The Toughest States to Pass the Bar Exam

If you are getting ready to go take the bar exam, you may be getting a little bit antsy wondering how challenging it is going to be. The job market is extremely competitive and you have been working really hard, but is it hard enough? Depending on the state that you live in, you may be concerned about what the overall passing rate is in your state. It is so important to be able to pass the test. So that being said, it is also very important to know how hard you have to study in order to pass with flying colors.

Fortunately, there was a list of states compiled showing which states had the most difficult bar exams. This is based on a variety of factors such as the calculated pass rate as well as the overall pass rate. Here is the list of the toughest states to take the bar exam in.


  1. California
  2. Arkansas
  3. Washington
  4. Louisiana
  5. Nevada
  6. Virginia
  7. Oregon
  8. West Virginia
  9. Vermont
  10. Maryland

Apparently, most experts expected California to top the list. However, New York was expected to crack the top 10 but they didn’t. So why is it so hard in California? For starters it is one of the biggest states in the U.S and there are a lot of attorneys in California. The competition is fierce so they want to make the bar exam more difficult for you to pass. There is a lot to prepare for when you are an attorney in California. They do not want you to pass the bar exam and then get out into the real world and fail miserably. Honestly, it is a good thing that the exam is more difficult. It prepares you for the real world.

According to recent studies, Washington D.C. has the highest concentration of attorneys than any other state. It is not a big shock to find out that there are a lot of attorneys in D.C. However, there may be many of them that are not actually employed. So there may be a lot of them residing in D.C but many of them are not even practicing. So it might be time to relocate to a state who needs more lawyers so you can actually start practicing law again!


There is no real rhyme or reason as to why some bar exams are more difficult than others. According to Sacramento DUI Attorney Michael Rehm, who passed both the California & New York bar exams on his first attempt, many fail who would make great lawyers and vice versa. Some might make the exam harder to challenge law students and to make sure they are fully prepared for what is to come. Many people believe that the harder the exam is the better. You will be more prepared for practicing law out in the real world and you won’t be quite a shell-shocked. So no matter which state that you live in, make sure you are studying hard and are fully prepared for the exam. Because you never know, your state may be the next one to raise the bar.

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