Bar Exam

Online bar exams axed by NCBE beginning next year

  • Print.

exam classroom

Image from Shutterstock.

Law grads taking bar exams developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners next year should expect to take the test in person.

The NCBE announced Tuesday that its test materials will be made available to jurisdictions only in an in-person form beginning in February 2022, reports.

If a public health authority bans in-person exams, the NCBE will work with the jurisdiction on a solution, according to an NCBE press release.

The NCBE develops licensing tests for lawyers that are used by most U.S. jurisdictions. Since October 2020, states could choose either an in-person or an online exam developed by the NCBE. Twenty-nine jurisdictions are planning a remote bar exam in July, while 24 jurisdictions are planning in-person exams.

Online test-takers didn’t perform as well as people taking the exam in person in three states that offered both types of exams, according to data released in February. Some online test-takers reported software crashes and other technology issues.

Beth Hill, the NCBE’s director of test development, operations and security, said in the press release remote bar examinations were “a valuable stopgap” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“However, remote exams create challenges for exam security and uniformity, and for this reason, we have consistently advocated for in-person testing as the best option whenever possible,” she said.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.