Today, the Law Society of Ontario announced changes to the "June" bar exams held in mid-July to August this year . The changes are substantial
Change 1: Dates Exams are usually held in June, but this year they have been moved forward to July through August.
Change 2: The format of the exam
For the first time, the LSO is offering their exams online. For most people, that will mean that they are writing their exams from the comfort of their own homes or hopefully in some other environment that is more relaxing than writing in a massive test centre with hundreds of other students. But that is not the most significant change. LSO announced they are temporarily reducing the length of their exams from 7 hours to only 4 hours. The number of questions will also be reduced from 240 questions to only 160 questions. These changes are substantial in many ways. One of the biggest hurdles facing students in the Ontario bar exams is being able to endure 7 hours of gruelling multiple choice questions while the onset of fatigue kicks in. Reducing the exam by 3 hours significantly changes the rules of the game, and in my opinion, makes the exam a lot easier. However, this is not the only change being implemented. Previously, students were provided with 1.75 minutes per questions (1 minute and 45 seconds). With the new temporary changes, the average time per question is reduced by 15 seconds to 1.5 minutes per question (1 minute and 30 seconds). 15 seconds may not seem like a lot, but it certainly is. If the LSO were to use the same average time per question as they normally do, then you would be allotted an additional 40 minutes to write this exam.
So, what does all this mean? Well, you could argue that reducing the number of hours from 7 to 4 makes this exam easier, but at the same time the difficulty level is increased by reducing the average time you have to look up answers. Perhaps the two factors balance themselves out.
NEW FREE TIMERS I've taken the liberty to create two new timer sheets for the exam that are free to download. The reason we have two sheets is because we don't know whether the question numbers will continue from where you left off before the break or whether the question sequence will revert back to 1 after the break.