The Minnesota Bar Exam
The Minnesota Bar Exam adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE®) in February 2014. The UBE is divided into three sections—the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE®), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT®), and the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE®). The exam has been designed to assess a candidate's understanding of a wide range of legal topics and the ability to apply that knowledge in various situations.
The UBE is standardized and portable, meaning successful examinees can transfer their scores to one or more of the 41 participating jurisdictions. If you're preparing to take the MN Bar Exam, this article provides everything you need regarding results, requirements, dates, deadlines, fees, applications, and more.
Minnesota Bar Exam Structure
The Uniform Bar Examination is administered over two days and consists of a writing section (MPT/MEE) and a multiple-choice section (MBE).
The MBE is weighted at 50% of the UBE, making it the most heavily weighted section of the Minnesota Bar Exam. Examinees will have two 3-hour sessions to answer 200 multiple-choice questions.
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.
- Have a bachelor's degree awarded by an institution that has been recognized by a foreign equivalent to the US Department of Education
- Have practiced law in another US jurisdiction for five of the seven years leading up to the submission of an application
- Have a JD, or equivalent
At the Board’s discretion, foreign lawyers may practice law in Minnesota as a Foreign Legal Consultant without taking the bar exam. However, they must maintain an office in Minnesota for the purpose of practicing law as a Foreign Legal Consultant and have been engaged in the active practice of law in a foreign country for at least five of the seven years preceding their application.
To schedule your appointment to sit for the Minnesota Bar Exam, you must create an account with the Minnesota State Board of Law Examiners. You will be prompted to fill out an eligibility questionnaire before you can login and create your account. You will be asked to pay fees upon submission of your application. If you have any issues, the Board has created a series of "how to" videos for the application process. Repeaters can create an account without taking the questionnaire.
The application process for taking the Minnesota Bar Exam isn't cheap. Fortunately, there are cost-saving options available for eligible candidates. For example, the Ramsey County Bar Association and the Hennepin County Bar Foundation award up to $12,000 in various scholarship funds to Minnesota law school students who are members of traditionally under-represented or marginalized groups who contribute meaningfully to their community. For individuals just starting their legal education, The University of Minnesota also offers scholarships ranging from $5,000 to full tuition based on admission applications that are awarded at the time of admission.
If you don't qualify for the above cost-saving options, 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 annually. There are also some simple actions you can take to save money as you work toward bar admission:
- 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.
Minnesota Bar Exam Subjects and Topics
The MN Bar Exam tests an examinee's ability to analyze and reason alongside their knowledge and understanding of fundamental legal principles. Furthermore, since Minnesota 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 provide 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
- Criminal Law and Procedure
- Family Law
- Real Property
- Secured Transactions
- 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
- Criminal Law/Procedure
- Civil Procedure
- Real Property
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.
Minnesota Bar Exam Scoring/Grading
To be admitted into the Minnesota Bar, applicants must pass the UBE with a minimum scaled score of 260 out of 400. Exam weightage is divided between the three sections as follows:
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 260 or more.
Note that getting 130 of 200 MPT questions correct does not necessarily mean you've earned 130 scaled points. Scaled scoring is a method used to ensure that everyone's exam is judged fairly. Imagine that you and a friend take the bar exam during different administrations, and your exam turns out to be more difficult. 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 calculated into scaled scores. Unfortunately, the NCBE does not release data on the calculations it uses to determine scaled scores.
Minnesota MPRE Minimum Passing Score
Before you can practice law in Minnesota, you must pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE®) with a minimum score of 85. The MPRE features 60 multiple-choice questions administered over two hours. Check out our article, About the MPRE, to learn more about the mandatory exam.
Minnesota Bar Exam Results and Pass Rates
As is common with bar exams across the United States, the Minnesota Bar Exam's pass rate for repeaters is considerably lower than for those taking it for the first time. This is likely because many repeat takers don't substantially modify their study habits.
|July 2022||83%||88%||36%||October 3|
|Feb. 2022||63%||78%||52%||April 14|
Below are the annual pass rates for the Minnesota Bar Exam since 2017 divided into first-time examinees and repeaters:
Minnesota Bar Exam Results
The July 2022 exam results were released on October 3, 2022, and April 14, 2022, for the February 2022 exam. Generally, exam results are released six weeks after the February exam and ten weeks after the July exam.
You may be admitted to the Minnesota Bar without taking the bar exam (admission on motion) if you have graduated with a JD degree from an ABA-approved law school and meet one of the following requirements:
- You have been practicing law for a minimum of 1,000 hours per year for 36 of the past 60 months
- You received a scaled score of 145 or higher on the MBE in the past 36 months, and you were admitted to the bar of another jurisdiction through examination
- You received a scaled score of 260 or higher on the UBE in the past 36 months
To take the bar exam in Minnesota, you must have a JD or LLB from an ABA-approved law school or have received foreign legal education of similar quality and duration. For details, see the “requirements” section of this article.
Minnesota does not have formal reciprocity with any jurisdiction. Instead, attorneys from any US jurisdiction can apply for admission on motion if they meet these criteria.
Yes, you can transfer your Minnesota UBE score to another jurisdiction.
What is the time limit for accepting a transferred UBE score in Minnesota(i.e., maximum age of the UBE score)?
The maximum age for a UBE score in Minnesota is 3 years.
Minnesota allows for admission without examination on the basis that the candidate has been actively practicing law for a minimum of 1,000 hours per year for 36 of the past 60 months. For details on the process, see the “Reciprocity” section of this article.
We recommend dedicating 400 study hours to the MN 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 Minnesota.
To become a licensed attorney in Minnesota, you must earn an undergraduate degree, pass the LSAT, earn a JD from an ABA-accredited law school, pass the bar exam and MPRE, and be approved for admission to the bar.