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Common Questions About the Bar Exam
What is the bar exam?
The bar exam is a standardized measure of knowledge of essential legal subjects. It is used to qualify passing test takers for bar membership and law practice. Bar exams are typically 12 hours in duration and are taken over the course of two days (Tuesday and Wednesday or Wednesday and Thursday).
A bar exam is the initial step in admission to a state bar. After one passes the bar exam, they will usually complete a character and fitness application to the state bar including work and other references.
Bar exams have recently become standardized across state lines through adoption of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), which tests general legal principles as opposed to state-specific material.
What are the bar exam requirements?
In order to take the bar exam, test takers generally have to have graduated from law school. Washington, Vermont, California, and Virginia allow those who have not graduated from law school to take the bar exam.
Types of question styles one will see on the Bar Exam.
The bar exam has traditionally consisted of multiple choice and essay questions requiring test takers to analyze the legal issues presented by a fact pattern. Bar exams also usually include a practice component (aka "lawyering task") to the exam commonly referred to as a "performance test" (PT).
On every state's bar exam other than Louisiana's, the Wednesday portion of the bar exam consists of 200-mulitple choice questions testing the subject areas of Civ Pro, Contracts, Con Law, Crimes, Evidence, Real Property and Torts. This section of the exam is commonly referred to as the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE).