State-Specific Bar Exam Information

Bar Exam Statistics

More than 80,000 people take the bar exam each year in the US. About 51 percent of this total, however, is made up of examinees in just five states – New York, California, New Jersey, Florida and Texas.

If you plan on taking the bar exam in one of these five jurisdictions, you’re in luck! We at AdaptiBar compiled a detailed list of state-specific Bar Exam information, so you can feel even more prepared in the weeks leading up to the bar exam.


What You Need to Know:

The New York Bar Exam is a two-day exam made up of a state-specific section and the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE). The New York portion is tested on the first day and includes five essay questions, 50 multiple-choice questions written by the State Board and one Multistate Performance Test (MPT). The MBE is taken on day two, and your overall score will be weighted according to the following: 40 percent essays, 10 percent MPT, 10 percent New York multiple-choice and 40 percent MBE.

Are you taking the February 2015 Exam?

If you’re taking the bar exam in February 2015 or later, ensure that you incorporate Administrative Law into your studying, as it was just added to the list of subjects that will appear on the New York part of the exam. In addition, Federal Civil Practice and Procedure has been removed as a subject on this section and will now only appear on the MBE. As of July 2014, UCC Article 3 – Negotiable Instruments is no longer tested on the state-specific portion of the exam.

Did you complete your pro bono work?

According to the New York State Bar website, “all candidates seeking admission after January 1, 2015, with the exception of admission on motion candidates, have to file documentation showing they’ve completed 50 hours of pro bono work” before they are eligible to submit their Application for Admission. Tasks can range from helping a low-income person complete court forms to participating in a community legal education project, so long as the action is law-related. There is no restriction on the location of your service.

Helpful Links:

The Official New York State Board Website
Past Exam Essays and Sample Answers
Fulfilling the Pro Bono Requirement
NEW! Bar Exam Content Outline


What You Need to Know:

The California Bar Exam contains two sections, written and multiple-choice. The first section includes two three-hour performance tests and six one-hour essay questions on California law. The multiple-choice section is the MBE.The MBE makes up 35 percent of your score, the remaining 65 percent comes from the written portion. More specifically, while the essays are weighted at 39 percent of your score, the performance tests are worth 26 percent. Both written and MBE scores are converted to a 2,000 point scale and then weighted accordingly.  Overall, 1,440 out of 2,000 possible scaled points are needed to pass.

Didn’t take the Baby Bar?

If you attended an out-of-state law school, never took the First-Year Law Students’ Examination (FYLSE), also known as the Baby Bar, and are now preparing for the California Bar Exam, see whether your institution was accredited by the American Bar Association or approved by the Committee at the time you enrolled. If it was, you are eligible to file for exemption from the Baby Bar. If not, you must first register and pass the FYLSE before taking the full California Bar Exam.However, if you are an out-of-state attorney and have been practicing law for at least four years, chances are that you can take the Attorneys’ Exam in place of the General Bar Exam and therefore are not required to take the Baby Bar.

Helpful Links:

The Official State Bar of California Website
Past Questions, Essays, and Performance Test Examples
List of ABA-accredited Law Schools
Attorneys’ Exam Qualifications


What You Need to Know:

Both sections of the New Jersey Bar Exam, written and multiple-choice, are weighted equally at 50 percent. The MBE is tested on day one while day two consists of seven 45-minute essay questions written by the New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners.  According to the State Bar website, the content of the essay questions will include all seven MBE subjects and may be interrelated with the following topics: agency, conflicts of law, corporations, equity, family law, partnership, Uniform Commercial Code Articles 2 (Sales), 3 (Commercial Paper), 9 (Secured Transactions), wills, trusts, estates, zoning and planning, and disciplinary rules. No performance test is administered.

A student must score at or above a scaled 272.0 on the bar exam in order to pass and below a 259.9 to fail. Any score between a 260.0 and 272.9 will be re-graded to ensure accuracy.

Interested in practicing law internationally?

New Jersey recently became a “recognized jurisdiction” according to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) of England and Wales. As a result, attorneys within the New Jersey jurisdiction are automatically eligible to apply for Registered Foreign Lawyer (RFL) Certification to practice law in these two countries.

Helpful links:

The Official New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners Website
Become an RFL
Sample Essay Questions and Answers


What You Need to Know:

Day one of the Florida Bar Exam consists of three state-law essays and 100 multiple-choice questions. Both parts are three hours long and are comprised of six segments. One segment is guaranteed to cover the Florida Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure and the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration 2.330, 2.420, 2.505, and 2.515. The remaining segments will be selected from the following subjects: Florida Constitutional Law, Federal Constitutional Law, Trusts, Business Entities, Real Property, Evidence, Torts, Will and Administration of Estates, Criminal Law, Constitutional Criminal Procedure, Juvenile Delinquency, Contracts, Articles 3 and 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, Family Law and Dependency, Chapter 4 and 5 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, and Professionalism. In order to pass this section, an average essay score of 45 out of 100 and a minimum of 55 percent accuracy on the multiple-choice questions is needed.The second day of the bar exam is dedicated to the MBE, and at least 65 percent of the questions, or 124 out of 190, must be answered correctly in order to pass. Both the Florida-specific and MBE portions of the exam are equally weighted at 50 percent of the total score. Overall, an examinee must obtain a scaled score of 136 out of 200 to pass the bar exam.Have you booked your hotel yet?

The Florida Bar Exam is only administered in Tampa at the Tampa Convention Center, so start making travel arrangements well in advance.

Helpful links:

The Official Florida Board of Bar Examiners Website
List of Hotels within 10 Miles of Testing Center
Sample Essay and Multiple-Choice Questions and Answers


What You Need to Know:

The Texas Bar Exam entails three hours of testing for three consecutive days. The first day is allotted for one Multistate Performance Test and 40 short-answer questions on Texas Criminal Procedure as well as Civil Procedure and Evidence. Exactly 20 questions will appear from each subject. The MBE is then taken on the second day, while 12 state essays are taken on the third. Each essay will cover one or more of the following subjects: Uniform Commercial Code, business associations, family law, wills and administration, real property, trust and guardianship, and consumer law.

Overall, the exam is weighted by the following: 40 percent MBE, 40 percent Texas essays, 10 percent Procedure and Evidence short answers, and 10 percent MPT. A scaled score of 675 out of 1,000 is needed to pass.

Have you heard of the daily pledges?

At the end of each day’s exam, and as a part of the state’s Misconduct Policy, you will be required to hand write a daily statement that ensures that you have not cheated or witnessed any other bar examinees cheating on the exam, as written below:

“I have read and understand the Texas Bar Exam Misconduct Policy and have not violated it, nor am I aware of anyone else having done so. I have not given or received aid on the Texas Bar Exam, nor am I aware of anyone else having done so.”

Writing the pledge will not interfere with the amount of time you are given to complete the bar exam. However, if you finish the exam before the 15-minute warning, you may handwrite it on your answer sheet before leaving the testing area. If you cannot honestly write the pledge, you must contact your site administrator and explain to him or her the circumstances that prevent you from writing it. Also, do not sign your name to any part of the pledge.

Helpful links:

The Official Texas Board of Law Examiners Website
Detailed Bar Exam Instructions and Pledge Information

Written by The AdaptiBar Team
AdaptiBar is the only Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) bar prep provider to combine 100 percent of the licensed questions from the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) with patented adaptive technology that tracks performance and targets weaknesses, yielding the most efficient and personalized study experience available. The program is designed for each individual to customize their learning and refine internal timing by simulating real-life conditions of the bar exam. Since 2003, AdaptiBar’s dedicated team of lawyers, technology experts, and customer service specialists have provided thousands of law students and lawyers in every jurisdiction in the United States, and more than 50 countries, with the tools and confidence they need to pass the MBE.

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