The Kentucky Bar Exam

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

The Kentucky Bar Exam adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE®) in February 2021. The UBE is divided into three sections—the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE®), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT®), and the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE®). Since Kentucky has adopted the UBE, examinees no longer have to take the Kentucky-specific essay exam.

Bar candidates who may want to eventually practice law in another state benefit from score portability between the 41 jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE. This article provides everything you need regarding KY Bar Exam results, dates, deadlines, fees, applications, and more.

Kentucky Bar Exam Structure

The Uniform Bar Exam is administered over two days and consists of a writing section (MPT/MEE) and a multiple-choice section (MBE).

The structure of the Kentucky bar exam by day


The MEE is weighted at 30% of the UBE and is administered on day one. Examinees have 3 hours to answer six 30-minute essay questions.


The MPT is weighted at 20% of the UBE and is administered on day one. Examinees are provided with faux case files imitating realistic scenarios and a folder with various legal documents, which they must use to respond to assignments.


The MBE is weighted at 50% of the UBE, making it the most heavily weighted section of the Kentucky Bar Exam. Examinees will have two 3-hour sessions to answer a total of 200 multiple-choice questions.

Kentucky Bar Exam Dates, Requirements, and Scheduling

You can't pass an exam that you can't take. That's why no date is more important to mark on your calendar than the filing date as you prepare for the Kentucky Bar Exam. The first filing deadline for the July 2023 exam is February 1, and for the February 2024 exam the first filing deadline is October 1.

Exam Dates

Kentucky has multiple filing deadlines. The latest you can submit your application is May 10 or December 10 for the July or February exam, respectively. However, the longer you wait, the more you’ll pay (see table).

Filing Periods July 2023
February 2024
Timely Deadline February 1 October 1 $875
Late Deadline March 10 November 10 $1,125
Extended Late Deadline May 10 December 10 $1,375


To be eligible to sit for the KY Bar Exam, applicants must have a Juris Doctorate degree (JD) from a law school approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) and have been deemed to be of sound moral character and fit to practice law via The Character and Fitness Committee.

Non-ABA-approved law school graduates can apply to take the bar exam if their legal education meets equivalent educational standards set by the ABA. Candidates must also have been actively and substantially engaged in the practice of law as a principal occupation for three of the five years preceding their application.


To schedule your Kentucky Bar Exam appointment, you must create an account on the Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions website and submit an application. The February Exam will be hosted at the Clarion Hotel. Reservations can be made online or by calling (859) 233-0512.

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Illustration of larceny.

Kentucky Bar Exam Cost and Fees

Kentucky's three late filing deadlines trigger higher and higher late fees. If you apply to take the Kentucky Bar Exam, we recommend submitting your application early, as it costs $500 more to file during the extended late period.

Application Fees
First Time Applicants $875
Attorney Application Fee $1,200
Repeater Application Fee (taken, but failed) $325
Repeater Application Fee (submitted, not taken) $150
Late Fees
First Time Applicants First Late Fee (total) $1,200
First Time Applicants Second Late Fee (total) $1,375
Attorney Application First Late Fee (total) $1,450
Attorney Application Second Late Fee (total) $1,700
Other Application Fees
UBE transfer score (within one year) $875
UBE transfer score (after one year) $1,200
Admission without Examination $1,500
Other Licenses and Registrations
Corporate Counsel Not Admitted In-State $1,500
Legal Service Lawyer $100
Military Spouse Temporary Practice $1,500

Payment Policies

Payments can be made via credit card, eCheck, or Affinipay online. You can also submit payments via certified check, cashier's check, law firm check, corporate check, or money order payable to the "Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions” with your initiating documents. There are no refunds.

Cost-Saving Options

Kentucky Bar Exam fees reach into the thousands of dollars. Fortunately, there are cost-saving options available for eligible candidates. You can browse the AccessLex Institute Law School Scholarship Databank for cost-saving options suited to you. Furthermore, the ABA offers 100+ opportunities and programs for young lawyers and law students every year. There are also some simple actions you can take to save money as you work toward bar admission:

  1. Research free or low-cost study online study materials like past bar exam questions and answers to supplement commercial study aids.
  2. Some bar exam prep companies offer discounts or promotions to students who register early or refer friends to their program.

Kentucky Bar Exam Subjects and Topics

The KY Bar Exam tests an examinee's ability to analyze and reason alongside their knowledge and understanding of fundamental legal principles. Furthermore, since Kentucky has adopted the UBE, a successful exam score represents one's competency and readiness to practice law in the 40 other participating jurisdictions.

MEE: Testable subjects

The MEE consists of six 30-minute essay questions. Each question involves one or more of the subjects listed below. Some subjects may be paired together. Other subjects could be omitted. While it's impossible to know which subjects the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE®) will choose on any given exam version, some have been tested more frequently than others historically.

For example, Civil Procedure has appeared on nearly every MEE in the past decade, while Criminal Law has only appeared several times. However, subjects that occur less frequently on their own may be paired with others. Our MEE Study Guide and Prep Tips provides all the details you need to focus your studies on what's essential and use your time efficiently.

  • Business Associations
  • Civil Procedure
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Family Law
  • Real Property
  • Secured Transactions
  • Torts
  • Trusts and Estates

Check out our MEE Subject Matter Outline for detailed explanations of MEE subjects and sub-topics.

MBE: Testable subjects

The MBE is administered in two 3-hour sessions on (Day 2) of the bar exam on the last Wednesday in February and July. It is scored on a 200-point scale and presents candidates with 200 multiple-choice questions spanning the following MBE subjects, broken down into 25 questions per subject:

  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law/Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Civil Procedure
  • Real Property
  • Torts

MPT: Testable items

The MPT consists of closed-universe practical questions with instructions, factual data, cases, statutes, and other reference material supplied by examiners. Candidates will answer two cases presenting simulated real-life scenarios occurring in the fictional jurisdiction of "Franklin." These tasks are designed for examinees to demonstrate their lawyering skills, using only the materials provided by the bar examiners. Each case is assessed on a 6-point scale, with a 6 being the highest possible score and a 0 being the lowest possible score.

A licensed attorney Themis essay grader looking at a Themis student’s MEE answer.
Your dedicated Themis attorney will personally grade your essays and provide feedback.

Kentucky Bar Exam Scoring/Grading

To be admitted into the Kentucky Bar, applicants must pass the UBE with a minimum scaled score of 266 out of 400. Exam weightage is divided between the three sections as follows:

Kentucky Bar scoring percentages

The MEE and MPT are combined into half the weightage of the test and graded as such. Therefore, the writing section (MEE/MPT) and the multiple-choice section (MBE) each comprise 50%, or 200 points, of your total scaled score. If you do poorly on one section of the exam, you can make up for it on the other, as long as these scores combine to a sum of 266 or more.

Note that getting 133 of 200 MBE questions correct does not necessarily mean you've earned 133 points. Scaled scoring is employed to ensure fairness across exam versions. This scoring model is true for all three sections of the bar exam.

For example, July's exam may be more difficult than February's. It would be unfair to allow someone to pass or fail based on the relative difficulty of their exam version. Therefore, examinees' 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.

Kentucky MPRE Minimum Passing Score

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE®) features 60 multiple-choice questions administered over two hours. Before you can practice law in Kentucky, you must pass the MPRE with a minimum score of 80. Applicants must successfully pass the MPRE before they sit for the Kentucky Bar Exam. Check out our article, About the MPRE, to learn more about the mandatory exam.

Kentucky Bar Exam Results and Pass Rates

As is typical with bar exams across the country, the Kentucky Bar Exam's repeater pass rate is markedly lower than the first-timer pass rate. This phenomenon is likely because many examinees who failed the first time haven't changed their study habits significantly.

Exam Overall
Pass Rate
Pass Rate
Pass Rate
Release Date
July 2022 68% 74% 41% September 30
Feb. 2022 45% 52% 49% April 1

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

Exam First Timers Repeaters Overall
Year No Of Candidates Pass Rate No. Of Candidates Pass Rate No. Of Candidates Pass Rate
2021 216 74% 53 60% 269 71%
2020 155 80% 66 41% 221 68%
2019 193 73% 79 37% 272 63%
2018 197 80% 59 29% 256 68%
2017 210 76% 64 41% 274 68%

*Aggregate exam scores for 2022 have not yet been released.

Kentucky Bar Exam Results

Kentucky Bar Exam results are released approximately nine weeks following the exam. The July 2022 exam results were released on September 30, 2022, and April 1, 2022, for the February 2022 exam.


Kentucky allows admission on motion on the basis that the candidate has been actively engaged in teaching law full-time at an ABA-accredited law school for five of the seven years leading up to their application. Admission on motion candidates must have also graduated from an ABA-accredited law school. Kentucky has reciprocity with the following jurisdictions:

jurisdictions that have reciprocity with kentucky

What Makes the Kentucky Bar Exam Unique?

Since Kentucky has adopted the UBE, there is not much that remains unique about its actual bar exam. However, the Supreme Court of Kentucky requires that new lawyers complete the “New Lawyer Program” within one year of being admitted to the bar. This program satisfies Kentucky's Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirement, which requires lawyers to take 12 hours of CLE annually.

Kentucky Bar Exam for foreigners

The Kentucky Board of Bar Examiners requires foreign examinees to have graduated with a JD from an ABA-accredited law school or a foreign law program determined by the Board of Bar Examiners to be a "substantial equivalent of the legal education provided by approved law schools in Kentucky."

Candidates must also prove that they have been engaged in law as a principal occupation for three of the last five years. The burden of proof is on the examinee. Applicants must submit evidence of the court or agency which admitted them to practice in that foreign jurisdiction.

Final Takeaways

Challenging though it may be, you can ace the Kentucky Bar Examination with the right study plan and the number one recommended full bar review course. Whether you are taking the UBE for the first time or you are a repeater, the best way to be among those who pass the Kentucky Bar Exam is to study with practice questions and mock exams that mimic the actual bar exam.

If practice feels like the real thing, the real thing will feel like practice. The Themis + UWorld full bar review bundle offers 4000+ MBE practice questions. Each question has been curated by our premier team of legal professionals or is licensed by the NCBE.

You'll gain access to 100+ MEE practice essays and 22 MPT practice questions from past exams. In addition, our platform offers customizable flashcards, performance tracking, Qbanks filled with detailed illustrations, readings paired with bite-sized video lectures, and thorough explanations for each question.

Contact Details of the Kentucky State Bar

If you wish to contact the Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions office with inquiries regarding the Kentucky Bar Exam, please see the details below.

Medium Info
Phone Number (859) 246-2381
Fax (859) 246-2385
Email [email protected]
Mailing Address 1510 Newtown Pike, Suite 156
Lexington, KY 40511-1255
There’s a reason we are the only bar review course that consistently publishes our pass rates.
Student happy after passing the bar exam

Kentucky Bar Exam FAQs

The bar exam in Kentucky spans two days, each consisting of 6-hour testing sessions.

To take the bar exam in Kentucky, you must have graduated from an ABA or Kentucky-approved law school or received foreign education of similar quality and duration.

The Kentucky Bar Exam is as hard as the bar exam of the 40 other jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE. It may be considered slightly easier than bar exams with state-specific components.
The extended late deadline to file your Kentucky Bar Exam application is May 10, 2023 for the July 2023 exam, and December 10, 2023, for the February 2024 exam. Application fees range from $875 to $1,375, depending on when you file.
You can take the Kentucky Bar Exam up to five times.
It costs $325 to retake the Kentucky Bar Exam if you have failed a previous exam and $150 if you have applied but did not take the exam.
The minimum passing UBE score is 266 for the Kentucky Bar Exam.

Yes, you can transfer your MBE score from another jurisdiction to Kentucky via MBE Score Services.

You can transfer your Kentucky UBE score to another jurisdiction if that jurisdiction allows it. Check with the jurisdiction’s website for details.

Kentucky allows for admission without examination on the basis that the candidate has been actively engaged in teaching law full-time at an ABA-accredited law school for five of the seven years leading up to their application. For details on the process, see the “Reciprocity” section of this article.

We recommend dedicating 400 study hours to the KY 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 Kentucky.
To become a licensed attorney in Kentucky, you must earn an undergraduate degree, pass the LSAT, earn a JD from an ABA-accredited law school or Kentucky-approved law school, be deemed of good moral character and fitness, pass the bar exam, complete the “New Lawyer Program” within one year of being admitted to the bar, and be approved for admission to the bar.

To request special accommodation for the Kentucky Bar Exam, you must fill out the Non-Standard Testing Verification Forms and provide all required documentation no later than February 1 for the July exam and October 1 for the February Exam.

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