The New Mexico Bar Exam

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

Beginning in February 2016, the New Mexico Bar Examination transitioned to the National Conference of Bar Examiners' (NCBE®) Uniform Bar Examination (UBE®) format. This format consists of three components: the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE®), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT®), and the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE®).

Aspiring lawyers who plan to practice in various states can take advantage of the improved score portability across the 41 participating UBE jurisdictions. This guide offers comprehensive information on the NM Bar Exam results, schedules, deadlines, fees, applications, and more.

New Mexico Bar Exam Structure

The New Mexico Bar Exam follows the exam structure of the UBE. Examinees will sit for the MPT and MEE on day one and the MBE on day two. Details regarding the time constraints and content of each component are as follows:

New Mexico Bar Exam follows UBE Structure and format

New Mexico Bar Exam Dates, Requirements, and Scheduling

You can’t pass a test you can’t take. That’s why it’s so important to familiarize yourself with eligibility requirements, filing deadlines, and the scheduling process. Below we provide a simple outline of the most important information you need to know to get started with your NM Bar Exam.

Exam Dates

While there are 3 filing deadlines, we highly recommend filing for the New Mexico Bar Exam as early as possible to avoid progressively higher late fees. See the schedule below for details.

Filing Periods February 27-28, 2024 exam July 30-31, 2024 exam Fee
1st Deadline September 20 January 20 $500
2nd Deadline November 2 April 2 $700
Final Deadline December 2 May 2 $1,000


To sit for the New Mexico Bar Exam, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Education — Must hold a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) or a JD from a non-ABA approved law school and have practice law for four out of the six years preceding the application.
  • Character and Fitness — Must successfully complete a character and fitness evaluation, demonstrating their moral and ethical fitness to practice law in the state.
  • Application — Must submit a completed application by the specified deadline, including all required documents and fees.
  • State-Specific Law Component — Must complete and pass the New Mexico state-specific law course.


To schedule your New Mexico Bar Exam Application appointment, follow these steps:

  1. Create an NCBE Account and obtain an NCBE Account Number
  2. Upload a copy of the NCBE Character and Fitness Application
  3. Register for the correct New Mexico Bar Exam through the NCBE
  4. Upload the NCBE Acknowledgement of Complete Application Page
  5. Upload Authorization and Release and Certificate of Understanding Form
  6. Pay the required fee
  7. Upload a copy of a current credit report
  8. Upload the Laptop Release of Liability Form (if applicable)
  9. Upload Non-Standard Testing Accommodations Request Form (PDF) (if applicable)
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Illustration of larceny.

New Mexico Bar Exam Cost and Fees

The application fee for the New Mexico Bar Exam is cheaper ($500) for those who apply with less than one year until they graduate from law school. Examinees who want to take a repeat exam within one year of their failed exam may do so for a fee of $100. In all other cases, the application fee is $1,000. We recommend submitting your application as soon as possible to avoid late fees.

Application Fees
Less than 1 year of law school left $500
Repeat exam within 1 year $100
All other $1,000
Late Fees
First Late +$200
Second Late +$500
Other Application Fees
Admission on Motion $2,500

All fees are non-refundable. Remittances for fees must be made payable to the New Mexico Board of Bar Examiners.

Cost-Saving Options

A $500 to $1,000 application fee isn't cheap. Neither is law school. Fortunately, there are cost-saving options available to eligible candidates. The University of New Mexico (UNM), for example, offers a Bar Examination Scholarship and Loans every year to graduating third-year law students to aid their preparation for the bar exam.

UNM isn't your only option. Check out the AccessLex Institute Law School Scholarship Databank for a scholarship that may be better suited to your situation. The ABA, which offers 100+ opportunities and programs for young lawyers and law students, is also worth looking into. Even if you don’t qualify for a scholarship, there are some basic things you can do 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.

New Mexico Bar Exam Subjects and Topics

The NM Bar Exam covers a wide range of subjects and topics, from Constitutional Law to Criminal Law. Through this examination, future attorneys demonstrate their ability to analyze complex legal issues, complete entry-level legal tasks, and effectively represent their clients in New Mexico's legal system.

MEE: Testable Subjects

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. Subjects include:

Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) Subjects

Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) Subjects

Some subjects may show up together. Others may not show up at all. Until you’re sitting for the MEE, you’ll have no way of knowing what subjects you’ll confront. However, historically, some subjects have been tested more frequently than others. For instance, over the past ten years, Civil Procedure has been tested on practically every MEE, whereas Criminal Law has only been tested sporadically. Less common topics, however, may still appear alongside others.

Check out our MEE Study Guide and Prep Tips for details on planning your studies and determining what's essential so you use your time wisely. Also, check out our MEE Subject Matter Outline for in-depth explanations of MEE subjects and sub-topics.

MBE: Testable subjects

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 pilots 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:

Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) Subjects

Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) Subjects

MPT: Testable items

The MPT is designed to test a candidate's practical lawyering skills by assessing their ability to complete real-world legal tasks in a realistic and time-pressured environment. Candidates must complete written assignments, such as drafting a memo, brief, contract, or other legal documents, using materials provided (i.e., statutes, cases, and client fact patterns).

It's important to note that these tasks take place in the fictional jurisdiction of "Franklin." Legal knowledge outside of this jurisdiction does not apply. Instead, the MPT evaluates critical thinking, problem-solving, legal analysis, factual analysis, communication, organization and management of a legal task, and the recognition and resolution of ethical dilemmas.

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New Mexico MPRE Requirements

Applicants must take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE®) before they can be admitted to the New Mexico Bar within five years of an applicant's bar exam date or one year following a bar exam appointment where a successful score was achieved. Read our article, About the MPRE, to learn more about the mandatory exam.

MPRE minimum passing score

New Mexico requires a minimum MPRE passing score of 80. This score sits in the middle of the lowest minimum passing score of 75 and the highest of 86. The MPRE is a 2-hour, 60-multiple-choice question exam that assesses an examinee's knowledge of the ABA's Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

New Mexico Bar Exam Scoring, Results and Pass Rates

You must achieve a minimum score of 260 out of 400 for admission to the New Mexico Bar. Since the UBE is divided into two equally weighted sections—writing (MPT/MEE) and the MBE—you want to aim for a 130 on each section. However, you do not need to score 130 on each section to pass the NM 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 260 or higher.

New Mexico Bar scoring percentages

Note that 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 a statistical method called equating. Unfortunately, the NCBE does not release data on the calculations it uses to determine scaled scores.

Exam Results and Pass Rates

The New Mexico Bar Exam's repeater pass rates are markedly lower than the first-timer pass rates. This is typical across all jurisdictions and is likely due to the fact that many who fail their first bar exam don't change their study habits or resources.

Exam Overall
Pass Rate
Pass Rate
Pass Rate
Release Date
July 2024 71% 84% 39% September 1
Feb. 2023 44% 72% 24% March 31

Here are the annual pass rates for the New Mexico 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
2022 149 79% 56 59% 205 73%
2021 183 77% 38 45% 221 71%
2020 416 86% 53 58% 469 83%
2019 239 75% 84 48% 323 68%
2018 254 73% 46 43% 300 68%
2017 238 86% 70 47% 308 77%

New Mexico Bar Exam results are typically released 6-8 weeks following an exam administration. Results were released on September 1, and March 31, for the July and February 2023 exams, respectively.

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New Mexico Bar Exam Reciprocity

To qualify for reciprocity, candidates must meet the following qualifications:

  • Have graduated with a JD from an ABA-approved law school or graduated with a JD from a non-ABA-approved law school and have practice law for four of the six years preceding the application
  • Be deemed of good moral character and be physically and mentally fit to practice law
  • Be in good standing in any other jurisdiction in which you were admitted to practice law
  • Be professionally qualified for admission to the bar of New Mexico
  • Be in compliance with any orders for child or spousal support
  • Be licensed in a state that shares reciprocity with New Mexico and has practice law in the state for five of the last seven years

New Mexico has reciprocity with the following states:

Map depicting states that have a reciprocity agreement with New Mexico

What Makes the New Mexico Bar Exam Unique?

The New Mexico Board of Bar Examiners requires that candidates take a one-day, live course on New Mexico law. The class is held four times a year via Zoom and attendees must be present for the entire 4-and-a-half-hour class to receive credit. The cost of the class is included in your application fee. Topics include Indian Law, New Mexico community property, and professionalism.

New Mexico Bar Exam for foreigners

Individuals who have graduated from foreign law schools may be eligible to take the New Mexico Bar Exam, transfer a qualifying UBE score, or apply for admission without examination if they meet certain requirements.

  • To take the exam or transfer their UBE score, they must have actively practiced law in the US state where they were admitted for 4 out of the 6 years preceding their application
  • To apply for admission without examination, they must have practiced law for five out of the seven years prior to their application.

Final Takeaways

The difference between those who fail the New Mexico 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 Mexico 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:

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Contact Details of the New Mexico State Bar

If you wish to contact the New Mexico State Board of Law Examiners office with inquiries regarding the NM Bar Exam, please see the details below.

Medium Info
Phone Number 501-374-1855
Fax Number 501-374-1855
Email cleNew [email protected]
Mailing Address 2100 Riverfront Drive,
Suite 110
Little Rock, New Mexico

New Mexico Bar Exam FAQs

The New Mexico Bar Exam consists of 12 testing hours divided equally between two days.
To take the New Mexico Bar Exam, you must have graduated from an ABA-accredited law school or have actively practiced law for four out of the six years preceding your application.
The New Mexico Bar Exam is as hard as the bar exam of the 40 other jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE. States with non-UBE components are typically considered more difficult.
The timely deadline to file your New Mexico Bar Exam application is September 20, 2023, for the February 2024 exam and January 20, 2023, for the February 2024 exam. The application fee is $500, but you will incur additional fees the later you wait to file.
There is no limit to the number of times you can take the New Mexico Bar Exam.
It costs $100 to retake the New Mexico Bar Exam.
The minimum passing UBE score is 260 for New Mexico.
New Mexico does not accept MBE score transfers from other jurisdictions.
You can transfer your UBE score to another jurisdiction so long as the jurisdiction allows it.
You may be admitted without examination to the New Mexico Bar if you’ve been actively engaged in the practice of law and meet these requirements.
We recommend dedicating 400 study hours to the NM 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 New Mexico.
To become a licensed attorney in New Mexico, you must earn an undergraduate degree, pass the LSAT, earn a JD from an ABA-accredited law school or New Mexico-approved law school, be deemed of good moral character and fitness, pass the bar exam, and be approved for admission to the bar.

You must fill out a Reasonable Testing Accommodations and submit it to your NM Bar Exam application and with all supporting documentation by the filing deadline for the exam.

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