Bar exam watchers say a preliminary plan to reform the attorney licensing test to focus more on lawyering skills and less on the memorization of laws is a step in the right direction—but they warn that the planned changes may not go far enough to address what ails the current exam and will take years to implement.

Bar exam reformers and bar prep providers have spent the past week digesting a series of proposed changes that were unveiled Jan. 4 by the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ Testing Task Force, which has spent the past three years studying the exam and weighing new approaches. The proposal calls for the elimination of the three distinct test sections—the Multistate Bar Exam, the Multistate Essay Exam and the Multistate Performance Test—in favor of an integrated exam that more closely resembles the existing performance test portion.