California Bar Examination Instructions


Instructions for Application for Determination of Moral Character
Examination Date and Time

The February 2015 California Bar Examination will be administered in the morning and afternoon on February 24, 25, and 26, 2015.

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General Bar Examination vs. Attorneys' Examination

The General Bar Examination has three parts: six essay questions, the Multistate Bar Examination (200 multiple-choice questions), and two performance tests. Each session of the examination is three hours. The following table shows the examination schedule:

Day A.M. Session P.M. Session
Tuesday Essay 1, 2, 3 Performance Test A
Wednesday MBE (100 questions) MBE (100 questions)
Thursday Essay 4, 5, 6 Performance Test B

The Attorney's Examination has two parts: six essay questions and two performance tests. Each session of the examination is three hours. Applicants approved for the Attorneys' Examination will not be permitted to take the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE). The following table shows the examination schedule:

A CGS issued within the past six months is required for each examination.

Day A.M. Session P.M. Session
Tuesday Essay 1, 2, 3 Performance Test A
Thursday Essay 4, 5, 6 Performance Test B

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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 Attorney's 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 applications. Please refer to the State Bar Court portion of the State Bar's website for additional information and the forms needed to file an application for readmission or reinstatement.

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Essay Questions

Each three-hour essay session consists of three essay questions. This part of the examination is 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 of 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 they remember 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 six subjects: 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

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

In addition to measuring an applicant's ability to analyze legal issues, performance test questions require 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.

Performance test answers are graded on the applicant's responsiveness to instructions and on the content, thoroughness, organization and persuasiveness of written tasks.

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NCBE Number Requirement on MBE Answer Sheets

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) is introducing 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. Beginning with administration of the July 2012 California Bar Examination, applicants will be 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 www.ncbex.org/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 Admissions 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 and late fee. Registration is only available online at admissions.calbar.ca.gov.

As a convenience to applicants not yet registered, the Office of Admissions will receive for processing applications for the California Bar Examination when such applications are submitted simultaneously with the Registration application. However, applicants are advised that if they fail to register within 10 days following the receipt of their application or prior to the final filing deadline, 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 application is terminated and the applicant decides to register and reapply after the application has been terminated, he/she will be subject to any applicable deadlines and late fees.

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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.

Applicant's 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.

Applicant's 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.

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.

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

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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 2015 Exam
Timely Filing Deadline November 3, 2014
Withdrawal Deadline (60% refund) December 3, 2014
Withdrawal Deadline (30% refund) December 18, 2014
Final Filing/Reinstatement Deadline January 15, 2015
Exam Type Change Request (for Attorney Applicants only) January 15, 2015
Testing Accommodations Petition Final Filing Deadline (Petitions must be complete) January 15, 2015
Test Center Change Request January 15, 2015
Testing Accommodations Final Appeal Deadline February 2, 2015
Final Eligibility Deadline February 10, 2015
Proof of Admission (first-time Attorney Applicants) February 10, 2015
Proof of Law Study (first-time applicants for the General Bar Examination) February 10, 2015
Final Deadline to Withdraw from Examination February 10, 2015
Emergency Testing Accommodations Petition Final Filing Deadline February 13, 2015
Last Day for Applicants to Certify their Laptop February 20, 2015
Laptop Upload Date February 27, 2015 12:00 PM PT
TA Upload Date March 2, 2015 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 documentation may take longer. In order to ensure that processing is completed timely and that applicants are able to avail themselves of all administrative remedies, early filing is strongly encouraged.

All first-time petitions, requests for expanded accommodations and petitions filed by applicants with temporary disabilities must be: 1) 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 include all required testing accommodation petition forms and documentation and be received in the San Francisco Office of Admissions no later than 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, at least ten business days before the first day of the examination. 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 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 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 tape 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 diagnosis and their request for accommodations.

The Committee's policies, procedures and forms related to filing a petition for testing accommodations are available online at admissions.calbar.ca.gov or upon request.

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 disability directly relates to use of a computer, 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 or modification of an accommodation for the examination must be received in the San Francisco Office of Admissions by the first business day of the month in which the examination is to be administered, to be considered in connection with the examination. 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 as applicants who did not take the previous examination.

Requests to withdraw 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 $645.00
Attorney Applicants $937.00
Laptop Fee $146.00
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 2015 California Bar Examination. All applications filed between the dates listed below must be accompanied by a late filing fee:

Fee February 2015 Exam
$50.00 Late Filing Fee November 4, 2014 - November 28, 2014
$250.00 Late Filing Fee November 29, 2014 - January 15, 2015

Application Completion
Applications to take the California Bar Examination that are not brought to a complete and filed status by the final filing deadline 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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Completion of Application

Before submitting the application, the applicant should make sure that he/she previously registered with the Committee and confirm that all questions have been answered and answered correctly; otherwise the application will be considered incomplete. Applications that are not brought to a complete and filed status, including payment of any applicable late fees, within 60 days of receipt or the final filing deadline, will be abandoned. No refund of fees will be paid in the event an application is abandoned.

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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 Admissions 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

Effective with the administration of the July 2003 examination, the "Do Not Grade Policy" was rescinded. 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 Admissions 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

Test center changes will only be considered upon petition showing good cause. Applicants wishing to change the test center to which they have been assigned must complete the test center change request form on or before the deadline. A request to change to a laptop test center must be accompanied by the applicable fee and the late laptop fee.


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Examination Test Center Address List

PDF opens in new window February 2015 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

Forms to order materials that might be of assistance to applicants in determining that which the Committee desires in an answer to a bar examination question are available through the Admissions portion of the State Bar's website at admissions.calbar.ca.gov.

Commencing with the July 2001 examination, the essay questions, performance tests and selected answers for that and future examinations are available free of charge through the Admissions 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). Applicants taking the Attorneys' Examination are excused from the Wednesday sessions and will be allowed back into the examination test center on Thursday morning if they were present for both sessions on Tuesday.

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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 administration of the examination are scheduled for mailing on May 15, 2015. 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 applicant shall be eligible for certification to the Supreme Court of California for admission to practice law unless such certification shall have been made and the applicant shall have taken the attorney's oath of office within five years after the last day of the California Bar Examination at which the applicant was successful, unless for good cause in a particular case the Committee extends such time limitation.

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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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