2018

Application Completion
Applications to take the California Bar Examination that are not brought to a complete and filed status within 60 days or by the final filing deadline, whichever is earlier, will be abandoned. This includes the lack of fees and/or required documentation. No refund of fees will be paid in the event that the application is abandoned. Any outstanding fees will be required to be paid before an applicant is allowed to take any future examinations.

Outstanding Fees
Any outstanding fees will be required to be paid before an applicant is allowed to take any future examinations.

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Application Abandonment

An application that is not brought to a complete and filed status by the final filing deadline will be abandoned. This includes requisite fees and/or the required documentation. Once the application is filed, if the applicant receives notice to provide information, but does not provide such information by the final eligible deadline, the application will be abandoned. No refund of fees will be paid in the event an application is abandoned. Any outstanding fees will be required to be paid before the applicant is allowed to submit any future application.

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Application Status

Applicants may check the status of their examination application by logging into the State Bar's online application system with their password and accessing their Admission Status Screens (Status Screen). The Status Screen provides applicants with general information regarding their progress towards fulfilling the admission requirements. The information is updated on a daily basis and indicates which requirements have been met and which are pending or not yet satisfied.

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Ineligible Applicants

Applicants for an examination who are subsequently found not to have completed the requisite legal education will be deemed ineligible. Such applicants are entitled to 60% refund of all fees paid in connection with the examination, if academic deficiency is substantiated by certified law school transcripts, and such transcripts indicating all law study completed are received in the Los Angeles Office of Admissions by the final eligibility deadline.

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Grading

For a detailed explanation of the grading process, refer to the bulletin "Description and Grading of the California Bar Examination: General Bar Examination and Attorney's Examination" which can be accessed through the Admissions' portion of the State Bar's website at admissions.calbar.ca.gov.

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Do Not Grade Policy

The answers of anyone present for the examination, partially or wholly, will be graded and the scores will be reported to the applicant.

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Admittance Tickets

Admittance tickets will be available for printing from the Admission Status Screen once eligibility for the examination has been determined approximately eight to ten weeks prior to administration of the examination. You will not receive a ticket in the mail. Any applicant not able to print an admittance ticket at least two weeks prior to examination and who has not otherwise been notified of being ineligible must contact the Office of Admissions. You will not be allowed to take the examination if you do not bring both a printed copy of your admittance ticket and a government-issued ID to the test center.

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Examination Test Center Change

Applicants must log on to their Admission Status Screen at https://sbc.calbar.ca.gov/default.aspx to change their test center. Applicants will be required to enter their Registration Number or Social Security number, file number, and their date of birth and click on "Change My Test Center" to select from the available test centers. Applicants who request to change from a Writing Test Center to a Laptop Test Center, must complete the test center change request form on or before the final filing deadline. The completed test center change form must be accompanied with the applicable laptop fee, late laptop fee and a release of liability form.


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Examination Test Center Address List

PDF opens in new window February 2018 Test Center Address List

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Repeaters

Applicants from a prior examination must complete a new Application To Take the California Bar Examination form and file the appropriate fees for each examination.

Applicants repeating from the most recent examination have separate filing deadlines.

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Study Aids

Essay questions, performance tests and selected answers for past examinations are available free of charge through the Admissions portion of the State Bar's website at admissions.calbar.ca.gov. Hard copies may be ordered by using forms available through the Admission portion of the State Bar's website at admissions.calbar.ca.gov.

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Examination Attendance Policy

If an applicant does not attend a required, scheduled examination session, the applicant will not be permitted to attend any remaining examination session(s). Applicants must make a good faith attempt to complete each portion of the examination for which they are present. An applicant's attempt to circumvent security procedures may lead to voiding the applicant's attendance at a session, and the applicant may be prohibited from attending any remaining examination session(s).

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Late Arrival to the Test Center

Applicants who arrive at the test center after one (1) hour of testing has elapsed will not be permitted to enter the test center.

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Change of Address

Results from the examination will be mailed to the address of record.

It is the applicant's responsibility to inform the Committee of any address changes. All correspondence will be mailed to the current mailing address on file. To change your address, email and/or telephone number, you must go online to admissions.calbar.ca.gov and log into your Admission Status Screen and select "Change My Profile." Your contact information will be updated within 3 to 5 business days.

If your change request is received within the two week period prior to the release of the results from the examination, it may take longer to process and the contact information may not be updated until after results are released.

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Release of Results

Results from the February 2018 administration of the examination are to be determined. Beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the date the results are mailed, results will be available to applicants through the Admissions portion of the State Bar's website at admissions.calbar.ca.gov. Applicants will be able to access the State Bar's website, enter their file and application numbers to find whether their names appear on the pass list. Application numbers are assigned following receipt of completed application forms and communicated to applicants on the admittance ticket for the examination. The applicants should retain the ticket after the examination is administered to enable easy access to those numbers at the time results are released.

If admittance tickets are lost, requests for file and applicant numbers for the purpose of accessing the pass list through the State Bar's website must be in writing and the numbers will not be released over the telephone.

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Time Limitation for Eligibility for Certification

No later than five years form the last day of administration of the California Bar Examination the applicant passes, (1) an applicant must meet all requirements for admission for certification by the Committee to the California Supreme Court (2) upon receipt of an order from the Court, take the attorney's oath and meet State Bar registration requirements to be eligible to practice law in California.

The Committee may extend this five-year limit for good cause shown by clear and convincing evidence in a particular case but not for an applicant's negligence or the result of an applicant having received negative moral character determination.

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Admissions Rules

The Application to take the General Bar Examination will be processed in accordance with the Admissions Rules. The current Rules are available through the Admissions portion of the State Bar's website at admissions.calbar.ca.gov.

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Examination Administration Rules and Policies
Examination Administration Rules and Policies
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