California Bar exam question leak raises questions

California Bar exam question leak raises questions

On July 27th, the California Bar announced that it had come to their attention that the State Bar inadvertently provided a number of deans of law schools in California a list of the subject matter topics contained in the July 2019 California Bar Examination essay questions and performance test


July 2019 California Bar Exam takers received a surprising email on Saturday, July 27th, mere days before the California Bar Exam:

California Bar Email

The official account of the California Bar confirmed that this is not a drill:

In addition to adding to the pre-examination anxiety, this announcement raises some serious questions about the California Bar exam, which already has a notoriously low passage rate. The California Bar confirmed that the leak happened on Thursday, potentially giving certain students access to the information before other test takers.

The California Bar noted that it is working on an official statement, and lawyers and test-takers are discussing the leak on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. Some of the questions being asked are indicative of the potential seriousness of the issue:

  • How, why, and to whom were these questions leaked?
  • Did any students get earlier access to this information, creating an unfair advantage?
  • Was similar information disseminated during previous bar exams, potentially undermining the integrity of those tests?

The Bar took the right step in being transparent about the leak. Nevertheless, this is a puzzling happenstance that deeply affects test takers: it eliminates about a dozen possible essay topics, and bar exam takers who are aware of this leak now know exactly which essay topics to focus on and which to ignore in their last days of preparation. If you know a student who has turned off email and social media notifications in preparation of the test... now is the time to send them a text.