New York State Board of Law Examiners

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254 Washington Avenue Extension, Albany NY 12203-5195


The New York Bar Exam takes place over over 2 days and covers 14 topics (note: New York recently adopted the Uniform Bar Exam, which will be administered for the July 2016 exam. Check it out here). New York is well known as having one of the toughest bar exams in the country. As a result, it has one of the lowest pass rates in the country at just 58% since 2010.


New York Bar Exam Segment Breakdown

The New York Bar Exam is made up of the following exam segments:

  • 5 essays
  • 50 multiple choice questions created by the New York Bar
  • 1 multistate performance test
  • 200 multiple choice questions (the MBE), taking place the Wednesday of the exam. Click here for a complete study guide.

On the first day, applicants are expected to complete 3 essays and the 50 multiple choice questions in the morning. The afternoon portion is then for the applicants to complete 2 more essay questions and the multistate performance test.


When is the Exam Administered?

  • February 23 – 24, 2016
  • July 26 – 27, 2016

Topics Covered by the New York Bar Exam

The New York Bar Exam currently covers 14 topics. These topics are tested on the Essays and Performance Test portions of the exam.

  1. Administrative Law;
  2. Business relationships, including agency, business corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships and joint ventures;
  3. Conflict of laws;
  4. New York and federal constitutional law;
  5. Contracts and contract remedies;
  6. Criminal law and procedure;
  7. Evidence
  8. Matrimonial and family law;
  9. Professional responsibility
  10. Real property
  11. Torts and damages
  12. Trusts, wills and estates; and
  13. UCC Articles 2 and 9

This information and more are published by the New York bar, which provides an outline of each of the above areas for free:

Recent Bar Pass Rates and Content Trends

On average approximately 15,500 people take the New York bar exam each year with a 58% average pass rate. The majority of people take the Bar exam in July, having just graduated from law school. Those that do not pass the July bar will often retake in February.

The following charts show pass rates by year, and the number of students taking in both February and July.

February Bar Exam Pass Rates:

February Bar Passing Rates- New York

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.

July Bar Exam Breakdown

July 2015 - New York Bar Exam July Results




How have Various Types of Schools performed on the New York bar?

Like most states, New York does not provide a breakdown by individual school the exam. However, what New York does provide is pass rates by the type of school.

Below is a Year-Over-Year change by school type in New York.


July 2015 Bar Exam Results for New York - Year over Year Change

You can check out the pass rates of individual schools by looking at the ABA’s accreditation performance tool here:

If you are studying for the New York Bar: