July / September 2020 Bar Exams will be shortened to 2 days
The Board of Law Examiners will conduct the remaining 2020 Texas Bar Examination in a condensed two-day format in two separate sessions scheduled for July 28-29 and September 9-10, 2020, as ordered by the Texas Supreme Court in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Court’s Order issued on June 2, 2020 amends Rule 11(d) of the Rules Governing Admission to the Bar, to require the two-day examination and to re-weight the examination components to accommodate the Board’s plan to reduce the number of Texas Essay Questions (Essays) to six, instead of 12. The modified examination will be weighted as follows: Multistate Performance Test (MPT) 10%, Texas Procedure and Evidence (P&E) 10%, Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) 50% and Essays 30%.
The examination modifications will reduce the time required for applicants and examination staff to be present at the examination sites by one-half day and lower the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 coronavirus. The Court’s Order follows the Board of Law Examiners’ recommendation adopted at its meeting on May 22, 2020, proposing to shorten the examination by reducing the number of essays and re-weighting the components to improve the reliability of the examination as a testing instrument. The Board relied on a study performed in 2018 by Research Solutions Group, a psychometric consulting firm that evaluated the likely effect of adopting either the Uniform Bar Examination or a shorter, two-day bar examination. The study concluded that using fewer Essays would lower the test reliability factor, but that increasing the weight of the MBE and reducing the weight of the six Essays would improve reliability to an acceptable level. A full copy of the 2018 report is available on the Board of Law Examiners’ website.
The Board will administer the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), a two-day examination, for the February 2021 Texas Bar Examination. The UBE consists of the MBE weighted 50%, two MPT questions weighted 20% and six Multistate Essay Examination questions weighted 30%. A majority of U.S. jurisdictions now accept UBE scores for bar admission, subject to each jurisdiction’s individual requirements.
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