Bar Exams

Why Do You Have To Wait So Long To Find Out If You Passed The Bar Exam?

It’s been a little more than a month since the administration of the July 2013 bar exam reached its conclusion, and the most epic of waiting games has begun. Test takers are anxiously biding their time until their respective state bars decide to tell them their fates.

Some people have already received their results. Over the long holiday weekend, we received several emails about the results for the North Carolina exam — which is impressive considering that last summer, the state board of law examiners couldn’t even keep the lights on during the exam. North Carolina usually has the quickest turn around time on bar exam results, averaging about four weeks between the time the exam ends and the reporting of results.

But unfortunately, not all test takers are so lucky. Some states take months upon months to get their results out to bar examinees, and the wait is torture. Why the hell does the grading process take so long?

We’ve discussed the lengthy exam results wait time in the past, and it seems like in most states, it’s a sheer numbers game. The states with the most applicants (e.g., California, New York, Texas) typically take the longest to unleash their results, while the states with the fewest applicants turn ‘em out quicker than Miley Cyrus in a twerk competition. This once seemed fair, but that’s simply not the case anymore.

Here’s a table from the NCBE for comparison purposes of average exam grading/reporting periods:

At 17 weeks, California clocks in with the longest wait time of them all. Next comes Texas, with a 14-week waiting period. Close behind with wait times of 13-14 weeks are Georgia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. In New York, test takers could have to wait until after Thanksgiving to find out if they passed. In South Dakota, where there are more bison than people, examinees have to sit on pins and needles for 12 long weeks. Considering the fact that half of the exam is graded on a Scantron machine, this is absurd.

Given the state of the entry-level job market, many examinees aren’t able to start credibly looking for jobs until they get their results. Actions like these have severe consequences: Schools on the East and West coasts got their asses handed to them in the latest U.S. News rankings because of their jobs data, and many of them only have the late release of bar exam results to blame. When the ABA is forced to take drastic measures with regard to the reporting of graduates’ employment statistics to account for the delay in bar exam results being sent out, it’s time to make some changes to the current regime.

This should be enough to inspire action on the part of state bar exam administrators. Recent law school graduates’ futures are getting left in the dust because you can’t grade the exams fast enough. These people can’t find jobs because right now, no one wants to hire someone whose bar status is up in the air. Do you understand the hardship that your delay in grading and reporting the results is causing? You should be doing whatever it takes to do the right thing and remedy this situation.

On behalf of everyone who has had to wait eons to receive their bar exam results, those still waiting for their results, and all future bar examinees, we humbly implore you: hire some additional f**king graders.

Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements 2013 [NCBE]

Earlier: Bar Exam Horror Stories: There Will Be Blood (and Power Outages)
FIRST? North Carolina Bar Exam Results Are Out Is NC the fastest state when it comes to grading bar exams?

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