How Long Is the Bar Exam?
One of the more common, basic questions we see people wondering about is “How long is the bar exam?” All jurisdictions do not treat the bar exam equally, so there is not one perfect answer that will apply to everyone. But in this post, we offer some general information on the length of the bar exam that you could be taking!
How Long Is the Bar Exam?
Number of Days
When people wonder how long is the bar exam, the main thing they want to know is how many days it spans. Nearly every jurisdiction’s bar exam is two days long – the last Wednesday in the months of February and July, plus then the day before. There are still a few states that have three-day-long bar exams (Delaware, Nevada, Ohio, and Texas, although Ohio and Texas will be switching to the two-day UBE in 2020 and 2021 respectively). The third day is typically a half-day of testing. Full days of the exam generally involve about six hours of testing, plus a break for lunch.
Number of Sections
In asking how long is the bar exam, another consideration is how many different components there are. Over 30 jurisdictions currently offer the Uniform Bar Exam, which is composed of three sections: an essay portion (the Multistate Essay Exam, or MEE), a performance test portion (the Multistate Performance Test, or MPT), and a multiple-choice portion (the Multistate Bar Examination, or MBE).
For the jurisdictions that do not offer the UBE, those bar exams are composed of some combination of the UBE sections and state-crafted exams. For example, Michigan’s bar exam consists of the MBE plus Michigan-specific essays and no performance test. Indiana’s exam consists of the MBE, MPT, and Indiana-specific essays. California’s bar exam consists of the MBE and California-specific essays and performance tests. Only Louisiana and Puerto Rico do not administer the MBE. Additionally, many UBE states will also require some sort of state-specific course to be completed before you can be admitted. That is typically something that is done online on your own time, separate from the actual bar exam.
To learn more about the Uniform Bar Exam in particular, be sure to check out this post on the format of the UBE!
Length of Sections
Going into even more detail on the issue of how long is the bar exam, future takers may wonder how long each portion of the exam is. This information is important so that you can be sure to build up your stamina. The MBE is a full-day exam, consisting of 100 questions spanning three hours in the morning and another 100 questions and 3 hours in the afternoon. The MEE is a three-hour exam consisting of six essay questions. The MPT is another three hours with two performance tests to complete. The state-specific portions will vary in length and number of questions/performance tests.
The best answer to the question “How long is the bar exam?” is going to be to check with your specific jurisdiction! Your state’s bar admission website will have all of the information you need to determine the specifics of the bar exam you will be taking!
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