COVID-19: Modifications to 2021 Bar Exams

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most jurisdictions continued to make modifications to their bar examinations in February and July 2021, following those already made in July 2020.

For July 2020 exam modifications that continue to have implications for 2021 admissions, see “COVID-19: Implications for 2020–2021 Admissions.

For a complete list of modifications made to the July 2020 exam, see “COVID-19: Implications for 2020 Statistics” in the Spring 2021 issue of the Bar Examiner.

February 2021 Exam

  •  In addition to the February 2021 in-person exam, NCBE made a full set of bar exam materials available for a remote administration, held on the same dates as the in-person administration of the exam.
  • Thirty-three jurisdictions administered a remote exam in February using NCBE materials.
  • Two jurisdictions administered their own jurisdiction-drafted remote exams: Louisiana and Nevada. (Louisiana’s exam was a one-day exam administered on February 9.)
  • MBE administrations: Nevada, which would normally have administered the MBE, did not do so in February 2021.
  • Texas administered two remote exams; the second, on March 16–17, was a makeup exam for local admission only for examinees who were unable to take the February exam due to severe weather.
  • Palau, which normally does not administer a February exam, administered the February 2021 exam following cancellation of its July 2020 exam.

July 2021 Exam

  • In addition to the July 2021 in-person exam, NCBE made a full set of bar exam materials available for a remote administration, held on the same dates as the in-person administration of the exam.
  • Twenty-nine jurisdictions administered a remote exam in July using NCBE materials.
  • Louisiana administered its own jurisdiction-drafted remote exam (a one-day exam administered on July 26).
  • Palau, which normally administers its annual exam in July, did not administer the July 2021 exam and instead administered its exam in February 2021.

Temporarily Lowered Passing Scores

Three of the four jurisdictions that had temporarily lowered their passing scores for the July 2020 exam extended their lowered passing scores into 2021:

  • Hawaii (lowered from 134 to 133 for the February 2021 exam)
  • North Carolina (lowered from 270 to 268 for the February and July 2021 exams)
  • Washington (lowered from 270 to 266 for the February and July 2021 exams; the 266 score also applied to the February 2022 exam)

 

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