Becoming a lawyer in California is a long and rigorous process that requires passing the state bar exam.

If you’re planning to take the bar exam in California, one of the most common questions you may have is, how many times can you take the bar exam in California?

In this article, we will explore the answer to this question and provide you with other useful information related to the California bar exam.

How Many Times Can You Take the Bar Exam in California?

If you are planning to become a lawyer in California, you might wonder how many times you can take the bar exam. The good news is that you can take the test up to four times, but there are some exceptions to this rule.

The California bar exam is notoriously difficult, and many people do not pass on their first attempt. However, it is important to note that the more times you take the test, the lower your chances of passing become. In fact, statistics show that the pass rate for repeat test-takers is significantly lower than for first-time takers.

It is also worth noting that there are some exceptions to the four-time rule. For example, if you have a disability that prevents you from taking the test, you may be able to take it more than four times. Additionally, if you have failed the test four times but can demonstrate that you have made significant progress and are likely to pass on a subsequent attempt, you may be able to take it again.

It is important to remember that the bar exam in California is not something to take lightly. It requires a lot of preparation and dedication, and even then, it is not guaranteed that you will pass. That being said, if you are committed to becoming a lawyer, don’t give up after one or two failed attempts. Keep working hard and seeking out resources to help you succeed.

What Happens If You Fail the Bar Exam Four Times?

Failing the bar exam can be a frustrating and discouraging experience, especially if you’ve failed multiple times. In California, the maximum number of times you can take the bar exam is four. So, what happens if you fail the bar exam four times?

First of all, it’s important to know that you may still be eligible to take the bar exam again after five years. This waiting period is intended to give you time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses, seek additional education or counseling, and make a more informed decision about whether to try again.

If you do decide to try again after the waiting period, you can petition the California Supreme Court for additional attempts. However, this is not an easy process and requires a compelling reason for why you should be allowed to take the exam again. Some possible reasons might include:

  • Medical issues or disabilities that affected your ability to perform on the exam
  • Personal or family emergencies that prevented you from adequately preparing for the exam
  • Errors or irregularities in the administration of the exam that affected your performance

It’s important to note that simply failing the exam multiple times is not considered a compelling reason for additional attempts. You will need to provide evidence to support your petition and convince the court that you have taken steps to address the issues that led to your previous failures.

Preparing for the California Bar Exam

The California Bar Exam is notoriously one of the most challenging bar exams in the country. Preparing for this exam requires a significant amount of time and effort. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the California Bar Exam:

  • Enroll in a bar exam prep course: Taking a prep course can help you stay organized and focused while studying. These courses provide you with study materials, practice exams, and guidance from experienced instructors. Some popular bar exam prep courses include Kaplan, Barbri, and Themis.
  • Create a study schedule and stick to it: Creating a study schedule is essential to ensure that you cover all the necessary material before the exam. Determine how much time you have to study and break it down into manageable study sessions. Stick to your schedule to ensure that you cover all the material.
  • Take practice tests: Taking practice exams is an essential part of bar exam preparation. These tests can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, and you can use this information to adjust your study plan. You can find practice exams on the State Bar of California’s website or through your bar exam prep course.
  • Get support from peers and mentors: Studying for the bar exam can be a lonely and stressful experience. It’s essential to get support from peers and mentors who have gone through the process. Join a study group or connect with other bar exam takers online. You can also seek guidance from experienced attorneys who can offer advice and support.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to preparing for the California Bar Exam. Remember, the key to success is consistent and focused studying.

Tips for Passing the California Bar Exam

  • Read the instructions carefully: Before starting the exam, make sure you read the instructions and understand what is expected of you. This will help you avoid any mistakes that could cost you points.
  • Manage your time effectively: Time management is crucial in the bar exam. Make sure you allocate enough time for each question and stick to your schedule. Don’t spend too much time on one question and leave yourself with less time for the others.
  • Practice good writing skills: Writing skills are essential for the bar exam. Practice writing clear and concise answers that address the question directly. Use proper grammar and spelling, and make sure your answers are well-organized.
  • Stay calm and focused: The bar exam can be stressful, but try to stay calm and focused. Take deep breaths and stay positive. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, take a break and come back to the question later.
  • Take care of yourself: Finally, make sure you take care of yourself during the exam. Get enough sleep the night before, eat a healthy breakfast, and bring snacks and water to keep yourself energized.

Remember that passing the California Bar Exam takes hard work and dedication. By following these tips and preparing well, you can increase your chances of success.

For more information on the California Bar Exam, visit the California State Bar website.


In conclusion, the California bar exam is a challenging test that requires thorough preparation and focus.

While you are allowed to take the exam up to four times, it’s important to do everything you can to pass it on your first try.

By following the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you can increase your chances of success and achieve your goal of becoming a licensed attorney in California.

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