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The Office of Bar Admissions had good news for a record number — 972 — of law school graduates who opened their mailboxes Friday. The overall pass rate for July’s Georgia bar exam was 80.5 percent, up from 74.9 percent in July 2000. For first-timers the pass rate was 88.4 percent, up from 83.6 percent a year ago. Repeat test-takers had a 40.7 percent pass rate, up from 33.9 percent. Hulett H. “Bucky” Askew III says the overall pass rate is the highest since February 1996, when the Office of Bar Admissions stopped allowing third-year law students to take the exam. On that test, 82.4 percent of test-takers passed and since then, the February exam’s overall pass rate has been much lower, Askew says. Since 1996, the February pass rate has inched from 59.6 percent to only 60.8 percent. Askew says the high pass rate indicates better performance, not an easier test. While many applicants who had passed the bar in other jurisdictions complained that the July essay test was extremely hard, Askew says, a mathematical formula curves the scores. RAW SCORES CONVERTED American College Test Inc. grades the Multistate Bar Exam and assigns a formula to convert the MBE raw scores into scaled scores. The Georgia essay graders apply that scale to convert raw scores into scaled scores on the essay and Multistate Performance Test. Askew say the breakout pass rate by school is meaningless because there’s little difference between the statistics for the four schools. The Office of Bar Admissions mails a summary to the State Bar of Georgia and judges across the state, who requested the breakout by school in the past. Nationwide, 44,637 took the Multistate Bar Exam in July. The MBE national average was 142.8. Georgia’s 1,080 test-takers outperformed the national average with a 144.4 average. Emory improved the most in pass rates, with 94.3 percent of its 106 applicants passing, up from 88.9 percent the year earlier. Emory first-timers went from a 2000 pass rate of 88.9 percent to 94.1 percent this year. NATIONAL PASS RATE TOPPED Pass rates at all four American Bar Association approved schools in Georgia surpassed the 86.1 percent pass rate for test-takers from ABA-approved schools outside the state. On Monday, Askew said he expected numerous calls from applicants who had failed the exam. Most would call to ask for a re-grade, he says, which Georgia does not allow. Some call for consolation and advice on how to study for the next test, Askew says. “There’s very little advice to give them,” he adds. The Office of Bar Admissions is neutral on whether test-takers should take bar review classes. But Askew says he asks students how they studied for the test they failed and reviews their scores with them. Only students who fail the test receive their bar scores. Askew says he suggests a longer study schedule for some test-takers. And often Askew encourages applicants who failed the test to skip the next exam. “By the time they recover from this and start studying again, they only have about four or five weeks” until the February test, Askew notes. The registration deadline for the February 2002 bar exam is Jan. 4.
Complete list of successful candidates Related chart See results for other states

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