Bar Examinations and High-Stakes Assessments


Testing Basics: What You Cannot Afford Not to Know

Document Type

Issue/Research Brief/Blog

Publication Date



bar exam cut scores, minimum competence, test validity of the bar exam


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.