The Bar Exam & MBE


The Bar Exam is an examination administered in each state to assess whether or not a candidate is competent to practice law in that jurisdiction. The format for each state’s bar exam is different, but usually is broken into two parts that are taken on two separate days. In this two-part format, the first part is the Multistate Bar Examination, or the MBE. The MBE is written by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and is static throughout each jurisdiction. Every jurisdiction except Louisiana incorporates the MBE in its bar exam. The MBE is administered twice annually- once on the last Wednesday in February and again on the last Wednesday in July.

The second portion of the Bar Exam is usually “state specific,” where each state tests candidates on unique aspects of its laws. The state specific portion of the bar examination is usually administered in essay format.

The third portion of the Bar Exam is the Multistate Performance Test, or the MPT. The MPT is designed to test the examinee’s ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation. The MPT evaluates the ability to complete a task that a beginning lawyer should be able to accomplish. Applicants should contact the bar admissions agency in their jurisdiction to determine whether the MPT is administered as part of the jurisdiction’s bar examination. Not every jurisdiction requires the MPT.


AdaptiBar prepares students for the MBE portion of the bar examination only. During the MBE, candidates have six hours to complete 200 objective, multiple choice questions. The MBE focuses on 7 areas of law: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Evidence, Real Property and Torts. The MBE occurs on one day and is divided into two 3-hour parts, each consisting of 100 questions.

When answering MBE questions, students apply fundamental legal principles instead of local case or statutory law. During the MBE, students analyze fact situations or act as advocates. Students choose only one correct answer - the best answer - from the four available choices.