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Pennsylvania Bar Exam Information

Get Detailed Information About The Pennsylvania Bar Exam Including Schedules, Grading, Reciprocity, Fees, Common Questions & More.

Essay Examination
Performance Test
Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)

Essay Examination

The Essay Examination consists of six essays questions. Applicants are expected to demostrate their knowledge of Pennsylvania law (where applicable) when answering the essay portion of the bar examination. Please note that the value of an essay answer depends not so much upon the correctness of the conclusion(s), as upon the recognition of issues and the quality of the discussion that evidences an ability to apply the law to the facts presented, and to reason in a logical manner in arriving at a conclusion.

Areas of law that may be covered on the essay portion include the following: Business Organizations (including corporations, limited liability companies, adn professional corporations), Civil Procedure (Pennsylvania and federal), Conflict of Laws, Contracts, Criminal Law (including related Pennsylvania and federal consitutional issues, and DUI), Employment Discrimination (limited to Title VII, ADA, and ADEA), Evidence (Pennsylvania and federal), Family Law, Federal Constitutional Law, Federal Income Taxes (personal only and limited to taxable and non-taxable income, deductions, proprietorships, and capital transactions), Professional Responsibility, Real Property. Torts, U.C.C., Art II - Sales, Wills, Trusts, and Decedents' Estates (including related fiduciary responsibilities).

Each essay question will usually include more than one subjects area, however the subjects will not necessarily be tested in a particular order or appear in the same question number from one essay to the next.

Performance Test

One Performance Test (PT) question, developed by the Board, may be used in lieu of a Multistate Performance Test question as a component of the essay portion of the bar exam.

The Performance Test (PT) is intended to test an applicant's ability to use basic skills that a lawyer should possess to perform a task that a newly admitted attorney would be expected to perform.

Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)

The MBE, which is administered on Wednesday, is developed and graded by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (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.


NCBE scores the MBE component of the UBE. Pennsylvania grades the essay and PT component.

Pennsylvania total scores are reported on a 400-point scale and a passing score of 272 is required in Pennsylvania.

  • MBE: 45%
  • Essays and PT: 55%

Required MPRE Score: 75


Results for the February exam are typically released in mid-April.

Results for the July exam are typically released in mid-October.


The following states or jurisdictions HAVE reciprocity with Pennsylvania

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washinton, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

The following states or jurisdictions DO NOT HAVE reciprocity with Pennsylvania

California, Delaware, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Nevada, Virgin Islands

MBE Transfer

Pennsylvania does not allow for the transfer of MBE scores from another jurisdiction.

Admission on Motion

Pennsylvania allows for admission on motion if the applicant meets the requirements of Rule 204.

Contact Information

Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners
601 Commonwealth Ave., Suite 3600
P.O. Box 62535
Harrisburg, PA 17106
Phone: 717-231-3350


The Pennsylvania Bar Exam is a 2-day exam administered twice a year.

Tue One PT (90-min) and Two Essays (90-min) Four Essays (3 hours)
Wed 100 MBE Questions (3 hours) 100 MBE Questions (3 hours)

Subjects Tested

MBE Subjects

  • Civil Procedure
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law & Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Real Property
  • Torts

Essay Subjects

  • Business Organizations (including corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, and professional corporations)
  • Civil Procedure (Pennsylvania and federal)
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law (including related Pennsylvania and federal consitutional issues and DUI)
  • Employment Discrimination (limited to Title VII, ADA, and ADEA)
  • Evidence (Pennsylvania and federal)
  • Family Law
  • Federal Constituional Law
  • Federal Income Taxes (personal only and limited to taxable and non-taxable income, deductions, proprietorships, and capital transactions)
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Real Property
  • Torts
  • U.C.C., Art II - Sales
  • Wills, Trusts and Decendents' Estates (including related fiduciary responsibilities)
  • *Each essay question will usually include more than one subject area.

Filing Deadlines & Fees

Feb 2022

Timely Filing: Oct 30, 2019
First Late Filing: Nov 15, 2019
Second Late Filing: Nov 30, 2019
Final Filing: Dec 15, 2019
Exam fee: $650
Laptop Computer fee: $115

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