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California Bar Passing Score Stays at 1440 for Now

If a high jumper lowers the bar to clear it, is that really an improvement?

Call it the way you see it, but not everybody sees a lower bar as upward movement. On the other hand, Nevada lowered its cut score and the bar pass rate jumped almost 20 percent.

"This shows significant improvement," said Dan Hamilton, dean of the state's only law school.

California, with one of the highest cut scores, doesn't necessarily see it that way.

To properly prepare for the bar exam requires more than just taking the right classes and locking yourself in a room for weeks on end with your books, notes, and practice exams. One often overlooked aspect of preparation is the financial aspect. If you can't afford to take the bar immediately after law school, you're taking a big risk that you'll retain enough information.

You not only need to pay for your post-graduation bar prep course and sitting for the bar exam itself, but you also need to pay all your living expenses. If you delay too long to financially prepare for the bar, you may find yourself looking at taking a private loan, which is not easy, nor advisable.

Below, you can read about how to financially plan for the bar exam study period.

Oregon Lowers Cut Score to 137, Bar Pass Rate Jumps

Do the math: lower the cut score and the bar pass rate goes up. So what's the problem?

For some, the problem is that Oregon suddenly became one of the easiest bars to pass in the country. Only Nebraska had an easier July exam, and who wants to practice law there?

Just kidding, Nebraska, but the average low temperature there is about 14 degrees Fahrenheit. The point is, how low can Oregon's cut score go before enough is enough?

To 3Ls across the country that will be graduating this spring: If you haven't enrolled in your bar prep course yet, now is the time to sign up.

While it is frustrating to have to choose so early and plop down a chunk of money on a deposit, future-you will thank you for doing it now. There are definitely advantages to signing up early, but if you've waited until your 3L fall semester to do it, those advantages will rapidly disappear if you wait any longer.

Here are three reasons why 3Ls shouldn't delay booking their bar prep course during their fall semester.

When it comes to selecting a bar exam prep course, many students will often default to taking the most popular course among their classmates. After all, it's the most popular for a reason, right?

Unfortunately, the reason that a specific bar course will be more popular is not always a result of quality. It can very well be the result of new, or budget, courses that can only compete with the larger, more established courses by cutting prices. Sadly, while a higher cost doesn't guarantee quality, when prices are too good to be true, you need to do some more research, particularly if high pressure sales tactics are being used by on campus representatives (who can sometimes be your own classmates).

Utah Law School's 100 Percent Pass-Rate Plan Is Working

Moving toward a goal of 100 percent bar pass rate, a Utah law school is bucking the national trend of declining bar exam scores.

The University of Utah S. J. Quinney College of Law pushed 87 percent of its graduates over the state bar exam hump this year, edging closer to its goal for the second straight year. Dean Robert Adler credited the students and faculty for committing to the "100/100 Initiative" launched in 2015.

"Improved performance on the bar exam shows how well prepared our students are at graduation, but it is also the last hurdle our students must overcome to use their law degrees for most of the jobs they seek," he said.

Survey: California Lawyers Don't Want Bar Exam Changes

Go figure: the vast majority of California attorneys don't want the state bar exam to get any easier.

In a survey that drew responses from nearly 40,000 California lawyers and others, the State Bar said 80 percent of the respondents don't want to lower the cut score. They generally said the test -- which is one of the most difficult in the country -- is good for consumers.

"That California's cut score is the second highest in the nation is something to be proud of, not something to be concerned about," said one respondent.

The survey may be good news for consumers and lawyers who have passed the bar. For law students and bar applicants, not so much.

Law Graduate Sues for Open-Book Bar Exam

Mark Tetzlaff is an academic overachiever, but he just can't pass the bar exam.

He has a JD, an MBA, an MA, and a BBA, and is pursuing an LLM on scholarship. He has done nearly 200 research and writing projects in state and federal courts.

But he has failed the bar exam four times because he has short-term memory loss, he says. So he is suing the Illinois state bar to allow him to take an open-book exam.

Can Moms Breastfeed During the Bar Exam?

Women have gained more accommodations to breastfeed in public, and now one state supreme court has ordered those accommodations at the bar exam.

The Montana Supreme Court has ordered bar administrators to accommodate breastfeeding mothers "in a manner consistent with public policy and law." The interim order is effective for the July exam, as the examiners' board considers public comments for a permanent order.

The new rules include 15-minute breaks every three hours for the mothers, but do not answer one question: where will their babies be during the exam?

North Carolina Law School Crowdfunds to Help Graduates Take the Bar Exam

When studying for the bar exam, sometimes you just don't have any gas left in the tank -- literally.

That's why one law school is raising money -- to help struggling students prepare for the big test. Campbell University's Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law is doing it with crowdfunding.

"Through your generous contribution students are able to buy groceries, keep their bills up to date, or enable them to have enough gas in their car to get to the bar exam and a few job interviews," the crowdfunding page says.