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The Iowa Bar Examination is a two-day exam consisting of the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), and the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE). The bar exam is offered twice yearly, once in February and once in July. A score of 264 is required to pass.
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 user 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 segments. It is administered by the relevant jurisdictions 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.
Iowa does not have a jurisdiction-specific component on its exam.
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 266 is required in Iowa.
- MBE: 50%
- MEE: 30%
- MPT: 20%
Iowa 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 in late May, while results for the July exam are typically released in April.
Iowa Bar Reciprocity
There are a number of ways by which a person who passed the bar in another jurisdiction can be admitted to the Iowa Bar.
Iowa allows for admission by transfer of a UBE score from another jurisdiction. The applicant must have scored at least a 266. The UBE score must be from a UBE administered within two years immediately preceding the transfer application filing date. Alternatively, it will be accepted up to five years after the UBE administration if you have been regularly engaged in the practice of law for at least two of the last three years immediately preceding the transfer application.
Admission on Motion
Iowa offers admission without examination (admission on motion) for attorneys licensed in another state or the District of Columbia who can demonstrate a prolonged period of the actual practice of law without significant character or fitness problems. The applicant must: (1) have been admitted to another state of the United States or District of Columbia, (2) have practiced law five full years while licensed within the seven years immediately preceding the date of the application and still hold a law license, (3) be of good moral character, and (4) file a certificate of admission, a certificate of regular practice, a certificate of good moral character, and a completed fingerprint card with the Office of Professional Regulation.
Iowa Bar Contact Information
Iowa Board of Law Examiners
Office of Professional Regulation
Iowa Judicial Branch Building
1111 East Court Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319
When is the Iowa Bar Exam in 2021?
|July 27-28, 2021||February 22-23, 2022|
|Timely Filing:||April 1, 2021||November 1, 2021|
*The July 2021 exam will be held remotely
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||2 performance test (3 hours)||6 essays on any subject (3 hours)|
|Wed||100 MBE questions (3 hours)||100 MBE questions (3 hours)|
- Civil procedure
- Constitutional law
- Criminal law & procedure
- Real property
- Business Associations
- Civil Procedure
- Conflict of Laws
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Law & Procedure
- Family Law
- Real Property
- Wills (Decedents' Estates)Filing Deadlines & Fees
Filing Deadline: April 1, 2021
Repeater Deadline: 30 Days after Results or April 1, 2021 (whichever is later)
Exam fee: $800
Repeater Exam Fee: $550
Attorney Exam fee: $525
Laptop Computer fee: $122
Filing Deadline: November 1, 2021
Repeater Deadline: 30 Days after Results or November 1, 2021 (whichever is later)
Exam fee: $800
Repeater Exam Fee: $550
Attorney Exam fee: $525
Laptop Computer fee: $122
BarMax IA Course Structure & Features
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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.
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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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