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The Bar Exam

The bar exam is a licensure test offered twice annually in February and July in all U.S. jurisdictions. Most law students take a bar exam shortly after graduation.

Most bar exams consist of a multiple-choice component, an essay component, and a performance component that is designed to test an examinee’s ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation. Most jurisdictions administer the bar exam over two days with the written components on the first day and the multiple-choice component on the second. The supreme court of each jurisdiction determines the subjects tested on its bar exam.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) drafts questions used on most bar exams across the country, but many jurisdictions draft some or all of their own questions. In addition, many jurisdictions have converted to the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). The NCBE’s Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admissions Requirements provides annually updated information on bar admission requirements for all U.S. jurisdictions.

Visit the NCBE Website