Success of would-be lawyers on the difficult California Bar examination hit an eight-year high in July when 50.3% of the applicants passed, the State Bar reported in San Francisco. Of the 7,721 who took the three-day test, 3,884 passed it; the number of lawyers in California thus will increase to 110,800 when they are sworn in during the second week of December, the bar said. Since 1979, when the passing rate was 52.5%, it had declined to a low point of 41.8% in 1984 before rebounding. The passage rate was 44.4% in July, 1986. California's bar exam tests a dozen different legal subjects, as well as skills such as writing and research, and is considered one of the hardest in the nation.