The California State Bar Board of Trustees voted to shorten the California bar exam from a three day exam to two days beginning in 2017.
While this news may irk those, like myself, who had to suffer through three days of grueling essays, performance tests, and the MBE in order to become certified to practice in California, I actually think the bar exam is going to become more difficult. Here's why:
Pre-2017, the California bar exam consists of 6 essays (3 on day 1 and 3 on day 3), 2 performance tests (1 on day 1 and 1 on day 3), and of course, the MBE.
In 2017, there will be 1 day with 5 essay questions and 1 ninety minute performance test and 1 day for the MBE.
Therefore, examinees will be required to know more California-specific rules for the essay/PT day to write 5 (!!) essays. Additionally, the performance test will be shortened to 1 ninety minute exercise which means examinees will have to work faster and smarter to produce a quality answer.
My experience was that the performance tests were a way to boost your written scores, especially if an essay answer or two was less than passable.
The new California bar exam will require more agility from examinees and will potentially require more typing or writing.
The same strict pass/fail standards will mean that the California bar exam will not relinquish its reputation as one of if not the most difficult bar exams in the United States.