Topic 1: What is the baby bar exam?
The baby bar is another name for the First-Year Law Students’ Examination (FYLSE). It is administered by the State Bar of California in both June and October each year. Not everyone has to take the baby bar exam! It is primarily administered to those who study law at unaccredited law schools (including online law schools). Others who have to take it are those that work through the Law Office Study Program (i.e., those that hope to become lawyers not through law school but through working with a lawyer or judge), and those without two years of college and attending a Committee of Bar Examiners or an ABA-accredited law school. Students are allowed to take the exam after their first year of study.
What is the baby bar like? What subjects does it test?
The baby bar is similar to the actual bar exam in that it includes both essay and multiple-choice questions. However, instead of testing all areas of law, it tests three areas of law: Contracts, Criminal Law, and Torts. The test focuses on general principles of law (rather than California law). It is administered in California, but the examiners make it clear that a “detailed knowledge of California law is not required.”
How long is the baby bar?
It is a day-long, seven-hour test (four hour-long essays and three hours of 100 multiple-choice questions). Both the essay and multiple-choice sections are weighted equally. Each portion is converted to a 400-point scale. Examinees need a score of 560 or higher (70%) to pass.
Why is it important to pass the baby bar?
Applicants must pass the baby bar the first time they take it or within the first three administrations that they are eligible to take the exam to receive full law school credit for the courses they have taken. If an applicant instead passes the baby bar after the first three times they are eligible to take it, they will receive credit for their first year only.
Does the baby bar have a high passage rate?
Unfortunately, it does not. The baby bar pass rate is about 20%. For the October 2019 baby bar exam, the passage rate was 22.1% (with a 29.5% passage rate for first-time takers and a 14.9% passage rate for repeat takers). You can read updated baby bar statistics here.
Basically, this means that you have to study for the FYLSE if you are serious about passing it! You should develop a solid game plan, and make sure to put in a lot of time both learning the material and applying it to essay and multiple-choice fact patterns. This is discussed more later in this guide!
Do you tutor for the baby bar?
Yes. We offer tutoring services for the baby bar. Click here to read more about our baby bar tutoring services. Our tutors have helped students study for the baby bar. Our tutors have been successful in helping students both learn the law they need to know to pass the baby bar, and importantly, learn how to apply it to the types of fact patterns they will see on the baby bar exam (something that baby bar takers struggle with!). We also sell Baby Bar One-Sheets, which students rave about!
Go to the next topic, Topic 2: What is the baby bar exam pass rate?
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