The Arkansas Bar Exam

Structure, Topics, Dates, Cost, Scores, and Eligibility

Since February 2020, the Arkansas Bar Examination has been using the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ (NCBE®) Uniform Bar Examination (UBE®) format, which divides the exam into three components: the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE®), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT®), and the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE®).

Candidates who intend to practice law in different states will benefit from the increased score portability among the 41 participating UBE jurisdictions. This resource provides all the details on the AR Bar Exam results, dates, deadlines, fees, applications, and more.

Arkansas Bar Exam Structure

The Arkansas Bar Exam follows the structure of the UBE—the writing portion (MPT/MEE) is administered on the first day and the MBE on the second.

UBE Structure

  • At 50%, the MBE carries the most weight of the three UBE sections. Examinees are given two 3-hour sessions to answer 200 multiple-choice questions on the second day of the exam.
  • The MEE has a weight of 30% and consists of six 30-minute essay questions. Examinees will have three hours to complete this portion on the first day of the Arkansas Bar Exam.
  • The MPT has a weight of 20% and consists of two tasks, each consisting of simulated case files and a folder full of legal documents, which they must use to respond to prompts.

Arkansas Bar Exam Dates, Requirements, and Scheduling

When preparing for the Arkansas Bar Exam, the filing date is extremely important. Unlike other jurisdictions, Arkansas does not offer late filing, so you cannot sit for the exam if you miss the filing date. For details, see below.

Exam Dates

For the February 2024 exam, applications must be received by the Office of Professional Programs no later than 5 pm CST on November 15, 2023. Postmarked applications do not qualify. Deadline details for February 2024 have not been made official, but based on past exam dates, we suspect the deadline to be around mid-November.

Filing Periods February 2024 July 2024 Fee
Timely Filing November 15 April 3* $1,000

*Deadline for the July 2023 exam. The July 2024 exam’s official deadline is TBD.


To sit for the Arkansas Bar Exam, you must be a United States citizen, be admitted for permanent residence, or otherwise be authorized to work or study in the US. You must also have graduated with a Juris Doctorate (JD) from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). While Arkanasas requires bar candidates to pass a character and fitness investigation, they are not required to do so before sitting for the bar exam (although they must submit the requisite forms).

Arkansas Bar Exam for Foreigners

Foreigners are not eligible for admission by examination even if they have graduated from an ABA-accredited law school (on that basis alone). However, if a candidate is not a naturalized US citizen, they may take the Arkansas Bar Exam if they are a permanent resident or authorized to work or study in the US and have graduated with a JD from an ABA-accredited law school.


To schedule your Arkansas Bar Exam, you must submit a $1,000 non-refundable application fee along with the following documents:

  • Completed original application
  • All supplemental sheets
  • Completed Authorization and Release form
  • Completed Law School Verification form, unless attending one of the two In-State Law Schools
  • Completed CBC Identity Verification Form
  • All supplemental Character & Fitness documents
  • MPRE scaled score via the NCBE
  • Original Certificates of Good Standing (if already licensed to practice in another jurisdiction)
  • State Board of Law Examiners Reference Forms for each reference

Applications must be received in the Office of Professional Programs, no later than 5 pm on the due date.

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Arkansas Bar Exam Cost and Fees

If you apply to take the Arkansas Bar Exam, we recommend submitting your application early, as there are no opportunities for late filing. Arkansas has a relatively basic fee schedule. Unlike many other jurisdictions, there are no late fees, and there are no "discounts” for repeaters, or “penalties” for attorneys. See the table below for details.

Application Fees
Timely Filing $1,000
For Attorneys $1,000
Repeaters $1,000
Other Application Fees
Admission on Motion $1,500
UBE Score Transfer $1,500

Payment Policies

The fee is to be in the form of a Cashier's Check or Money Order made payable to "Clerk, Arkansas Supreme Court". No cash, personal or business check or credit card will be accepted. The fee is non-refundable.

Cost-Saving Options

It costs $1,000 to apply to take the Arkansas Bar Exam. And that fee is almost negligible in comparison to law school and undergraduate tuition and fees. The road to becoming a lawyer isn't cheap, but there are some cost-saving options that may lighten the burden. For example, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law offers the Arkansas Bar Association Labor Law Section Scholarship to students attending their university.

If you don't meet the criteria for that scholarship, try browsing the AccessLex Institute Law School Scholarship Databank for options better suited to you. You can also check out the ABA, which offers 100+ opportunities and programs for young lawyers and law students. Even if you can’t obtain a scholarship, there are some basic things you can do to save money while preparing for the bar exam:

  • Join a study group and split the cost of bar exam preparation materials among group members.
  • Research free or low-cost study online study materials like past bar exam questions and answers to supplement commercial study aids.
  • Some bar exam prep companies offer discounts or promotions to students who register early or refer friends to their program.
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Arkansas Bar Exam Subjects and Topics

The AR Bar Exam tests a candidate's legal knowledge, analytical skills, and competence to practice law. It covers a range of subjects, from Constitutional Law and Contracts to Criminal Law and Evidence. Candidates will be assessed by their ability to apply legal principles, draft legal documents, and effectively solve problems to ensure they can competently represent clients and complete entry-level legal tasks.

MEE: Testable Subjects

The MEE requires candidates to identify legal issues, apply relevant legal principles, and demonstrate their ability to analyze fact patterns and compose well-reasoned, organized, and concise written responses. Subject include:

Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) Subjects

Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) Subjects

Some subjects may appear together. Others may not appear at all. What subjects the NCBE chooses for any administration are kept secret until exam day. However, historically, some have been tested more often than others. For example, Civil Procedure has been tested on almost every MEE for the past 10 years, while Criminal Law has only appeared a few times. However, subjects that occur less frequently may still be paired with others.

Check out our MEE Study Guide and Prep Tips for details on planning your studies and determining what's essential so you use your time wisely. Also, check out our MEE Subject Matter Outline for in-depth explanations of MEE subjects and sub-topics.

MBE: Testable subjects

The MBE contains 200 multiple-choice questions divided evenly over 7 subjects. You'll notice that 7 x 25 does not equal 200. That's because 25 MBE questions are unscored questions that the NCBE pilots for future exams. There is no way to identify which questions are scored or unscored, so it's best just to imagine that they are all just as important. MBE subjects are as follows:

Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) Subjects

Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) Subjects

MPT: Testable items

The MPT is designed to test an examinee's "lawyering skills" using only the materials provided. These tasks are conducted in a closed-universe, fictional jurisdiction called "Franklin." The laws of the real world do not apply, so your critical thinking skills and understanding of fundamental legal principles are key. You'll receive faux reference material, which you'll use to solve two tasks, each graded on a scale from 0 to 6.

Arkansas Bar Exam Scoring/Grading

You must achieve a minimum score of 270 out of 400 for admission to the Arkansas Bar. Since the UBE is divided into two equally weighted sections—writing (MPT/MEE) and the MBE—you want to aim for a 135 on each section. However, you do not need to score 135 on each section to pass the AR bar exam. For example, an exceptional score on the MBE can balance out a subpar score on the writing section. What's important is that the sum of your two scores is 270 or higher.

Arkansas Bar scoring percentages

Note that the UBE employs scaled scoring to ensure fairness across exam versions. Scaled scoring accounts for the fact that one exam administration may be more or less difficult than another administration. For example, February's exam may be more difficult than July's. It wouldn't be fair if you failed because you just happened to receive a harder exam version. To solve this, your raw scores are transformed into scaled scores through a statistical method called equating. Unfortunately, the NCBE does not release data on the calculations it uses to determine scaled scores.

Arkansas MPRE Requirements

Applicants must successfully pass the MPRE before they can be admitted to the Arkansas Bar, and the exam must have been taken within 3 years of an applicant's bar exam date or within 1 year following a bar exam appointment where a successful score was achieved. Read our article, About the MPRE, to learn more about the mandatory exam.

Arkansas MPRE Minimum Passing Score

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE®) is a 2-hour, 60-multiple-choice question exam that assesses an examinee's knowledge of the American Bar Association's (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Arkansas, along with 20 other jurisdictions, requires a minimum MPRE passing score of 85. Only California and Utah have higher minimum passing scores (86).

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Arkansas Bar Exam Scoring, Results and Pass Rates

The Arkansas Bar Exam's repeater pass rates are substantially lower than the first-timer pass rates. This is common across all jurisdictions and is likely due to the fact that many who fail their first bar exam don’t change the way they study.

Exam Overall
Pass Rate
Pass Rate
Pass Rate
Release Date
July 2023 70% 81% 29% September 7
Feb. 2023 48% 59% 40% April 6

Here are the annual pass rates for the Arkansas Bar Exam since 2017 divided into first-time examinees and repeaters:

Exam First Timers Repeaters Overall
Year No Of
Pass Rate No. Of
Pass Rate No. Of
Pass Rate
2022 228 73% 81 49% 309 67%
2021 248 76% 75 39% 323 67%
2020 227 84% 89 34% 316 70%
2019 212 73% 130 32% 342 57%
2018 204 70% 104 21% 308 53%
2017 231 77% 114 34% 345 63%

*Aggregate exam scores for 2023 have not yet been released.

Arkansas Bar Exam Results

Arkansas Bar Exam results are typically released 5 weeks following an exam administration. Results were released on September 7, 2023, and April 6, 2023, for the July and February 2022 exams, respectively.

Arkansas Bar Exam Reciprocity

Arkansas allows for admission on motion (reciprocity) as long as the applicant meets the following requirements (2020 Ark. 97):

  • Has been admitted to practice law in another jurisdiction
  • Has graduated with a JD or LLB from an ABA-accredited law school
  • Has been actively engaged in the practice of law for 3 of the 5 years leading up to their application
  • Have had their principal place of business for 2 years in a jurisdiction that would allow attorneys from Arkansas a similar accommodation (accommodations are made for active military)
  • Have established and remained in good standing in all jurisdictions where admitted and not currently subject to lawyer discipline and is deemed of good moral character and fitness
  • Pays a fee established by the Arkansas Supreme Court ($1,500)

All required admission on motion forms can only be found online and must be submitted to: State Board of Law Examiners.

Map depicting states that have a reciprocity agreement with Arkansas

What Makes the Arkansas Bar Exam Unique?

Arkansas requires that anyone admitted to the Bar of Arkansas complete a course within 2 years of the date they are certified for admission by the Board of Law Examiners, in addition to completing 12 hours of approved courses for their Continuing Legal Education (CLE) annually. This CLE must be completed by June 30 and include at least 1 hour of ethics.

Final Takeaways

The difference between those who fail the Arkansas Bar Examination and those who pass is the right study plan. A quality full bar review course will help improve your score, whether it's your first, second, or even third time taking the Arkansas Bar Exam.

Themis + UWorld gets you exam-ready with exam-like practice with content and questions curated by an in-house team of subject matter experts. Our in-depth answer explanations for each answer choice and industry-leading images make the hard stuff easy to understand. Here's an overview of what you'll get:

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Contact Details of the Arkansas State Bar

If you wish to contact the Arkansas State Board of Law Examiners office with inquiries regarding the AR Bar Exam, please see the details below.

Medium Info
Phone Number 501-374-1855
Fax Number 501-374-1855
Email [email protected]
Mailing Address 2100 Riverfront Drive,
Suite 110
Little Rock, Arkansas

Arkansas Bar Exam FAQs

The Arkansas Bar Exam consists of a total of 12 testing hours divided equally between two days.
You must have graduated from an ABA-approved law school to take the Arkansas Bar Exam.
The Arkansas Bar Exam is as hard as the bar exam of the 40 other jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE. However, states with non-UBE components may be considered more difficult.
The extended late deadline to file your Arkansas Bar Exam application is TBD, for the July 2024 exam and November 15, 2023 for the February 2024 exam. The application fee is $1,000.
There is no limit to the number of times you can take the Arkansas Bar Exam.
It costs $1,000 to take the Arkansas Bar Exam.
The minimum passing UBE score is 270 for Arkansas.
Yes, Arkansas offers reciprocity with the following jurisdictions.

Arkansas does not accept MBE score transfers from other jurisdictions.

You can transfer your UBE score to another jurisdiction so long as the jurisdiction allows it.
You may be admitted without examination to the Arkansas Bar if you’ve been actively engaged in the practice of law and meet these requirements.

We recommend dedicating 400 study hours to the AR Bar Exam. Most students begin studying 8-10 prior to their exam’s administration. However, starting sooner may aid retention and decrease burnout, so we recommend starting as early as 4-6 months out if possible, especially if you work full-time.

No, you cannot practice law without a law degree in Arkansas.

To become a licensed attorney in Arkansas, you must earn an undergraduate degree, pass the LSAT, earn a JD from an ABA-accredited law school or Arkansas-approved law school, be deemed of good moral character and fitness, pass the bar exam, and be approved for admission to the bar.

To request a “Reasonable Accommodation Request,” qualified applicants with a disability must fill out the application with all supporting documentation by the filing deadline for the exam. You may obtain the required forms by emailing a request to [email protected].
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