LOS ANGELES (AP) – The California bar passage rate is at its lowest level in nearly a decade.

Less than half of all applicants taking the test passed this summer, a 7-point drop from the previous year.

According to the State Bar of California, that’s the lowest passage rate since July 2004, when 48.2 percent of applicants passed.

The passage rate for the law exam had been rising since 2011.

Of the more than 8,500 applicants who took the exam in July, the majority were taking the exam for the first time. Those who were more successful had attended California law schools approved by the American Bar Association.

Passing the test is a requirement for admission to the bar.

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