Bar Exam

General Information

In the United States, each state has its own requirements for practicing law. Some states strictly require a Juris Doctor (JD) in order to practice, while others permit lawyers with professional law degrees earned in foreign countries to practice law under certain circumstances. Adding an LL.M. in U.S. Laws will help lawyers trained outside the United States be better prepared for the rigors of the state bar examination. You should always directly consult the state where you want to practice.

It is your responsibility to contact the board of bar examiners in the jurisdiction where you intend to practice in order to obtain specific information about the eligibility, exam format, fees, deadlines and applications. The National Conference of Bar Examiners website has links to all 50-state board of bar examiners, including D.C., Guam, Palau, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. To learn more, visit www.ncbex.org and, on the left-hand margin, click on “Bar Admission Offices.”

Bar Exam Format

Most jurisdictions have adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), which tests uniform principles of law. Lasting two to three days, the UBE consists of: 1. Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), 2. Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and 3. Multistate Bar Exam (MBE). The MEE and MPT are essay exams; the MBE is a multiple-choice test. In addition, each jurisdiction can test applicants with exams regarding specific state law subjects; for example: in Missouri, it’s the Missouri Educational Component Test (MECT).

Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)

Jurisdictions also require the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). The MPRE is a multiple-choice exam on the rules of professional responsibility. It’s given three times a year (March, August and November) and is typically taken while a law student. Check with the board of bar examiners about their rules, including any expiration date on your score, when signing up to the take the MPRE. (Note: Illinois requires you earn the lesser of 60 hours or 2/3 of the credits required for a J.D. to take this exam.)

Bar Exam Review Courses*

  • Bar/Bri
  • Kaplan/PMBR
  • Themis
  • AdaptiBar
  • AmeriBar

*Note: This list is provided for informational purposes only. Washington University School of Law does not endorse any bar review programs or products.

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