The Montana Bar Exam
Structure, Topics, Dates, Cost, Scores, and Eligibility
Since July 2012, the Montana Bar Exam has been using the Uniform Bar Exam (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 MT Bar Exam results, dates, deadlines, fees, applications, and more.
Montana Bar Exam Structure
The UBE is divided into two days, each with 6 testing hours. The writing portion (MPT/MEE) is administered on day one, and the MBE on day two. See below for a detailed breakdown.
Montana Bar Exam Dates, Requirements, and Scheduling
You can't pass an exam that you don't take. Mark the dates and deadlines shown below on your calendar and review the eligibility requirements below. Save yourself some stress by collecting the proper documentation and submitting your application early.
Applications for the Montana Bar Exam must be postmarked or hand-delivered to the Bar Admissions Administrator by the deadlines specified below. Late applications will not be accepted unless the Montana Supreme Court grants a special court order approving the late filing. If such a petition for a late application is granted, the applicant will be charged a late filing fee in addition to the regular application fee.
|Filing Periods||February 27-28, 2024||July 30-31, 2024||Fee|
|Filing Deadline||October 1, 2023||March 15, 2024||$620|
To sit for the Montana Bar Exam, you must have earned a (Juris Doctorate) JD from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) and have been certified by the Commission on Character & Fitness.
To schedule your Montana Bar Exam, you must:
- Create a National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE® account) and obtain an NCBE number.
- Apply for a Character & Fitness Investigation through NCBE
- Complete the Montana Bar Application.
- Complete UBE Registration.
- Pay fee (Attorney/Student).
- Submit your application to the Bar Admission Administrator on or before the appropriate deadline (hand-delivered or postmarked before the deadline)
Montana Bar Exam Cost and Fees
Applying for the Montana Bar Exam costs hundreds of dollars or more, depending on your situation. Individuals applying for Admission on Motion or UBE Score Transfer can also find associated fees below.
|Other Application Fees|
|Character and Fitness||Schedule|
|Admission on Motion||$2,500|
|UBE Score Transfer (Students)||$155|
|UBE Score Transfer (Attorneys)||$410|
Send a check or money order along with your completed application or pay the fees online (student or attorney) and mail a copy of the payment confirmation with your completed application. There is a separate application fee for the NCBE Character & Fitness Application.
Going to law school and taking the bar exam isn't cheap. Fortunately, there are cost-saving options for eligible individuals. Try browsing the AccessLex Institute Law School Scholarship Databank for suitable scholarship options. You can also check out the ABA website, which offers 100+ opportunities and programs for young lawyers and law students. Even if you can't obtain a scholarship, you can do some basic things 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.
Montana Bar Exam Subjects and Topics
The MT 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.
Testable subjects on the MEE
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. MEE subjects include:
Some subjects may be tested together. Others may not be tested at all. What subjects the NCBE chooses for any administration are not made public before the exam. Historically, some have been tested more often than others historically. 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 for details on planning your studies and determining what's essential so you use your time efficiently. Also, check out our MEE Subject Matter Outline for in-depth explanations of MEE subjects and sub-topics.
Testable subjects on the MBE
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 field tests for future exams. There is no way to identify which questions are scored or unscored, so it's best to imagine that they are all just as important. MBE subjects are as follows:
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.
Work with a dedicated attorney essay grader who will grade your essays and provide feedback.
Montana MPRE Requirements
The MPRE is a 2-hour, 60-multiple-choice question exam that assesses an examinee's knowledge of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. You don't need to earn a passing MPRE score before you sit for the MT Bar Exam, but you do need to before being admitted to the Montana Bar.
Your MPRE score must be earned within 3 years of your application date. Once you pass the MPRE, you must ensure the NCBE sends your certified score to the State Bar of Montana. This must be done no later than 9 months after being notified that you successfully passed the Montana Bar Examination.
Montana MPRE minimum passing score
Montana has an MPRE minimum passing score of 80. Candidates are responsible for requesting a copy of their MPRE score report be sent to the Bar. Scores are only valid if transferred directly from the MPRE testing authority.
Montana Bar Exam Scoring, Results and Pass Rates
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 an equating statistical method. Unfortunately, the NCBE does not release data on the calculations it uses to determine scaled scores.
Montana Bar Exam scoring/grading
You must achieve a minimum score of 266 out of 400 for admission to the Montana Bar. Since the UBE is divided into two equally weighted sections—writing (MPT/MEE) and the MBE—you want to aim for a 133 on each section. However, you do not need to score 133 on each section to pass the ME 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 266 or higher.
Montana Bar Exam Results and Pass Rates
You'll notice that The Montana Bar Exam's repeater pass rates are substantially lower than the first-timer pass rates, especially for the February 2023 exam. This discrepancy between first-timer and repeater pass rates is common across all jurisdictions and is likely because many who fail their first bar exam don't change how they study.
|Feb. 2023||59%||72%||48%||April 3|
|July 2022||77%||82%||20%||September 17|
Here are the annual pass rates for the Montana Bar Exam since 2017 divided into first-time examinees and repeaters:
Montana Bar Exam results are typically released 7-8 weeks following an exam administration. Results were released on April 3, 2023, and September 17, 2022, for the February 2023 and July 2022 exams.
What Makes the Montana Bar Exam Unique
All applicants for the Montana Bar, whether by Admission on Motion, transferred UBE (Uniform Bar Exam) score, or examination, must attend a mandatory Montana Law Seminar (MLS). The MLS is a special course designed for those seeking admission to the Montana Bar. It focuses on the structure of Montana's legal system, specifics of Montana law, and the local legal culture. The MLS is not a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program and does not award CLE credits. An applicant can delay their attendance at the MLS, but they cannot be admitted to the Montana Bar until their attendance at this seminar is confirmed.
Montana bar exam for foreigners
There is a separate application fee that applicants must pay for the NCBE (National Conference of Bar Examiners) Character & Fitness Application. The NCBE Application includes categories for Law Student Registration and Foreign Educated or Foreign-Licensed Attorneys. However, Montana currently does not accept early applications from law students or recognize applications from foreign-trained lawyers. To apply, all applicants must have a JD degree from a law school accredited by the ABA.
Montana bar exam reciprocity
Montana does not have formal reciprocity. Rather, if you are a practicing lawyer in another jurisdiction, you have to meet the requirements Admission on Motions:
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Contact details of the Montana state bar
If you wish to contact the Montana Board of Bar Examiners with inquiries regarding the Montana Bar Exam, please see the details below.
|Phone Number||(406) 442-7660|
|Mailing Address||33 S. Last Chance Gulch
P.O. Box 577
Helena, Montana 59624
Montana Bar Exam FAQs
The Montana Bar Exam consists of 12 testing hours divided equally between two days.
You must have graduated from an ABA-accredited law school to take the Montana Bar Exam.
The Montana Bar Exam is as hard as that of the 40 other jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE. However, states with non-UBE components may be considered more difficult.
Applications for the Montana bar examination must be postmarked or hand-delivered to the Bar Admissions Administrator by specific deadlines: October 1st for the February exam, and March 15th for the July exam.
You have 3 attempts to pass the UBE.
Retaking the Montana Bar exam costs $310.
The minimum passing UBE score for Montana is 266.
Montana does not have formal reciprocity. Rather, if you are a practicing lawyer in another jurisdiction, you must meet the requirements for Admission on Motion.
You can transfer your UBE score to another jurisdiction if said jurisdiction allows it.
What is the time limit for accepting a transferred UBE score in Montana(i.e., maximum age of the UBE score)?
The maximum age for the UBE score in Montana is 3 years.
You may be admitted without examination to the Montana Bar if you’ve been actively engaged in the practice of law for 5 of the 7 years immediately preceding your application and you meet these requirements.
We recommend dedicating 400 study hours to the MT Bar Exam. Most students begin studying 8-10 weeks before 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 Montana.
The typical path to becoming a licensed attorney in Montana is as follows: earn an undergraduate degree, pass the LSAT, earn a JD from an ABA-accredited law school, be deemed of good moral character and fitness, pass the MPRE, pass the bar exam, and be approved for admission to the bar.
Fill out and submit the Accommodations Application. Forms are due no later than the late application deadline for the exam you wish to take.