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South Dakota Bar Exam Information


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

To become a lawyer in South Dakota, one must hold a degree from an accredited four-year university, make a passing score on the LSAT exam and complete an accredited law school program, and finally, complete the BAR exam with a 135 on the MBE and an 85 on the MPRE

The South Dakota Bar Exam is a two-day exam consisting of the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), one Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), and the Indian Law Essay. The first day of the exam is the essay portion of the test, which consists of five essay questions on the MEE and then the Indian law essay in the morning. The second day consists of a 200 question, multiple-choice Multistate Bar Examination which is split into two, three hour segments.

The South Dakota Bar Exam weights the exam very uniquely. Each section like the MBE, the MEE/Indian Essay, and the MPT require separate scores to pass. The MBE you need a 135, the MEE/Indian Essay requires a 75%, and the MPRE requires an 85 to pass the South Dakota Bar exam.

The best way to prepare for the BAR exam in South Dakota is through studying material on the most common law subjects as well as the pertinent Indian history. For the South Dakota Bar Exam specifically, the essay questions are likely to cover agency, basic principles of Indian Law, real property, and other topics(see below). The MBE questions include Contracts, Evidence, and Criminal/Constitutional law and other various topics. Studying for the South Dakota Bar exam is easily accomplished by taking practice tests and researching helpful study tips. Test Max prep offers some of the best study practice tests around.

The South Dakota Bar Exam occurs twice a year, held at different locations. You can contact the South Dakota Board of Examiners for more information about application requirements, test day expectations, and dates.

SD Bar Exam Grading & Scoring Process

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NCBE scores the MBE component of the exam.

A passing score of 135 is required in South Dakota.

  • MBE: n/a
  • MEE/Indian Essay: n/a
  • MPT: n/a

The South Dakota bar exam includes both the MBE and a written component that consists of 1 locally developed essay question, 5 MEEs, and 2 MPTs. There is a separate minimum passing standard on each component. To pass the exam, an applicant must achieve a score of 135 or greater on the MBE and an average score of 75% on the written component.

Required MPRE Score: 85

Results

Results for the February exam are typically released in late-March.

Results for the July exam are typically released in late-September.

SD Bar Exam Reciprocity

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MBE Score Transfer

South Dakota does accept MBE scores transferred from other jurisdictions if taken within two years prior to the next scheduled examination, if the scaled score is a 135 or above and if the applicant passed the entire bar exam in the other jurisdiction.

Admission on Motion

South Dakota does allow for admission on motion.

Application for Admission on Motion fee: $450.00

What is the SD Bar Exam Schedule Like?

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

Day AM PM
Tue MEE/Indian law essay (3 hours) MPT (3 hours)
Wed 100 MBE Questions (3 hours) 100 MBE Questions (3 hours)

What Subjects Are Tested On The SD Bar Exam?

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MBE Subjects

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

Essay Subjects

  • Business Associations
  • Civil Procedure
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law & Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Family Law
  • Real Property
  • Torts
  • Trusts
  • Wills

Indian Law Essay Subjects

  • Basic Principles of Federal Indian Law
  • Civil & Criminal Jurisdiction
  • Indian Civil Rights Act
  • Indian Child Welfare Act
  • Indian Gaming Regulatory Act

2023 Filing Deadlines & Fees

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When is the SD Bar Exam in 2023?

July 26-27, 2022 February 21-22, 2023 July 25-26, 2023
Application Deadline: May 1, 2022 Nov 1, 2022 TDB

How Much Does the SD Bar Exam Cost?

Regular Application fee: $450
Laptop Computer fee: $100

How do I Contact the SD Bar?

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Mailing Address:
Board of Bar Examiners
500 E. Capitol
Pierre, SD 57501

http://ujs.sd.gov
info@ncble.org
Phone: 605-773-4898

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Common Questions About the UBE.

What is the Uniform Bar Exam?

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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?

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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:

UBE Jurisdictions
Maximum Age of Transferred UBE Score* Jurisdiction
2 years Missouri, North Dakota
2 years/5 years Iowa, Utah
25 months Alabama
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
37 months Idaho
40 months Washington
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?

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What States Accept the UBE

These are the UBE jurisdictions:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan (February 2023)
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming
  • Virgin Islands

While technically not UBE jurisdictions, the following jurisdictions either administer or substantially administer the UBE:

  • Hawaii
  • Mississippi
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

Are there states that are considering the UBE?

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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?

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Multistate Bar Exam Subjects:

  • Civil Procedure (Civ Pro)
  • Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure (Crimes)
  • Torts
  • Real Property
  • Contracts
  • Constitutional Law (Con Law)
  • Evidence

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?

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BarMax UBE offers comprehensive prep for the Uniform Bar Exam for only $1,895.

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.

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What are the Uniform Bar Exam dates?

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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?

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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:

UBE Minimum Passing Scores
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
272 Idaho
273 Arizona
274 Oregon
276 Colorado, Maine
280 Alaska

What’s the Uniform Bar Exam format?

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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?

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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%.