South Dakota Bar Exam Overview
The South Dakota Bar Examination is a two day exam consisting of the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), an essay question on Indian law, the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE). The bar exam is offered twice yearly, once in February and once in July.
Multistate Essay Exam (MEE)
The Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) is developed by NCBE & consists of five essay 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.
Areas of law that may be covered on the essay portion include the following: Business Associations (Agency & Partnership, Corporations, & Limited Liability Companies), Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Family Law, Real Property, Torts, Trusts & Estates (Decendents' Estates, Trusts & Future Interests), & UCC (Secured Transactions). Some questions may include issues in more than one area of law. The particular areas covered vary from exam to exam.
Indian Law Essay
Indian law includes basic principles of federal Indian law, including but not limited to civil and criminal jurisdiction, the Indian Civil Rights Act, the Indian Child Welfare Act, and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. It does not include tribal or customary laws. Indian Law is tested by one essay question after the MEE.
Multistate Performance Test (MPT)
The Multistate Performance Test (MPT) is developed by NCBE and consists of two 90-minute items administered in the morning session of the first day of the bar exam.
The MPT is designed to examine fundamental lawyering skills such as problem solving, legal analysis and reasoning, factual analysis, communications, organization and management of a legal task, and recognizing ethical dilemmas.
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 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.
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
Board of Bar Examiners
500 E. Capitol
Pierre, SD 57501
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)|
- 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
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
Filing Deadlines & Fees
Regular Filing: April 1, 2019
Regular Application fee: $300.00
Attorney Application fee: $300.00
Laptop Computer fee: $100.00
BarMax SD Course Structure & Features
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Enrollment in the course also includes 10 personalized writing critiques (performance tests and/or essays). BarMax has former state 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.
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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
- Maryland (July 2019)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Ohio (July 2020)
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- Texas (February 2021)
- West Virginia
- Virgin Islands
While technically not UBE jurisdictions, the following jurisdictions either administer or substantially administer the UBE:
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
Are there states that are considering the UBE?
Every year more and more states are adopting the UBE.
In July 2018, the Massachusetts bar exam will administer its first Uniform Bar Exam. In February 2019, North Carolina bar exam and Tennessee bar exam will become UBE jurisdictions. The Maryland bar exam has also recently adopted the UBE and could administer its first Uniform Bar Exam as early as July 2019.
Illinois, Texas, California and Florida are the largest legal markets still administering state-specific tests. While Illinois, Texas and Florida have 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 $1,499.99.
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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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