Thursday, January 12, 2012

High GPA = passing score on bar exam (maybe)

Just walked out of an hour-long primer on the Kentucky bar exam, which most 3L students will take in July at this local hotel. Among the tidbits offered to aspiring exam takers were these stats on the correlation between law school grade-point average and success on the Big Bad Bar:
  • For students with at least a 3.0 GPA at U of L Law (usually the top one-third of the class), 100 percent passed the exam last July on their first attempt. The same students in previous years have passed the exam at a roughly 98 percent clip. 
  • Students with a 2.6 GPA or lower had a 74 percent pass rate on the same exam. 
  • Overall, the school had a roughly 90 percent pass rate last year, compared to an 86 percent statewide pass rate. The 90 percent rate was down a bit from the previous year, but in line with the last five years overall. 
There are, of course, exceptions to the above rules. Bonnie Kittinger, general counsel and director of the Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions, told us it is not uncommon for otherwise high-achieving students to study lightly for the test and then assume they can hang loose for the rest of the summer. Some still pass. Others do not. We also discussed dozens of other details, including the grading process, filing deadlines, even the definition of a law school application. Perhaps the best advice came from Eric Ison, one of the state's seven bar examiners, who asked us to take the bar seriously, but also to remember to breathe. "Don't be consumed by the bar," he said. I will try to keep this in mind over the next seven months. I imagine it will be easier said than done.

1 comment:

  1. Here are some more detailed stats about GPA and bar pass rates, courtesy of the school. These are cumulative stats for 2006 through 2011.

    GPA of 3.4 or higher -- 100 percent pass rate
    GPA of 3.2 to 3.4 -- 98 %
    GPA of 3.0 to 3.2 -- 98 %
    GPA of 2.9 to 3.0 -- 88 %
    GPA of 2.8 to 2.9 -- 89 %
    GPA of 2.7 to 2.8 -- 88 %
    GPA of 2.6 to 2.7 -- 80 %
    GPA of 2.5 to 2.6 -- 74 %
    GPA of 2.4 to 2.5 -- 67 %
    GPA of 2.4 to 2.3 -- 50 %