» General Information - California Bar Exam

The California Bar Examination is administered twice each year, once in February and once in July. Most law school graduates take the exam in July. The exam is taken between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. over a two-day period. The exam consists of three parts: five one-hour essay questions, one 90-minute performance test, and the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE). The MBE is an objective, six-hour examination comprised of 200 multiple-choice questions covering Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law/Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Federal Civil Procedure, Real Property, and Torts. The MBE constitutes 50% of an applicant’s overall score. The essay and performance tests combine to make up the remaining 50% of an applicant’s overall score. The parts of the exam may not be taken separately. On Tuesday, the applicants answer three essay questions in the morning and two essay questions and the performance test in the afternoon. The MBE is administered on Wednesdays.

Applicants may be tested on any or all of the following subjects on the essay portion of the California State Bar Exam:

  • Business Associations (Agency, Partnership, & Corporations)
  • Community Property
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence - Federal Rules and California Evidence Code
  • Federal and California Civil Procedure
  • Professional Responsibility - ABA Rules and California Rules of Professional Conduct
  • Real Property
  • Remedies
  • Torts
  • Trusts
  • Wills and Succession

With regard to Wills and Succession, applicants must be familiar with the following portions of the California Probate Code and specific areas of law:

  • Sections 100-103—Effect of Death of Married Person on Community and Quasi Community Property
  • Sections 140-147, 150—Contractual Arrangements Relating to Rights at Death
  • Sections 220, 222-224—Simultaneous Death
  • Section 240—Distribution Among Heirs and Beneficiaries
  • Sections 6100, 6101, 6104, and 6105—General Provisions
  • Sections 6110-6113—Execution of Wills
  • Sections 6120, 6121, and 6123—Revocation and Revival
  • Sections 6400-6402—Interstate Succession
  • Former Sections 6560-6562, 6570-6573—Spouse and Child Omitted From Will (for decedents dying before January 1, 1998)
  • Sections 21610-21612—Omitted Spouses
  • Sections 21620-21623—Omitted Children

As concerns the subject of Contracts, applicants should be familiar with the following sections of the Uniform Commercial Code: All of Article 1, all of Article 2, and that portion of Article 9 relating to Fixtures.

You must have a valid social security number to register to take the bar examination in California. If you do not have a social security number, you should apply for one immediately.

Also, you must register as a law student before you may apply to take the bar examination or submit your moral character application. If you have not registered as a law student, do so immediately.

You must be in compliance with all California court-ordered child and/or family support obligations.

ABA Standard 504 Disclosure

In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)

To be admitted to practice law in California, you must also take and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). The MPRE is a 60-question, two-hour, multiple choice exam and is conducted three times each year: March, August, and November. A separate application must be filed for the MPRE. The application is available from the National Committee of Bar Examiners at www.ncbex.org. Applicants may be tested on leading federal and state case law related to the area of professional responsibility, the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and the ABA Model Rules of Judicial Conduct. An unrounded, scaled score of 79.00 or higher is needed to pass this test; however, a scaled score of 86 or higher will be required to pass this test beginning in January, 2008. The MPRE may be taken prior to a student’s graduation from law school. Fowler School of Law students are encouraged to take the MPRE as soon as they have completed the course in Professional Responsibility.

For further information, refer to the State Bar’s website.

For More Information

Refer to the State Bar’s website at www.calbar.ca.gov.