California State Bar officials were left to wonder Monday whether an increase of six-tenths of a percentage point on the July bar examination was anything to brag about.

While the pass rate announced late Friday inched up from 48.2 percent last year to 48.8 percent this year, it still marked the second lowest number of successful test takers in 19 years. The 1986 class topped out at 44.4 percent.

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