Bar Exam FAQs

100 things to know about for the bar exam

When is the Bar Exam Offered?

The bar exam is offered twice per year for most states, once the last full week in February, and the last full week in July. The only state to not offer the bar exam twice each year, is Delaware, which offers just the July Bar.

How many sections on the bar exam?

There are typically three sections to the bar exam, an essay portion, an multiple-choice section, and a performance test section. However, check the state you are applying to, because not all states require a performance test.

What is the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE)?

The Uniform Bar Exam is a standard test that was developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (the same people who created the 200 question Multi-state bar exam test). It was created to allow for a single-standard that all lawyers could take, and allow portability across state lines. It is not offered in all states, but has become more widespread (the latest state to adopt the UBE is New York, which was historically known as one of the toughest exams in the country).

How many States have adopted the UBE?

As of 2017, 25 states (including the District of Columbia) have adopted the UBE. For a complete list of all states that have adopted the UBE you can check it out here.

What is the bar exam pass rate of ____ state?

Pass rates on the bar exam vary widely by state, but most often range between 50% – 70%. It also depends on your school, and is contingent on the number of people who are retaking the bar exam (Make sure to pass your first time!). You can check out any number of books on improving your score.

How many questions are on the Multi-State Bar Exam?

There are 200 questions on the multi-state bar exam, with 25 questions being scattered throughout used for evaluation purposes. You are given the test in two segments, on the Wednesday of the bar exam.

What topics does the MBE Cover?

The MBE covers 7 topics, which include the following:

  • Civil Procedure
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Real Property
  • Torts

For a comprehensive subject matter outline, check out the National Conference of Bar Examiner’s website

What is considered passing on the MBE?

Each time the MBE is tested, the passing rate changes. In addition, the MBE is just one portion of your overall grade (you could get a low score on the MBE, and conceivably ace the other portions to make up for it). That being said, the average score for the MBE ranges between 135 – 140 after scaling takes place.

What is Reciprocity?

Reciprocity allows attorneys to take the bar exam in one state, and be admitted in a completely different state if that attorney moved. It used to be very difficult to do so, but has become easier in recent years with the adoption of the UBE.

What are the best bar exam review courses I can take?

There is no best course to take. Each course decision depends on a variety of factors including how you learn. Check out our comparison of the top bar exam courses.

What should I do the morning of the exam?

Relax, the bar exam is a marathon not a sprint. If you have done everything correctly, then you should feel confident, knowing you are going to pass. Have a healthy breakfast, maybe do a little stretching or yoga, and get ready for a long 2-3 days.

What should I do to pass the Bar?

Plan on studying a lot. If you are someone who needs assistance and guidance (which most of us do) then plan on taking a formal bar exam course.

Help! I am stressed about the Bar Exam. What should I do?

First, breath. Everyone gets stressed taking the bar exam and that is normal. It is a big milestone in your career. Work out, do something fun that you like. You can also check out any number of books on keeping your stress down during the bar.

What are some free resources for taking practice bar exams?

Depending on the state, you may be able to secure practice exams. The California Bar houses recent exams on their website. The National Conference of Bar Examiners also has materials available on their website for purchase and for free (here).

How many practice MBE questions should I take?

Plan on taking at least 1,500 questions. An excellent resource is AdaptiBar. You can read the full review here.

What books can help me prepare for the Bar Exam?

Have a question you want answered? Put it in the comments section below, and we will look to add it to the ultimate FAQ!