Bar Examinations and Bar Passage

Testing Basics: What You Cannot Afford Not to Know

Document Type

Issue/Research Brief/Blog

Publication Date



minimum competence


Simply put, the purpose of licensure is to protect the public by identifying individuals who are not adequately prepared for entry-level practice. Licensure exams are used to determine whether candidates have attained a minimum threshold of essential knowledge, skills, and abilities for entry-level practice. The bar exam cannot realistically assess all the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for entry-level legal practice. Passing the bar exam is intended to ensure that candidates can meet a minimum threshold of necessary knowledge and skills for entry-level legal practice but is not sufficient to ensure that a candidate is adequately prepared or that the candidate will be a competent lawyer in all situations.