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All About the North Carolina Bar Exam

North Carolina is a Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) jurisdiction, meaning it administers three components: the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), and Multistate Performance Test (MPT). This detailed article will give you all the information on the UBE North Carolina Bar Exam so you are well prepared and confident as test day approaches.

Eligibility & Registration

To be eligible for admission to the North Carolina Bar via the UBE, applicants must have met all the requirements under the Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law in the State of North Carolina. Foreign attorneys intending to practice law in North Carolina must meet all the requirements under Rule .0103 - Requirements for Applicants.

To submit an application for admission to the North Carolina Board of Law Examiners, you must first create a personal account on the Board’s official website. Once you have created your account, you may apply to sit for the North Carolina Bar Exam.

Costs & Fees

Application Category February Exam July Exam Filing Deadline Fees
Non-licensed Applicant August 1, 2022 -
October 4, 2022
November 2, 2022 -
January 3, 2023
Timely $850
Non-licensed Applicant October 5, 2022 -
November 1, 2022
January 4, 2023 -
March 7, 2023
Late $1,100
Application Category February Exam July Exam Filing Deadline Fees
Licensed Attorney August 1, 2022 -
October 4, 2022
November 2, 2022 -
January 3, 2023
Timely $1,650
Licensed Attorney October 5, 2022 -
November 1, 2022
January 4, 2023 -
March 7, 2023
Late $1,900
Application Category February Exam Filing Deadline Fees
Supplemental Application August 1, 2022 - October 4, 2022 Timely $400
Supplemental Application October 5, 2022 - November 1, 2022 Late $650
Application Category July Exam Filing Deadline Fees
Supplemental Applicant November 2, 2022 - May 2, 2023 Timely $400
Supplemental Applicant *No late fee Late $400

Cost-Saving Options

It’s no secret that the journey to legal practice can get expensive. Thankfully, scholarships and grants are available to help you with all these costs. Many North Carolina 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,

For more information about any of these programs, you may email [email protected].

We strongly encourage all candidates who plan on taking the North Carolina Bar Exam to review the various scholarships and grants offered by NCBF and apply for those for which they are eligible.

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Exam Dates & Schedule

As is the case with most UBE jurisdictions, the NC Bar Exam is administered over two days:

Day 1:

  • Six 30-minute Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) questions in the morning
  • Two 90-minute Multistate Performance Test (MPT) questions in the afternoon

Day 2:

  • 200-question Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) – with 100 questions in the morning and 100 in the afternoon.

Structure & Subjects

The NC Bar Exam tests applicants on the following:

Multistate Essay Exam (MEE)

The six 30-minute essay questions on the MEE test cover the following subjects:

  • Business Associations (Agency and Partnership; Corporations; and Limited Liability Companies)
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Family Law
  • Trusts and Estates (Decedents' Estates; Trusts and Future Interests)
  • Article 9 (Secured Transactions) of the Uniform Commercial Code
    • Plus all MBE subjects

Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)

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

  • Civil Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • 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 challenges applicants to use legal reasoning skills to analyze two 90-minute performance case questions presenting legal scenarios to determine the right course of action an attorney should take in response to the case facts. The questions will provide detailed instructions, factual data, statutes, and other references to test your legal analysis skills in distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant facts in a case.

Note: Before practicing law in North Carolina, you must also pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) with a minimum scaled score of 80. Click here to register to take the MPRE or to request the transfer of your MPRE score from another jurisdiction to North Carolina.

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Scoring and Pass Rates

As with most UBE jurisdictions, the MEE and MPT scores are scaled to the MBE, with the following weightings:

  • MBE weighted 50%

    Of the 200 total multiple-choice questions, 175 are scored questions used to determine your performance, while 25 are unscored questions being evaluated for use on future MBE examinations. Each scored MBE question you answer correctly receives one raw score point.

  • MEE weighted 30%

    Each essay answer receives a raw score on a 0-6 point scale, with the answers scored on a relative basis and no passing or failing score. Your raw score for a particular answer reflects your performance relative to that of the other examinees on that particular question. The three scores are then combined to determine if the applicant earned a passing score of 270. Below is a breakdown of how the scores of each UBE bar exam component are calculated:

  • MPT weighted 20%

    Each performance test item response receives a raw score on a 0-6 point scale, with the answers scored on a relative basis and no passing or failing score. Your raw score for a particular answer reflects your performance relative to that of the other examinees on that particular question.

For more details, visit Understanding your Examination Score on the NC Bar Exam

Regarding the NC bar exam results, for the most recent February 2022 test, the North Carolina bar exam pass rate for all test-takers was 50%, 62% for first-time, and 33% for repeat test-takers.

The table below shows the past two administrations’ results:

NC Bar Exam Results Overall Pass Rate First-Timer Pass Rate Repeater Pass Rate Results Release Date
February 2022 50% 62% 33% March 28, 2022
July 2021 75% 83.98% 33.57% September 14, 2021

Source: Bar Exam Results by Jurisdiction - NCBE
Pass rates | Themis Bar Review

North Carolina Bar Exam Reciprocity

Admission by Score Transfer

As of July 1, 2019, when North Carolina adopted the UBE, the state will accept transfers of qualifying UBE scores from applicants who achieved those scores in other UBE states. However, North Carolina does not currently accept the transfer of MBE scores earned in another jurisdiction.

Admission by Comity

The North Carolina Bar Exam allows applicants to gain admission to the North Carolina Board of Law Examiners by comity (or reciprocity). To be eligible to submit a comity application, you must be a able to demonstrate that you:

  • are a member of a reciprocating state bar,
  • have engaged in the active practice of law for 4 of the 6 years immediately preceding your application,
  • have passed the MPRE, and
  • have fulfilled all additional requirements.

What Makes the North Carolina Bar Exam Unique?

Individuals seeking admission to the North Carolina bar via examination, UBE score transfer, or admission without examination as an experienced out-of-state attorney will be required to complete the North Carolina State-Specific Component of the Uniform Bar Examination. The North Carolina State-Specific Component is an online course designed to familiarize individuals wishing to practice law in North Carolina with the following six subject areas of the law as it applies to the Tar Heel State:

  • Estate Planning & Administration,
  • Criminal Law,
  • Family Law,
  • Real Estate,
  • Torts, and
  • Workers’ Compensation.

Final Takeaways

Judging by the most recent NC bar exam results, the North Carolina Bar Exam is among the most difficult bar exams in the country. That’s why it is important to prepare with the right bar prep review that helps you practice with proven MBE strategies and tactics.

Good luck with your NC Bar Exam preparation!

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North Carolina Bar Exam FAQs

Judging by the pass rates from the past three administrations (February 2022, July 2021, and February 2021), the NC Bar Exam is about as challenging as those administered in other UBE jurisdictions. The state-specific component also presents a unique challenge to bar applicants.
The North Carolina bar exam pass rate for the most recent February 2022  bar exam was 50% for all test-takers, 62% for first-time, and 33% for repeat takers.
The NC Bar Exam lasts two days, with the MEE and MPT lasting 3 hours and the MBE lasting 6 hours.
North Carolina imposes no set limits on the number of times you can take the NC State Bar Exam, so if you fail the exam on your first try, you can come up with a better game plan to perform better and pass on your next attempt.
North Carolina has comity with the following states: AK, CO, CT, DC, GA, IL, IN, IA, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NH, NY, ND, OH, OK, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, WY.
The North Carolina UBE Bar Exam is scored on a 400-point scale, with a minimum passing score of 270 or greater, equating to 135 on the MBE’s 200-point scale. Both MPT questions are worth 20% total, the MEE 30%, and the MBE 50%.
North Carolina makes bar exam results available approximately five to six weeks after the exam. The NC Bar Exam February 2022 exam results were released on March 28, 2022. The NC Bar Exam July 2021 exam results were released on November 18, 2021.
Yes, as long as they meet all the requirements under the North Carolina State Board of Law Examiners’ Rule .0103 – Requirements for Applicants.

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