Bar Exam Dates and Schedule

Every year, the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE®) administers the bar exam on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July. The Uniform Bar Exam (UBE®) is currently administered in 41 jurisdictions. The Multistate Essay Exam (MEE®) and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT®) are conducted last Tuesday of February and July. Popularly known as the 'Wednesday Bar Exam,' the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE®) is scheduled last Wednesday of February and July. So, how are these exams scheduled, when are the deadlines, and what about the non-UBE jurisdictions? Let's find out.

Keeping Track of Bar Exam Dates

Worried about missing a test day during the bar exam? Well, we've got you covered. The bar exam has a well-defined testing window that usually does not present significant challenges.

Every year, the bar exam is administered on the last Tuesday & Wednesday of February and July. The UBE can last two or two and half days, depending on the testing jurisdiction. That said, other parameters may be a little tricky. Most jurisdictions conduct their bar exams for 12 hours, broken down into two or two and a half days.

The standard formula for the bar exam schedule is as follows:

Tuesday: MEE (3 hours) + MPT (3 hours) + Wednesday: MBE (6 hours) = 12 hours

Since the bar exam isn't limited to multiple choice questions (MCQs), you must schedule your study hours appropriately. While the MBE may take up most of your bar prep time, it wouldn't be wise to wait until the last minute to prepare for the MEE and MPT. The two writing portions of the bar exam will require you to put on your thinking cap.

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Bar Exam Dates for UBE Adopted States

Here are the latest dates for bar exams in the 41 UBE jurisdictions:

Month of the Year Dates for the Exam
July 2022 Tuesday, July 26th - Wednesday, July 27th
February 2023 Tuesday, Feb 21st - Wednesday, Feb 22nd
July 2023 Tuesday, July 25th - Wednesday, July 26th

Bar Exam Dates for Non UBE States

Speaking of the non-UBE jurisdictions, the exam dates are pretty similar. However, the exam format and structure may vary from their UBE counterparts. It is always best to reach out to a state's Board of Bar Examiners to clearly understand a jurisdiction's specific requirements.

Non-UBE Bar Exam Windows 2022
Winter 2022 February 22nd to February 23rd
Summer 2022 July 26th to July 27th

Some non-UBE jurisdictions still follow the testing calendar established by the UBE. However, there are a few exceptions. While the UBE is only a two-day exam, several states, including Delaware, Louisiana, and Nevada, have a three-day bar exam.

Here is a list of non-UBE jurisdiction filing deadlines for the 2023 bar exam. Please ensure to adhere to these dates to avoid any last-minute mishaps.

Jurisdiction February 2023
First filing deadline
February 2023
Late filing deadline
California Nov. 1 Jan. 1
Delaware No February exam
Florida Nov. 15 Dec. 15/ Jan. 15
Georgia Jan. 4 Feb. 3
Hawaii Nov. 1
Louisiana (3 day bar exam) Nov. 1 Dec. 15
Mississippi Sept. 1 Nov. 1
Nevada (3 day bar exam) Oct. 1 Dec. 1
South Dakota Nov. 1
Virginia Dec. 15
Wisconsin Dec. 1 Jan. 1
Guam Dec. 1 Jan. 1
Northern Mariana Islands Dec. 22 Jan. 5
Palau (No February exam)
Puerto Rico To be announced

How to Schedule, Reschedule Your Bar Examination?

Once you have completed all the necessary application steps, one last thing you need to do: schedule your bar exam. To schedule your bar exam, UBE candidates must create an account on the NCBE portal in their preferred jurisdiction. Upon completion of this step, examinees will be given an NCBE Number. This NCBE number is a unique identifier to access UBE and MBE scores. The number also serves as an official confirmation that you have successfully registered for your UBE exam.

Now that you have set up your account on the NCBE portal, you must select your bar exam date, time, and location. Most of these factors depend on the availability of seats, exam slots, and test center regulations. To learn more about the NCBE scheduling process, visit the NCBE official website.

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Exam Locations

Every year, the NCBE releases announcements to inform candidates of their exam locations and test centers. This information is specific to the state and jurisdiction in which the candidate has chosen to take the bar.

To find more information about exam locations and other jurisdiction announcements, visit the official NCBE website.

Bar Exam Essentials & Tips

Now that your calendar is blocked, let us discuss everything you need on exam day. Because of the pressure and exam anxiety, candidates often forget to bring some small yet essential items to the test center.

So, let's call this the MPZ rule: M stands for the morning of the bar exam, P stands for packing essentials, and Z is the most important one; zero anxiety! So essentially, on the morning of the bar exam, be ready with a properly packed bag, and zero stress!

  • Set the alarm the night before, and ensure someone calls you to wake you up.
  • Set aside some time for having a wholesome breakfast.
  • Keep your liquid intake to a minimum since the bathroom breaks are limited.
  • Bring a jacket or a sweater to stay warm in the test center, as they're usually quite cold.
  • Maintain a checklist, and have one final look at it before you leave for the exam.

How to be stress-free on the morning of your BAR exam?

It's important to stay composed before you approach the bar exam day. In some cases, stress and anxiety can affect a candidate's rationalization ability. Even if you've done everything you can to prepare for the exam, there's always a slim chance that you'll forget something. Maintaining a positive mindset during the exam will boost your confidence and improve your outcome. Ensure you don't hit the panic button before entering the test center. It is imperative to stay calm and composed.

What’s inside a Bar Exam Candidate’s Backpack?

This is where having a checklist comes in handy. Please make it a point not to overlook any of these items:

  • Government Issued ID card (with photo)
  • Proof of submission documents
  • Laptop and laptop accessories
  • Number 2 pencils and black and blue ink pens
  • A couple of plastic bags to carry your testing materials into the test center
  • State-specific verification documents
  • Two to three pairs of clothing
  • Jackets, socks, and comfortable shoes
  • Attire specific to the dress code (if any)
  • Toothbrush, comb, body wash, and shampoo
  • First-aid items like medicines, ointments, bandages
  • Light snacks like protein bars,nuts, or dry fruits, etc.
  • Cooked or semi-cooked meals in case of unavailability
  • Packaged drinking water, juice boxes, or energy drinks
  • Extra pair of contact lenses
  • Glasses
  • Watch
  • Cash/ debit card/ credit card
  • Comfortable pillows or an extra bed sheet
  • Noise-canceling ear plugs
  • Reading materials

Bar Exam Day Tips

  • Frame your answers to indicate clarity on the subject. It's always best to separate sections by headings and bullet points.
  • Keep the formatting easy on the eyes. Ensure your written answers are organized, concise, and structurally sound.
  • Support your answers using the logical-analysis method. Everything you write must be based on logical reasoning and a conclusion that supports your argument.
  • If you sit for two MPTs, manage your time to attempt both exams. It might seem tricky to get both right because of the time constraint, but your practice hours will pay off here.
  • Remember the law-school fundamentals; write it like you know the material. The essay test may present you with an unfamiliar scenario; however, that should not stop you from analyzing the situation and drafting an in-depth, comprehensive essay.
  • Attempt all MCQs regardless of whether you know the answer or not. Bar exams do not have a negative marking system.
  • Review your answers before submitting them. Even the most minor mistake can be a vital one. Remember, the devil is in the details.
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Frequently Asked Questions

The UBE states have their bar exams on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July. However, that does not mean that the UBE exams are not subject to change. In exceptional cases, like the pandemic in 2020, these dates changed. So, on rare occasions, the UBE bar exams are subject to change.

Yes, it is possible to change your bar exam location. It may be difficult to change the location of an exam, especially in the eleventh hour. However, to know more, you must visit the NCBE registration page.

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