The Maryland Bar Exam

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

The Maryland Bar Exam adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE®) in 2017 and began administering it in 2019. The UBE is divided into three sections—the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE®), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT®), and the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE®). To be accepted to the Maryland Bar, candidates must take an additional 50-question, multiple-choice Maryland Law Component (MLC).

Bar candidates that 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 MD bar exam results, dates, deadlines, fees, applications, and more.

Maryland 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).

  • Day 1 : MPT/MEE
  • Day 2 : MBE

MPT

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 library consisting of various legal documents, which they must use to respond to assignments.

MEE

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.

MBE

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

Maryland Bar Exam Dates, Requirements and Scheduling

Preparing your application and submitting it on time is especially important in Maryland because there are no late filing periods. In other words, if you miss the deadline, you cannot sit for the MD Bar Exam. See below for important deadlines, dates, and fees.

Exam Dates

Examinees applying for the Maryland State Bar Exam must file within the set filing period—there is no late filing. You must also submit an official transcript of your pre-legal education and a Character Questionnaire ($350) with or before your primary application—both can be filed before the application period opens.

Filing Periods Application Opens Fee
February 21-22, 2023 Nov 1 - Dec 20, 2022 $400
July 26-27, 2023 April 1 - May 20, 2023 $400

Requirements

The Maryland State Board of Law Examiners requires examinees to have graduated with a Juris Doctorate degree (JD) or equivalent from an American Bar Association (ABA) approved law school. This requirement may be waived if an applicant's legal education is commensurate with ABA standards by submitting an Eligibility Waives for Graduates of Non-ABA Law Schools. Waivers must be obtained before candidates create their Notice of Intent to take the UBE in Maryland.

First-time applicants must submit their official law school transcripts on or before September 1 or March 15 following the July and February exams, respectively.

Scheduling

To schedule your MD Bar Exam,

  • Create an account through SBLE eBar online application system.
  • Have your social security number and National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE®) number handy. (Candidates without a social security number must contact the SBLE administrative office for instruction.)
  • Complete the Character Questionnaire,
  • Fill out the Notice of Intent to Take the UBE in Maryland, (select which exam you want to take).
  • After completing all applications, you must pay a $400 fee.
It’s not watching a lengthy video lecture or reading a textbook. It’s practicing with real MBE questions!
Pass the MBE by practicing with real MBE questions.

Maryland Bar Exam Costs and Fees

Maryland has no late filing period for its bar exam. If you miss the deadline, you cannot sit for the exam. All application-associated fees are detailed in the chart below.

Application Fees
Bar Exam Application Fee $400
Character Questionnaire Fee $350
Admission without Examination (Out-of-State Attorneys)
Petition for Application without Submission $700
NCBE Character Investigation $350
Transfer UBE Score $400
Miscellaneous Fees
ExamSoft registration $130
ExamSoft software $50

Payment Policies

Your Character Questionnaire fee and Notice of Intent fee must be paid with a check or money order made payable to "State Board of Law Examiners" and included with your filing.

Cost-Saving Options

From law school to bar prep to the actual bar exam, the journey to legal practice can be expensive. The good news is that many Maryland area organizations, including universities, foundations, and law firms, offer law students in the region various scholarships and grants to help with legal education and bar exam costs. For example:

We strongly encourage all candidates who plan on taking the Maryland Bar Exam to review as many of these scholarships as possible and apply to those for which they are eligible.

Maryland Bar Exam Subjects and Topics

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

Multistate Essay Exam (MEE)

The MEE consists of six 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 NCBE will choose for 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.

  • 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

Additional information on the list of subjects and subtopics can be found on our MEE Subject Matter Outline page.

Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)

The MBE tests the following subjects across two 100-question sessions:

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

You may find a complete list of subjects and subtopics here: MBE Subject Matter Outline

Multistate Performance Test (MPT)

The MPT Exam features two 90-minute performance legal case questions presenting legal case scenarios challenging bar applicants to identify the right strategies and actions an attorney should take in response to case facts. The questions provide detailed instructions, factual data, statutes, and other references to test your legal analysis skills in discerning relevant and irrelevant facts in a case.

Pass the MBE Your First Time.

Illustration of partial performance in a contract.

Maryland Bar Exam Scoring/Grading

To be admitted into the MD 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:

MBE
50%
MEE
30%
MPT
20%

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 MPT questions correct does not necessarily mean you've earned 133 scaled 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.

Maryland MPRE Minimum Passing Score

Before practicing law in Maryland, you must also pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE®) with a scaled score of 85 or more.

Maryland Bar Exam Pass Rates

As is typical with bar exams across the country, the Maryland 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 First-Timer Pass Rate Repeater Pass Rate Results Release Date
July 2022 69% 78% 19% October 21, 2022
Feb 2022 41% 57% 27% May 6, 2022

Below are the annual pass rates for the Maryland Bar Exam since 2016 divided into first-time examinees and repeaters:

Maryland Bar Exam Results

The MD Bar Exam February 2022 exam results were released on May 6, 2022. The MD Bar Exam July 2021 exam results were released on November 18, 2021.

Maryland Bar Exam Reciprocity

Maryland has no formal reciprocity agreements with other states but makes provisions for admissions on motion for out-of-state attorneys.

Admission by Score Transfer

As of July 1, 2019, when Maryland adopted the UBE, the state will accept transfers of qualifying UBE scores from applicants who achieved those scores in other UBE states. Maryland also accepts MBE scores from exams taken in other jurisdictions as long as the applicant took their exams concurrently.

Admission on Motion

Applicants licensed to practice law in other states may be admitted to the Maryland Bar on motion, but they must:

  • Take an essay exam on Maryland Evidence, Maryland Civil/Criminal Practice & Procedure, and Rules of Professional Conduct
  • Have engaged in the active practice of law for ten years, or 5 of the ten years immediately preceding application, and be in good standing
  • Have been admitted by exam in another state, and
  • Have intent to practice in Maryland.

What Makes the Maryland Bar Exam Unique?

Individuals seeking admission to the Maryland bar via examination, UBE score transfer, or admission without examination as an experienced out-of-state attorney will be required to complete the state-specific Maryland Law Component. Out-of-state attorneys seeking admission on motion must also take an essay exam on Maryland Evidence, Maryland Civil/Criminal Practice & Procedure, and Rules of Professional Conduct to be eligible for admission to the Maryland Bar, as stated in the above section.

Maryland Bar Exam for Foreigners

Foreigners may apply to take the Maryland Bar Exam if they have completed their first legal degree in a jurisdiction outside of the US and an LL.M degree at a law school approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). This exception also applies to individuals accepted to the Bar in another US jurisdiction. Applicants must complete the Eligibility Waiver for Graduates of non-ABA Law Schools before their Notice of Intent to Take the UBE.

Final Takeaways

Judging by the most recent MD bar exam results and the fact that the exam features a state-specific essay component, the Maryland Bar Exam is among the most difficult bar exams in the country. That’s why it is crucial to prepare with the right bar prep review.

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 Maryland Bar Exam is to study with questions and mock exams that imitate the actual 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 online platform offers customizable flashcards, performance tracking, detailed illustrations, readings paired with bite-sized video lectures, and thorough explanations for each answer choice.

Contact Details of Maryland State Bar

The Maryland Supreme Court answers calls Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm EST, except for state and federal holidays.

Maryland Board of Bar Examiners Contact Information
Medium Info
Phone Number 410-260-3640
Email [email protected]
Address JUDICIARY A-POD
580 TAYLOR AVENUE
ANNAPOLIS, MD 21401
What is the most effective way to pass the MBE?

Practice. Practice. Practice. See what the best practice questions truly look like.

Maryland Bar Exam FAQs

The Maryland Bar Exam is offered biannually, once in February and again in July.
To take the bar exam in Maryland, applicants must have obtained a JD from an ABA-approved law school.
The MD Bar Exam lasts two days, with the MEE and MPT lasting 3 hours each on day one and the MBE lasting 6 hours on day two.
Maryland does not have a set limit on the number of times you can take the MD State Bar Exam, so if you fail the exam on your first attempt, you can revise your strategy and strive to do better the next time.
The filing deadlines for the Maryland Bar Exam application are December 20, 2022, and May 20, 2023, for the 2023 February and July exams, respectively. Applications require a $400 fee. There are no late filing periods.
Judging by the pass rates from the past three administrations, the MD Bar Exam may be slightly more challenging than those administered in other UBE jurisdictions.
The Maryland UBE is scored on a 400-point scale, with a minimum passing score of 266 or greater. Both MPT questions are worth 20% total, the MEE 30%, and the MBE 50%.
The most recent July 2022 pass rates were 69% for all test-takers, 78% for first-time, and 19% for repeaters.
Yes, as long as they meet all the requirements under Maryland State Board of Law Examiners Rule 19-201(b).
Maryland has no formal reciprocity agreements with other states but makes provisions for admissions on motion for out-of-state attorneys (see Maryland Bar Exam Reciprocity section above).
To become a licensed attorney in Maryland, you must graduate with a JD from an ABA-approved law school, score 85 on the MPRE and 266 or more on the UBE, and be deemed to be of good moral character and fitness.
No, you cannot practice law without a law degree in Maryland.
To request special accommodations for the Maryland Bar Exam, you must request “nonstandard testing accommodations” (NTA) through the Applicant Request for NTA form before the final filing deadline of your respective exam.
Scroll to Top