Worried about passing the infamously difficult bar exam? Keep reading for a list of the easiest bar exams by state for those who want to maximize their chances of passing.
The bar exam is administered to evaluate the knowledge, skills, and abilities of future lawyers before they are given the green light to legally practice.
The exam requires months and months of full-time studying. It is well-known that many test-takers become drained and burnt out by the intense preparation required. Everyone makes lists about the hardest bar exams, but what about the easiest?
There are many reasons why people may want to look into states with high passing rates for the bar. Whether you are worried about passing, don’t have the recommended 400 to 600 hours to dedicate to studying, or just simply want to get the bar over and done with, our list will provide you with options for the easiest bar exam.
This answer depends on who you ask. There are many factors that affect the difficulty of an exam, and it is nearly impossible to objectively pick the easiest bar exam out of all the states. As well, the passing rates and minimum score required to pass constantly change, too.
Recently, due to the pandemic, some states lowered their minimum bar exam passing score. The recent lowering of scores affects passing statistics, especially when comparing recent stats to those from previous years.
Statistically speaking, Oklahoma has one of the easiest bar exams based on first-time passing rates. Nearly 87% of first-time exam takers pass the Oklahoma state bar exam. In comparison, California has a much lower first-time passing rate at 58.1%.
The bar exam is intimidating for any aspiring lawyer, which is why we compiled a list of the easiest bar exams, along with the overall passing rate and minimum UBE score needed to pass for each state.
The stats in this table reflect the rates for the 2021 February and July bar exam. Please note that these percentages do fluctuate year-by-year, but the rates below are some of the most up-to-date rates currently available.
These are ten of the states with the easiest bar exam and highest passing rates.
If you find yourself becoming extremely stressed and anxious about failing the bar, you can always retake the exam.
If you are still anxious about taking the bar exam and worried about passing, there are other ways to become a practicing lawyer in the US without taking the bar exam. In the midst of the pandemic and the continuous debates over the effectiveness of the bar exam, a few states have proposed alternatives to taking the bar exam.
In 2021, Oregon’s Bar Exam Task Force submitted alternative pathways to becoming a lawyer in the state. These two pathways are:
These new pathways have been approved by the Oregon Supreme Court and are in the process of being implemented.
California’s Blue Ribbon Commission is tasked with reevaluating the content and format of the UBE. The Commission will be evaluating whether the bar exam is even an effective tool to demonstrate people’s abilities. That means California may soon be restructuring the bar exam entirely, or possibly providing alternatives to the exam.
The Minnesota Board of Law Examiners is looking to provide alternatives to demonstrate an aspiring lawyer’s competency and skills as early as 2026. Alternatives have not been approved by the Supreme Court yet, but it seems like most parties involved are open to having a discussion about different pathways into the profession.
One alternative is building portfolios instead of taking the bar exam, and another one is potentially shadowing and working under a practicing lawyer for a set amount of hours.
While not necessarily providing options to avoid the bar exam, the New York State Bar Association is looking to make the exam more equitable. This may result in the bar exam being more accessible and less demanding for test takers.
Keep in mind that passing the bar exam is still the best option to become a lawyer. While we’ve outlined some potential options to possibly avoid the bar exam, most of these options are still a lot of work and require vast legal skills and knowledge.
Ultimately, the alternative options for the bar exam are fairly limited, and as of now, some aren’t even guaranteed. It is in your best interest to try to take the bar exam. If you still have questions about what is the easiest bar exam and what state has the easiest bar exam, keep reading as we answer frequently asked questions.
Going by the 2021 bar exam passing rates, Wyoming has the easiest bar exam to pass.
However, we don’t really get the full picture by just looking at the passing rates. Each state’s bar exam can differ in difficulty and content. Law schools can also vary greatly on the resources and support they make available to students, which affects the preparedness of those taking the bar exam in each state.
The Missouri Bar Exam is, statistically, an easy bar exam. The minimum score needed to pass the bar exam in Missouri is 260, or 130 on the MBE point scale.
To compare, the average minimum passing UBE score is 170. This means you can score lower on the Missouri state bar exam than most other jurisdictions and still pass.
Additionally, Missouri also has a high passing rate at 72%.
While there are states with notably higher passing rates for their bar exam, you still need to put in a lot of hard work to successfully pass the bar. There are potential alternatives to taking the exam as well, but those are few and far between.
If you are feeling uneasy and are seriously dreading taking the bar exam, reach out for help and use resources available to you online. You can book a one-on-one session with experienced tutors who will aid you in preparation for the bar.