How Much Does The Bar Exam Cost? - JD Advising
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How Much Does The Bar Exam Cost?

How Much Does The Bar Exam Cost?

After three years of hard work and study, you’re ready to take the bar exam. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean an end to paying! Between registration fees, bar prep, and other costs that might slip your mind, you’ll pay a good amount of money to take the bar exam. So, roughly, how much does the bar exam cost?

How Much Does The Bar Exam Cost?

Bar Exam Cost #1: Registration Fees

Every state charges something to register for the bar exam. Some states even charge to register as a law student! Luckily, this is not the case for most states. Generally, you can expect to pay somewhere between $100 and $1300 to register for the bar exam, depending on your state! These fees are paid directly to your state’s Board of Law Examiners (or its equivalent).

If you’ve failed the bar exam before, and are re-registering, the fee is sometimes, though not always, a little lower. For example, in Michigan, a first-time bar exam taker pays about $625 for the exam. If they fail and need to take it again, the fee drops to $300. If you are already a licensed attorney and are taking the bar to become licensed in another state, you might actually pay MORE than a first-time, unlicensed taker. In the end, it really depends on what state you sit for the exam in. Check with your state’s governing body to see what the fees are before signing up.

Bar Exam Cost #2: Bar Review Course

Another thing that adds to bar exam cost is a review course. There are a ton of different options out there.   Generally, a prep course will run you from several hundred to several thousand dollars. If you have a position lined up, it’s not a bad idea to ask your boss or HR department if they help defray the cost of bar exam preparation. Even if they cannot, a good bar prep course is a lot like an investment in the future. You might pay a little more for it, but it also might mean that you do not need to sit for the bar exam again. It also might mean not losing a job offer if you fail. If you are interested in JD Advising’s bar exam services, please follow this link!

Bar Exam Cost #3: Exam Software

If you want to type your bar exam essays, this is another thing that adds to bar exam cost. Although it does hugely add to the convenience of your exam day, this software generally isn’t cheap. It can run into the hundreds of dollars. We have found that most students can expect to pay at least $200 for exam software.

Bar Exam Cost #4: Bar Exam Accommodations

A hidden bar exam cost that does not get much attention is hotel and food for when you sit for the exam. If you do not live near the testing center, you ‘ll need to make hotel reservations for two nights. You will also need to buy yourself food while there. And maybe gas or a plane ticket to get there. Many students do not factor this into their bar exam cost. Still, this can easily add a couple of hundred dollars or more to your bar exam tab by itself.

Bar Exam Cost #5: Living Expenses/Time Off Work

Lost wages might be a concern as well, and should be counted towards bar exam cost. If you are unable to take paid leave, or have a firm that is willing to pay to study, then you might have to make other arrangements for income for the time you take off.

You also will have living expenses while you are studying — rent, food, gas for your car, phone bill, and additional obligations.

Bar Exam Cost #6: Bar-related expenses

Besides registration fees, you may need to pay for character and fitness to investigate you, criminal history records, driving records, notary fees, MPRE registration and reporting fees, etc. Check with your state to find out exactly what you need to do.

Overall, much like law school, taking the bar exam is an expensive endeavor! Make sure to start planning for it early, and to keep an eye out for unanticipated costs!

Looking for help paying for bar prep? Here, we tell you how to ask your firm to pay for some or all of bar prep!

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