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Bar Exam Information & Study Aids: General Information about the Bar Exam

Resources to help you study for the bar exam, including links to study guides, sample exams, and practical information on applying to take the exam.  

Bar Exam Dates

These dates are approximate. Please confirm the dates for the bar that you are taking. 

Year Date Held
Winter 2018    Feb. 26 - Mar. 2
Summer 2018 July 23 - 27
Winter 2019    Feb. 25 - Mar. 1
Summer 2019 July 30 - Aug. 2
Winter 2020 Feb. 25 - Feb. 28
Summer 2020 July 28 - Aug. 1

 

National Conference of Bar Examiners

 National Conference of Bar Examinershttp://www.ncbex.org

The National Conference of Bar Examiners oversees the uniform standards for admission to the bar.  Their website contains on various different aspects of the bar exam, including information on admission requirements, links to Bar Admission Offices and the Multistate Bar Examination and a periodical with updates on Bar Exam related information.

ABA Section of Legal Education & Admissions to the Bar

 

ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, www.abanet.org/legaled/baradmissions/bar.html

Bar Exam requirements are summarized in the "Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements" published by the ABA, and information may also be available from the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar "Bar Admissions" page.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are State Bar Admission Requirements?

Admission requirements are on a state-by-state basis. The requirements for first time admission are not uniform, but most states require at least the following: 

  • A degree from an ABA accredited law school. Some states allow graduates from select schools that may not be ABA accredited, but have been approved by that state's bar examiners.
  • Character and Fitness Requirements. States require a bar applicant to pass a character and fitness requirement. This includes questions and investigation into the applicant's background and disclosures regarding criminal activity, substance abuse or mental illness.
  • Bar Examination. In most states the bar exam is a combination of the Multistate Bar Examantion and a state Essay Examination. There may be other requirements as well such as the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE), the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT).

More information about state bar exams is available from the 50 State Bar Exam Survey, http://wcl.american.libguides.com/barexam/50

Can I take more than one bar exam?

In order to take 2 exams the second exam must be offered on the last Wednesday and Thursday in July (rare).

Most students only take 1 bar exam per season although for professional reasons some students might opt to take more than one exam. It is possible to take more than one exam in one exam season, but this is not recommended for every student. Examinees making this decision should consider their comfort with learning a great deal of information about not only 1 but 2 jurisdictions in such a short period of time.

In practical terms, taking two bar exams works as follows - the applicant will take the first state's exam, including the MBE on Tuesday and Wednesday, and travel to the second jurisdiction to take the state portion of that jurisdiction's exam on Thursday. The student's MBE score will be used by both jurisdictions to calculate his/her final score.  

How much does it cost to take the bar exam?

Costs vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but registration can be up to $1,500.00. In addition, students typically need $8,000 to $10,000 to support themselves during the bar study period.

Expenses generally include:

  • Application fees

  • Character and fitness application expenses
  • Bar review course
  • Living expenses while studying for the bar exam
  • Transportation to/from the bar exam 
  • Hotel room during the bar exam

When should Students Begin Preparing for the Bar Exam?

Students should begin substantive bar exam preparation during the second semester of their 3L year. There are a number of affirmative steps students can take in the months before formal bar review begins that will make their summer bar review experience more manageable. Contact the Office of Academic Excellence for more information on these resources.