KU graduates outperform other graduates on the 58th National Bar Exam
On November 11, the Ministry of Justice in Korea released a list of 109 candidates who passed the 58th National Bar Examination.
According to the ministry, all third-round applicants were accepted, with 30- to 34-year olds representing the largest group (43.12 %). Of the other age groups, 25- to 29-year-old applicants accounted for 31.19 %, followed by those over 35 years old at 21.10%, and 20- to 24-year olds formed the remaining 4.59%. The average age among the applicants was 31.82. In terms of gender, the number of female applicants who passed the exam was 40 (36.7%), which is slightly less than last year (38.6%).
The largest number of successful candidates was from Seoul National University (17 applicants). Korea University had 14 graduates pass the exam and was followed by Yonsei University (11) and Ewha Womans University (10). Similar to last year, KU was top among private universities in Korea with the most applicants passing the bar exam.
The ratio of law majors passing the exam was 77.98% while non-law degree holders comprised 22.02%, which has almost doubled compared to the previous year (12.42%).
According to the Law Journal, a Korean media outlet focused on examination-related news, the total number of successful bar exam applicants from Korea University was 1,390 for the past 12 years, accounting for an annual average of 16.0% of test-takers who pass the exam. When there were approximately 1,000 people taking the national bar exam every year, KU maintained 17 to18% of the passing scores. In particular, 2003 was a hallmark year when KU’s performance resulted in 170 successful applicants (18.8%). The journal reported that although the three most prestigious universities, the so-called SKY (an acronym used to refer to Seoul National University, Korea University, and Yonsei University), saw slightly more students pass the exam than last year, their percentages have decreased overall. Since 2014 when the ministry decided to reduce the number of those selected, the ratio of the SKY graduates has been reduced by half or more. According to the journal, this measure seems to have reduced inequality among universities at a rapid pace.
To be specific, the ratio of all SKY graduates has decreased from 53.9% in 2009, 51.1% in 2010, 46% in 2011, and 46.9% in 2012 to 45.1% in 2013, resulting in approximately half of successful applicants coming from the top 3 universities. However, the proportion has continued to drop since 2014 with less than 40% of SKY graduates passing the test. Nevertheless, the ratio of SKY graduates among successful candidates for law schools was 47.9% in 2014, still close to a half. Furthermore, law schools at the SKY universities have been dominated by students with bachelor’s degrees from the top three universities. It seemed that, according to the journal, more and more undergraduate students at the SKY universities have decided to study further at the law schools of their alma maters.