General Bar Exam Information
Bar exams are administered nationwide in February and July. Most law school graduates take the July exam following graduation. Bar admission requirements differ for each state, and as a result students are advised to visit the website of their state bar office for the most accurate information. Each state has established character, fitness and other qualifications for admission to the bar. We encourage you to determine what those qualifications are in the state(s) in which you intend to practice. For information on various exams and links to most state bar offices, visit the website for the National Conference of Bar Examiners (www.ncbex.org/bar-admissions/offices/). Most states require the MPRE, the MBE, and a moral character application.
First–year students who think they may practice in another state should contact the bar examiners in that state as soon as possible to determine the registration requirements.
The Multistate Professional Responsibility (MPRE) is required for admission to the bars of almost every jurisdiction. The MPRE is a two-hour multiple-choice exam. The exam is administered in March, August, and November in each jurisdiction. Registration and application forms are available online (www.ncbex.org/multistate-tests/mpre/).
California Bar Exam
If you are considering taking the bar in California, please familiarize yourself with the Cal Bar website, www.calbar.org. This is the ultimate authority on dates, fees, deadlines, and requirements for admission to the bar. The California Bar Exam consists of three days and is given every February and July. Most graduates take the July exam. The first two days of the exam consist respectively of one three-hour session of essays and one three-hour session of performance test on day one, and the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) multiple-choice test on day two. The third day is structured like the first day.
Register as a First-Year Student
First-year students who intend to sit for the California Bar should register with the California Bar as law students within the first 90 days of beginning law school. The First Year Registration Application is available from the Cal Bar website (www.calbar.org). Students must use their registration number on all subsequent correspondence with the bar. This registration does not register you for the bar exam.
Moral Character Application
Prior to admission to the bar, an applicant must complete the Moral Character application process. The California Bar takes a minimum of six months to process and approve Moral Character applications. The bar recommends that applicants file between eight and ten months before the exam. This application involves extensive preparation and time as information regarding school, employment, and residence going back to high school may be required. Failure to file your application in a timely manner will delay your admission to practice law.
Accommodations on the Bar Exam
Student applying for accommodations on the bar exam due to physical, mental, or chronic illness disabilities should make their requests well in advance. Receiving accommodations as an undergrad or law student does not guarantee accommodations on the bar exam. Please see the director of Student Services for further information.