2008 California Bar Exam Results

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The results of the most recent California bar exam were announced last Friday.  This year, the examiners let 61.7 percent pass — the highest pass rate since 1997.  So, if you passed (in California or elsewhere), congratulations.

If you didn't (and there are literally thousands of you), you might want to watch the short video below entitled "People Who Failed."  It will probably cheer you up.

In other California bar exam news, you may recall that this was the year that the test, which God apparently felt was not stressful enough, was interrupted in southern California by the Chino Hills earthquake east of L.A.  But those who believe their test scores may have been affected by [disruption/terror/heart problems/being crushed by something] due to the quake are not likely to get a favorable reception from the State Bar. 

The Bar, it appears, quickly responded to the quake by retaining experts in statistics to determine, statistically, whether or not the quake had affected any test results.  They analyzed whether the candidates at southern California test centers had generally lower average scores on that morning's questions than would be predicted on the basis of their scores on the rest of the exam.  If they did, then everybody at that test center got enough extra credit to bring the scores up to the "expected level."  (People at sites that had higher than expected scores did not have points taken away, though, as that could have happened "simply by chance.")

So, for example, each of the 1,708 test-takers at Center L400 in Ontario, California, closest to the epicenter, received 1 additional quake point.  That seemed pretty generous until I found out there are 1800 points possible, so that the quake adjustment would change a median score by about eight one-hundredths of one percent.  But hey, that could be just the eight one-hundredths of one percent you needed!

Only those at southern California test sites were able to benefit from the quake-adjusted scores, which makes some sense since that's where the earthquake was and all.  But test-takers in San Diego, who were nowhere near the epicenter, all got more quake points (up to five times as many) than those in Ontario, who were right on top of it.  Which goes to show, of course, that the Bar's response to the earthquake was about showing it had responded to the earthquake, even though it responded in a way that really had nothing to do with the earthquake.

Once you understand this fully, Grasshopper, then you will be a true member of the Bar.

Link: State Bar of California
Link: USGS – California Earthquake Info