St. Francis Students Continue Excellent Outcomes on California’s First Year Law Students ExaminationAugust 20, 2018 FYLSE Karen Travis
June 2018 FYLSE Results Show High Pass Rates for St Francis Students
Five St. Francis School of Law students took the June 2018 First Year Law Students’ Examination (FYLSE) in Pasadena, California. In California, students who attend law schools that are registered with the State Bar’s Committee of Bar Examiners, but unaccredited, are required to take the FYLSE after they have completed their first year of law studies.
The FYLSE is a rigorous seven-hour examination that requires students to write four legal essays in four hours in the morning, followed by three hours of 100 multiple-choice questions in the afternoon. The FYLSE tests students’ knowledge of the three subjects taught in the first year of law school: contract, torts and criminal law.
St Francis law students consistently perform well above those at all of the other law schools whose students are required to take the FYLSE. For example, in October 2017, the last administration of the FYLSE for which official State Bar statistics are available, the passage rate for all first-timers taking the exam was 27.3%, while the passage rate for St. Francis first-timers was 67%. All takers passed at a rate of 19.5%, while St Francis students passed at a rate of 70%.
The five St. Francis students who took the June 2018 FYLSE maintained the St. Francis tradition of excellence—75% of the first-timers passed and 80% passed over-all. The official State Bar statistics for this exam are not available, so comparisons to other schools are not possible at this time.
St. Francis’ excellent FYLSE passage rate results from a first-year curriculum that emphasizes content knowledge and essay writing and multiple-choice practice, as well as the rigorous ten-week FYLSE Preparation course focused on developing skills of legal analysis, writing, and test taking.
One of the most effective parts of the FYLSE Preparation course is three simulated FYLSE exams that students take on week-ends. These ‘dress rehearsals’ allow students the opportunity to work on their test taking techniques and to develop the physical and mental stamina required to succeed in seven hours of testing. Other parts of the course, such as frequent writing with detailed feedback, and mandatory multiple-choice practice, help students prepare for these simulations.
As one student noted, “Having run a few marathons…, prepping with long runs gives you the confidence to go the distance, so that race day is just another run…When I hear other classmates say the exam seemed ‘easier’ than expected, my interpretation is that…we did so much preparation and simulation in advance that the actual exam, while challenging, wasn’t unexpected. The best surprise is no surprise.”
Professor Travis is the Director of Academic Excellence at St. Francis, providing academic support services to St. Francis students. Professor Travis has designed and taught the torts, contracts and criminal law portions of the FYLSE Prep course.