Passing the Bar

Once a student begins law school, he/she will be bombarded with news about the bar exam, study coursees for the exam, and stories of those who are studying for the test. It is a huge step for becoming a lawyer, so prepare carefully.

The American Bar Association prepares the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), required by most states. It lasts six hours and consists of 200 questions. The test is given in three hour segments, with 100 questions each for both a morning and an afternoon session.

The questions on the bar exam should be answered with fundamental legal principles, not local case or statutory law. All questions are multiple choice. Scores are based on correct answers, so you should answer all questions as time permits.

Another section of the exam that you might be required to take is the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE). This test is a group of 30-minute essay questions. Nine are prepared and each jurisdiction chooses at least six for the test takers to complete.

You must take and pass the bar exam in the state where you intend to practice. Check the website of the state bar association or of the American Bar Association for details about requirements and testing places.

Here are some ideas for increasing your chance of passing the bar exam:

    Many students take a bar examination preparation course. It is a good idea, but be aware that the prep course and the examination are expensive, often up to $4,000.

    Plan and instigate a study program well before you will be taking the exam.

    Warn family and friends that you will be studying and not available for social occasions in the time before your exam.

    Practice the basic analytical skills you have learned in law school, such as issue spotting, breaking rules into elements, using facts and providing arguments.

    Use the format of “issues, rules, analysis, conclusion,” for both the MBE and the MEE.

    Study books, papers, notes from your classes. Concentrate on the sections that trouble you the most.

    Have all of the items needed for the exam ready the night before and then get a good night’s sleep.

    At the exam, answer each question only after you have read it carefully.

    Skip questions you can’t answer right away and come back to them later.

    If you have time at the end of the section, review your answers.

Last Updated: 05/23/2014

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