These States Saw Better Bar Pass Rates After Lowering Their Cut Scores

These States Saw Better Bar Pass Rates After Lowering Their Cut Scores

Four states that lowered their bar pass cut scores last year are already seeing better bar passage rates.

Idaho, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Utah all saw increases in their February 2024 bar passage rates after lowering their cut score last year. Alaska, which also lowered its cut score in 2023, was the only state that didn’t see an increase, the ABA Journal reports.


Out of the five states, Idaho had the biggest jump in bar passage rates for February’s exam reaching 54%, up from 36% in February 2023. The state dropped its cut score to 270 from 272 in June 2023.

Pennsylvania saw a bar passage rate of 48%, up from 44%. The state lowered its passing score from 272 to 270 in December 2023.

In Arizona, the passing score was reduced from 273 to 270 in October 2023. As a result, the overall pass rate increased to 46% in February 2024, up from 41% in February 2023.

Utah dropped its passing score 10 point in June 2023 from 270 to 260. This February, 66% of test-takers passed, up from 65%.

Alaska, which lowered its passing score 10 point in February 2023 from 280 to 270, saw its bar passage rate drop to 42%, down from 75% last year.


Utah and Virginia both had bar passage rates of 66% this February—the highest of all states. The lowest overall pass rates were in Alabama (32%), Maine (35%), Maryland (36%), Wisconsin (36%), Michigan (37%), and Connecticut (37%).

Rosemary Reshetar, director of psychometrics and operations at the National Conference of Bar Examiners, says February bar pass rates often are lower than the July administration.

“We tend to have a lot more repeat test-takers in February,” she says. “Most people who are really at the top of the performance level can pass on their first try.”

Sources: ABA Journal, NCBE

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