Structure of the Illinois Bar Exam
The Illinois Bar Exam is administered on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of each February and July and consists of three components: an essay component, a multiple-choice component, and a performance component. Three of the nine essay questions are drafted by the Illinois bar examiners and comprise the Illinois Essay Exam (IEE). The remaining six essay questions are drafted by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and comprise the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE). The multiple-choice component consists of 200 questions drafted by the NCBE and is called the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE). The performance component is also drafted by the NCBE and is known as the Multistate Performance Test (MPT).
The 24 subjects tested on the Illinois Bar Exam are listed in Illinois Supreme Court Rule 704(b). They include all DePaul first-year subjects plus a number of core electives.
The Illinois Bar Exam is a two-day exam. The first day consists of:
- One 90-minute Multistate Performance Test (MPT)
- Six 30-minute Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) questions drawn from the following subjects:
Federal Jurisdiction and Procedure
Federal Civil Procedure
Trusts and Future Interests
Wills and Estates
All MBE subjects (listed below)
- Administrative Law
- Commercial Paper
- Conflict of Laws
- Family Law
- Three 30-minute Illinois Essay Exam (IEE) questions, which may include any of the MEE subjects, as well as Illinois Civil Procedure, Equity, Personal Property, Suretyship, Administrative Law and Federal Taxation.
Please note that any MEE or IEE essay question can test more than one subject.
The second day of the exam consists entirely of the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), which is comprised of 200 multiple-choice questions drafted by the NCBE. All of the following subjects are tested:
- Federal Civil Procedure
- Federal Constitutional Law
- Criminal Law/Procedure
- Real Property
A number of these subjects are covered in the following core electives offered at the College of Law:
Illinois Bar Exam Results
The Board of Admissions generally releases the February bar exam results in early April and the July results in early October.
The most recent Illinois Bar Exam scoring information can be found here. Please note that the Board of Admissions can change how scores are calculated and the cut-score (passing score) after each test administration. Be sure to check the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar website prior to the exam date for the most up-to-date exam information. Specific exam instructions are released and posted on the Board’s website approximately two weeks before each exam.
Uniform Bar Exam
The Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) is presently administered in over 25 states and the District of Columbia. It is coordinated by the NCBE and is comprised of the MEE, MBE and MPT. It is uniformly administered, graded and scored by user jurisdictions and results in a portable score that can be transferred to other UBE jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction, however, can set its own minimum score for passing, such that passing scores can vary between UBE states. Illinois is not presently a UBE state.
Commercial Bar Preparation Courses
Commercial bar preparation courses specialize in helping students review the subjects already taken in law school and to learn the bar-tested subjects not taken. Students are provided course materials and a study plan to help them prepare for the bar exam.
Bar preparation courses vary in price, scope and format. Students should thoroughly investigate the scope and quality of materials, course success rate and course schedule before selecting a course that best suits their learning needs. The Financial Aid Office also provides a Bar Study Expenses FAQ sheet, which can be accessed here.
The links to several of the bar preparation courses are provided below as a convenience only. The list is not comprehensive and does not constitute any type of endorsement by DePaul College of Law of any particular program or product.
The National Conference of Bar Examiners also provides MPRE, MBE and MEE study aids on its website.
Minority Legal Education Resources (MLER)
Established in 1977, Minority Legal Education Resources (MLER) is a non-profit bar preparation organization dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal profession through its Bar Process Management Program. MLER supplements commercial bar review courses with weekly practice essay questions and personalized feedback. There are clinics on essay writing, the MPT and the MBE. MLER adopts a holistic approach to bar preparation by helping students develop analytical and writing skills, as well as helping them to study effectively, manage stress, and balance bar studies with competing life demands. More information on MLER can be found at www.mler.org. DePaul is proud to host MLER, its new home beginning Summer 2017.