Bar Admission Info - Standard Bar Exams

Standard Bar Exam Information

A bar examination is an examination to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law in a given jurisdiction.

United States

Passing the bar exam is typically only one of several steps for being licensed to practice law. For more information on the complete process, see admission to the bar in the United States.

Bar examinations in the United States are administered by agencies of individual states, except for the patent bar, which is separately administered by the Office of Enrollment and Discipline of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The state agency is invariably associated with the judicial branch of government, because American attorneys are all officers of the court of the bar(s) to which they belong.

Sometimes the agency is an office or committee of the state's highest court or intermediate appellate court. In states which have a unified or integrated bar association (meaning that formal membership in a public corporation controlled by the judiciary is required to practice therein), the agency the state bar association or a subunit thereof.

In many jurisdictions, a Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination, an ethics exam, is also administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which creates it and grades it. The MPRE is offered three times a year, in March, August and November.

The bar examination in most U.S. states and territories is two days long.
  • Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)

    The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) is a six-hour, 200-question multiple-choice examination covering contracts, torts, constitutional law, criminal law and procedure, evidence, and real property.

  • Multistate Essay Examination (MEE)

    The Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) is a collection of 30-minute essay questions and is administered by participating jurisdictions on the Tuesday before the last Wednesday in February and July of each year. The MEE offers nine questions per examination, with most jurisdictions selecting six questions from the nine.

  • Multistate Performance Test (MPT)

    The MPT consists of two 90-minute skills questions covering legal analysis, fact analysis, problem solving, resolution of ethical dilemmas, organization and management of a lawyering task, and communication.

  • Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)

    The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) is a 60-question, two-hour-and-five-minute, multiple-choice examination administered three times each year.

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