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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.

2020 Filing Deadlines & Fees

When is the SD Bar Exam in 2020?

Feb 25-26, 2020 July 28-29, 2020
Application Deadline: Nov 1, 2018 Ma7 1, 2020

How Much Does the SD Bar Exam Cost?

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

What is the SD Bar Exam Schedule Like?

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

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?

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

SD Bar Exam Grading & Scoring Process

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 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

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

How do I Contact the SD Bar?

Mailing Address:
Board of Bar Examiners
500 E. Capitol
Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: 605-773-4898

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