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The Illinois Bar Exam is a twice-yearly exam that tests law students for their ability to practice law in the state. Successful applicants, those who score higher than a 266 pass and enter the bar if they meet all other requirements put forth by the state.
Multistate Essay Exam (MEE)
The Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) is developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE).and consists of six 30-minute questions. It is administered by jurisdictions as part of the bar examination on the Tuesday before the last Wednesday in February and July of each year.
The purpose of the MEE is to test the examinee's ability to (1) identify legal issues raised by a hypothetical factual situation; (2) separate material which is relevant from that which is not; (3) present a reasoned analysis of the relevant issues in a clear, concise, and well-organized composition; and (4) demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental legal principles relevant to the probable solution of the issues raised by the factual situation.
The primary distinction between the MEE and the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) is that the MEE requires the examinee to demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively in writing.
Areas of law that may be covered on the MEE include the following: business associations (agency and partnership; corporations and limited liability companies), civil procedure, conflict of laws, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence, family law, real property, torts, trusts and estates (decedents' estates; trusts and future interests), and the Uniform Commercial Code (secured transactions). Some questions may include issues in more than one area of law. The particular areas covered vary from exam to exam.
Multistate Performance Test (MPT)
The Multistate Performance Test (MPT) is developed by the NCBE and consists of two 90-minute sections. It is administered as part of the bar examination on the Tuesday before the last Wednesday in February and July of each year.
The MPT is designed to test an examinee's ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation and complete a task that a beginning lawyer should be able to accomplish. The MPT is not a test of substantive knowledge. Rather, it is designed to evaluate certain fundamental skills lawyers are expected to demonstrate regardless of the area of law in which the skills arise.
Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)
The MBE, which is administered on Wednesday, is developed and graded by the NCBE.
This portion of the examination is an objective 6-hour examination containing 200 multiple-choice questions, which is divided into two 3-hour sessions during which 100 questions are administered.
The MBE tests 7 subjects: civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law & procedure, evidence, real property, and torts.
2021 Filing Deadlines & Fees
When is the Illinois Bar Exam in 2021?
|February 22-23, 2022||July 27-28, 2021|
|Timely Filing:||Sept 15, 2021||Feb 15, 2021|
|Late Filing:||November 1, 2021||April 1, 2021|
|Final Filing:||December 15, 2021||May 15, 2021|
How Much Does the Illinois Bar Exam Cost?
|Timely Exam Fee:||$950|
|Attorney Exam Fee:||$500 / $950|
|Laptop Computer Fee:||$105|
|Previous Applicants through Late Filing Date||$500|
|Previous Applicants through Final Filing Date||$850|
What is the IL Bar Exam Schedule Like?
The Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) is a 2-day exam administered twice a year, with the MBE given on the last Wednesday of February and July and the MEE and MPT given on the Tuesday prior to that.
|Tue||6 essays on any subject (3 hours)||2 performance tests (3 hours)|
|Wed||100 MBE questions (3 hours)||100 MBE questions (3 hours)|
What Subjects Are Tested On The IL Bar Exam?
- Civil procedure
- Constitutional law
- Criminal law & procedure
- Real property
Multistate Essay Subjects
- Business associations
- Civil procedure
- Conflict of laws
- Constitutional law
- Criminal law & procedure
- Family law
- Real property
- Wills (decedents' estates)
IL Bar Exam Grading & Scoring Process
NCBE scores the MBE component of the UBE. Jurisdictions grade the MEE and MPT components. The MEE and MPT scores are scaled to the MBE, and UBE total scores are calculated by the NCBE.
UBE total scores are reported on a 400-point scale and a passing score of 273 is required in Illinois.
- MBE: 50%
- MEE: 30%
- MPT: 20%
Illinois bar students are required to pass a conduct exam called the MPRE with a score of at least 80.
Results for the February exam are typically released six weeks after the exam. Results for the July exam are typically released 8-10 weeks after the exam.
Illinois Bar Exam Reciprocity
If you've taken the bar exam in another state, you may be able to use those results to expedite your entry to the Illinois bar.
The Illinois Board of Admission to the Bar will accept a scaled score of 141 or more that was earned by an applicant on a MBE administered in another jurisdiction within the 13 months immediately preceding the current Illinois bar exam. The applicant must have passed the entire bar exam in the jurisdiction in which the MBE score was earned.
Applicants opting to transfer a MBE score must take and pass the written portion of the Illinois bar exam in order to pass the exam.
Illinois does not accept UBE scores from another jurisdiction.
Admission on Motion
Illinois does allow for admission on motion for applicants who have been practicing law for at least 3 of the past 5 years. All requirements for admission on motion can be found here.
How do I Contact the Illinois Bar?
Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar
615 S. College Street
Springfield, IL 62704-2521
BarMax IL Course Structure & Features
Illinois has officilaly adopted the Uniform Bar Exam, so students taking the July 2019 bar exam or later can rely entirely on BarMax Uniform Bar Exam.
BarMax UBE is the only bar review course that gives you instant and lifetime access to a user friendly program delivered straight to your iPad, iPhone and/or computer. Study whenever and wherever you want while analytics track your progress to highlight your strengths and weaknesses, so you know where to spend your precious time.
BarMax UBE contains black-letter law outlines for every topic with corresponding audio lectures by Harvard Law School-educated law professors, real MBE questions, real practice essays (MEEs) & real performance tests (MPTs), a calendar and task list to keep you organized, flashcards and unlimited personal attention & support.
Enrollment in the course also includes 10 personalized writing critiques (performance tests and/or essays). BarMax has former bar graders on staff to ensure that students receive accurate practice scores and effective criticism in a timely manner. Additional critiques can be purchased either in bundles or a la carte.
Upon registering, students will also receive a Welcome Packet via email, which includes the course calendar, PDFs of past essays, MPTs, point sheets, and when available, model answers. Students can either print these out or view them on any computer.Sign Up Today
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|Digital Welcome Packet
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Civ Pro Lecture Sample
Common Questions About the UBE.
What is the Uniform Bar Exam?
The Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) is effectively a national bar exam coordinated by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and is composed of three parts: (1) the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) , the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT).
The UBE is uniformly administered, graded, and scored by adopting jurisdictions and results in a portable score that can be transferred to other UBE jurisdictions.
What does the Uniform Bar Exam application look like?
There is no Uniform Bar Exam application.
Applicants must register for the UBE by applying to a user jurisdiction. For example, a student taking the UBE in New York would apply to sit for the New York bar exam.
Applicants who have taken the UBE may transfer their UBE scores to seek admission in other UBE jurisdictions.
This map shows UBE jurisdictions in orange and lists the maximum age of transferred UBE scores for each jurisdiction:
|Maximum Age of Transferred UBE Score*||Jurisdiction|
|2 years||Missouri, North Dakota|
|2 years/5 years||Iowa, Utah|
|3 years||Connecticut, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Virgin Islands, West Virginia, Wyoming|
|3 years/5 years||Colorado, New Hampshire, Vermont|
|5 years||Alaska, Arizona, District of Columbia|
*The maximum age of transferred UBE scores in Maryland has not been determined.
Please note, however, that jurisdiction rules and policies can change, so we would strongly advise consulting the jurisdiction’s bar admission agency directly for the most current information.
What States accept the UBE?
These are the UBE jurisdictions:
- District of Columbia
- Michigan (February 2023)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
- Virgin Islands
While technically not UBE jurisdictions, the following jurisdictions either administer or substantially administer the UBE:
- South Dakota
Are there states that are considering the UBE?
Every year more and more states are adopting the UBE.
In February 2021, the Texas bar exam will administer its first Uniform Bar Exam.
California and Florida are the largest legal markets still administering state-specific tests. While Florida has formally considered adopting the UBE, California seems to have no interest in doing so. The California bar exam, however, recently shorten from three days to two days, a step in the right direction.
What are the Uniform Bar Exam subjects?
Multistate Bar Exam Subjects:
- Civil Procedure (Civ Pro)
- Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure (Crimes)
- Real Property
- Constitutional Law (Con Law)
Multistate Essay Exam Subjects:
Business Associations : Agency and partnership, and corporations and limited liability companies.
Civil Procedure (Civ Pro) : Jurisdiction and venue, the law applied by federal courts, pretrial procedures, jury trials, motions, verdicts and judgments, and appealability and review.
Conflicts of Law : These issues are embedded in other topic areas and do not appear as standalone questions. Issues include domicile, the jurisdiction of courts, choice of law, and recognition and enforcement of other states' judgments and foreign judgments.
Constitutional Law (Con Law) : Nature of judicial review, separation of powers, relation of nation and states in a federal system, and individual rights.
Contracts : Formation of contracts, defenses to enforceability, contract content and meaning, performance, breach and discharge, remedies, and third-party rights.
Criminal Law and Procedure (Crimes) : Homicide, other crimes, inchoate crimes; parties, general principles, and constitutional protection of accused persons.
Evidence : Presentation of evidence, relevancy and reasons for excluding relevant evidence, privileges and other policy exclusions, writings, recordings, and photographs, and hearsay and circumstances of its admissibility.
Family Law : Getting married, being married, separation, divorce, dissolution, and annulment, child custody, rights of unmarried cohabitants, parent, child, and state, adoption, and alternatives to adoption.
Real Property : Ownership of real property, rights in real property, real estate contracts, mortgages/security devices, and titles.
Secured Transactions : Assume articles 1 and 9 of Uniform Commercial Code are adopted and in effect. General UCC principles, applicability, and definitions, validity of security agreements and rights of parties, rights of third parties, default.
Torts : Intentional torts, negligence, strict liability and products liability, and other torts.
Trusts and Decendents’ Estates : Intestate succession, wills, family protection, living wills and durable healthcare powers, and trusts and future interests.
What’s the best way to study for the UBE?
BarMax UBE offers comprehensive prep for the Uniform Bar Exam for only $2,495.
The course comes with instant and lifetime access as well as a pass guarantee.
In addition to on-demand audio lectures by legendary law professors, BarMax UBE offers condense black-letter law outlines, flashcards, and the largest banks of real MBE, MEE and MPT questions on the market.
BarMax UBE also includes a detailed course calendar to guide you as you prep.
And while BarMax is a remote learning process, this does not mean you will be alone. You will have access to chat, email and message boards for content-related questions as well as personalized writing revisions by former bar exam graders.
What are the Uniform Bar Exam dates?
The UBE is administered twice a year over two days, with the MBE portion given on the last Wednesday of February and July and the MEE and MPT given on the Tuesday prior to that.
How is the UBE scored?
The NCBE scores the MBE component of the UBE. Jurisdictions grade the MEE and MPT components.
The MEE and MPT scores are scaled to the MBE and UBE total scores are calculated by the NCBE.
The MBE is weighted 50%, the MEE 30%, and the MPT 20%.
UBE total scores are reported on a 400-point scale.
Jurisdictions set their own minimum passing scores for the UBE:
|Minimum Passing UBE Score*||Jurisdiction|
|260||Alabama, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota|
|266||Connecticut, District of Columbia, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Virgin Islands|
|270||Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming|
What’s the Uniform Bar Exam format?
The UBE consists of three sections: the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT).
The format is as follows:
Tuesday AM: 6 30-minute Multistate Essay Questions
Tuesday PM: 2 90-minute Multistate Performance Tests
Wednesday AM: 100 MBE Questions (3 hours)
Wednesday PM: 100 MBE Questions (3 hours)
What’s the difference between the UBE and the MBE?
The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) is a six-hour, 200-question multiple-choice examination developed by NCBE and administered by user jurisdictions as part of the bar examination on the last Wednesday in February and the last Wednesday in July of each year.
The MBE is a component of the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). Jurisdictions that administer the UBE weight the MBE component 50%.
I downloaded the UBE full version and used it to study for the exam on my own for several weeks. AND I PASSED! And I didn’t just pass; I passed with plenty of room to spare.
Adam Spees, William Mitchell College of Law
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