The New Jersey Bar Exam
Structure, Topics, Dates, Cost, Scores, and Eligibility
The New Jersey Bar Exam has been administering the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE®) since February 2017. The UBE consists of the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE®), Multistate Performance Test (MPT®), and Multistate Essay Examination (MEE®). The uniformity of the exam increases the ease of transferability across participating jurisdictions, which is great news for prospective lawyers who may want to move in the future. This article provides detailed information regarding NJ bar exam results, dates, deadlines, locations, pass rates, and more.
New Jersey 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
The MBE is weighted at 50% of the UBE, making it the most heavily weighted section of the New Jersey Bar Exam. Examinees will have two 3-hour sessions to answer a total of 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.
New Jersey Bar Exam Dates, Requirements, and Scheduling
Preparing your application for the New Jersey Bar Exam and submitting it before the first deadline will save you hundreds of dollars. Applications open on October 1, 2023, and March 1, 2024, for the 2024 February and July exams, respectively.
Exam Dates & Fees
Examinees can begin filing their applications for the New Jersey State Bar Exam on October 1, 2023, and March 1, 2024, for the 2024 February and July exams, respectively. Additional fees are levied for applications submitted within the timely and late filing periods.
|February 27-28, 2024
|July 30-31, 2024
|October 1-31, 2023
|March 1-31, 2024
|November 1-15, 2023
|April 1-15, 2024
|November 16-30, 2023
|April 16-30, 2024
The New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners requires examinees to have graduated with a JD from an American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law school (or its equivalent) before they can sit for the bar.
Attorneys wishing to transfer to New Jersey must be in good standing in the jurisdiction(s) where they have been admitted, as evidenced by a Certificate of Good Standing. Certificates must be issued within six months of your bar application submission.
You must schedule your bar exam during the application process. To submit an application with the New Jersey Board of Admissions to the Bar, you must first create a personal NJ Bar Admission Registration account on their official website. Your account will enable you to register for the bar exam and schedule your exam date.
Complete the online application and character questionnaires, and then submit payment via credit card or "paper.” Then upload a signed and notarized Authorization and Release form. Your assigned file manager will acknowledge your submission with a post on your User Home Page, along with additional instructions.
New Jersey Bar Exam Costs and Fees
Fees and costs associated with registering for the New Jersey Bar Exam vary depending on the examinee's status (first-time examinee, repeater, etc.) and the date they file. Below is a detailed and up-to-date list of exam-related fees.
Application and other fees associated with the New Jersey Bar Exam vary depending on the filing period. All fees related to applications, admission to motion, UBE score transfer, etc., are tabulated below.
Payments must be made via credit card or non-refundable cashier's check/money order through the mail (payable to the “Secretary, Board of Bar Examiners”). Applicants must make credit card payments before 11:30 pm EST to ensure they are posted that day (payments cannot be processed between 11:30 pm - 12:00 am EST). All fees are non-refundable.
Between filing fees and exam prep costs, the journey to practice law can be expensive. The good news is that most jurisdictions offer scholarships to help pay for these costs.
For example, the New Jersey State Bar Foundation (NJSBF) awards scholarships to worthy students entering their second or third year of law school. New Jersey law school students are encouraged to apply for one or more of the thirteen annual scholarships.
New Jersey-based Sten Hall University School of Law has compiled a comprehensive list of third-party scholarships designed to help law students with the costs associated with law school, bar exam registration, and bar preparation. You may view the list here: Outside Scholarships.
Other New Jersey Bar Exam cost-saving resources include the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association (NJWLA), which has a scholarship program for students pursuing Juris Doctorate degrees. In 2023, NJWLA will award $5,000 grants to one student from each of New Jersey's law schools: Rutgers University Law School – Camden, Rutgers University Law School – Newark, and Seton Hall University Law School.
As a NJ bar exam applicant, we encourage you to explore these and other resources and apply to as many available scholarships for which you are eligible to help you with your bar exam and/or bar prep costs.
New Jersey Bar Exam Subjects and Topics
The NJ bar exam tests an examinee's ability to analyze and reason alongside their knowledge and understanding of fundamental legal principles. Furthermore, since New Jersey has adopted the UBE, a successful exam score represents one's competency and readiness to practice law in the 40 other participating jurisdictions.
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 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.
- 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.
The following MBE subjects will be tested on the New Jersey Bar Exam:
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Law/Procedure
- Federal Civil Procedure
- Real Property
You may find a complete list of subjects and subtopics here: MBE Subject Matter Outline.
The two MPT questions present a case scenario with both relevant and irrelevant facts, statutes, and data for you to interpret and scrutinize to arrive at a reasonable conclusion. The MPT challenges your ability to think like a lawyer and apply your understanding of legal concepts in analyzing real-world situations.
New Jersey Bar Exam Scoring/Grading
To be admitted into the New Jersey 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:
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.
NJ MPRE Minimum Passing Score
Before you can practice law in New Jersey, you must also pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE®) with a scaled score of 75 or more. The MPRE features 60 multiple-choice questions administered over two hours. Of these 60 questions, only 50 are scored. The remaining 10 are pilot questions for future exams.
New Jersey Bar Exam Pass Rates
As is common with bar exams across the United States, the New Jersey 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.
The best way to be among those who pass the New Jersey Bar Exam the first time is to prepare with questions and mock exams that mimic the actual exam. If practice feels like the real thing, the real thing will feel like practice.
New Jersey Bar Exam Results
Generally, exam results are released in October and April for the February and July exams, respectively.
What Makes the New Jersey Bar Exam Unique?
While New Jersey has adopted the UBE, the state requires that applicants who apply for admission by motion take 1.5 credit hours of New Jersey Ethics and Professionalism coursework online. Furthermore, New Jersey mandates all active attorneys in the state to complete 24 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) every two years.
The difference between those who fail the New Jersey 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 New Jersey 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:
Contact Details of New Jersey State Bar
Prospective applicants looking to contact the New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners for general exam inquiries can refer to the information tabulated below:
|New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners Contact Information
(US Postal Service)
|New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners
P.O. Box 973
Trenton, NJ 08625-0973
(DHL, FedEx, UPS, etc.)
|New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners
Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex
25 W. Market Street
8th Floor, North Wing
Trenton, NJ 08611
New Jersey Bar Exam FAQs
The New Jersey Bar Exam is administered twice a year—on the last Tuesday and Wednesday in February and July.
The NJ Bar Exam lasts two days. The MEE and MPT each last 3 hours on day one, and the MBE is divided into two 3-hour sessions (100 questions each) on day two.
Foreigners who do not have a JD from an ABA-approved law school cannot take the NJ bar exam. You must have a degree from an ABA-approved law school or be a lawyer transferring from another jurisdiction.
New Jersey has no set limits on the number of times applicants can sit for the NJ State Bar Exam, so if you fail the bar exam the first time, it’s not the end of the world. You can learn from your mistakes and try again.
The MEE and MPT scores scale to the MBE, with the MBE, weighted at 50%, MEE at 30%, and MPT at 20%. Applicants must earn a total scaled score of 266 or higher to pass the New Jersey Bar Exam.
You cannot transfer your MBE score independently to New Jersey. However, you can transfer your UBE score, which includes your MBE score.
It takes approximately 400 hours to study for the NJ Bar Exam. Most students begin studying 8-10 weeks out. However, beginning sooner can increase retention and decrease burnout, so we recommend starting as early as 4-6 months out, if possible.
No, you cannot practice law in New Jersey without a law degree.
To become a licensed attorney in NJ, you must graduate from an ABA-approved law school, pass the UBE and the MPRE, and apply for the state bar. In contrast, you may also transfer your UBE results from another jurisdiction.
New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners — Fees and Deadlines