Note, as of 8/18, Iowa has officially adopted the Uniform Bar Exam, to be first tested on the 2016 February Bar Examination session. The information presented below takes into account the upcoming changes.

The Iowa Bar Exam takes place over over 2 days. On average, over 384 people each year take the Iowa Bar Exam, with just over 329 passing.

As Iowa is one of 17 states to have adopted the Uniform Bar Exam, the exam is made up of the following exam segments:

  • 6 Multistate Essay test (30 minutes each)
  • 200 multiple choice questions (the MBE), taking place the Wednesday of the exam. Click here for a complete study guide.
  • 2 Multistate Performance Test Questions (90 minutes each)

As part of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, study aids are available for free through their website here. These include sample questions for the MBE portion of the exam and older (pre-2011) MPT and MEE exam questions and answers.

Recent Bar Pass Rates and Content Trends

On average 384 people take the Iowa bar exam each year with a 82% average pass rate. The following charts show pass rates by year, and the number of students taking in both February and July.

February Bar Exam Pass Rates:

On average, the February bar has a lower number of students taking (as it is made up of primarily of people who graduated during December, or people who are retaking the bar. The February Exam maintains a 77% average pass rate.

July Bar Exam Pass Rates:

The July bar exam, while having a higher number of students taking the bar exam has a higher pass rate percentage than the February bar at 88%.


Topics Covered by the Iowa Bar Exam


Multistate Bar Exam (MBE Multiple Choice) Subjects

1. Civil Procedure; 2. Constitutional Law; 3. Contracts; 4. Criminal Law and Procedure; 5. Evidence; 6. Real Property; and 7. Torts

Multistate Essay & Perforamnce Test Subjects

1. Business Associations; 2. Conflict of laws; 3. Constitutional law; 4 Contracts; 5. Criminal Law and Procedure; 6. Evidence; 7. Family Law; 8. Federal Civil Procedure; 9. Real Propety; 10. Torts; 11. Trusts and Estates; 12. UCC Articles 3, 4 and 9.

How have Various Types of Schools performed on the Iowa bar?

In the past, a breakdown by in-state schools taking the exam. You can check out the pass rates of individual schools below: