The North Dakota Bar Exam
Structure, Topics, Dates, Cost, Scores, and Eligibility
North Dakota was among the three first adopters of the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE®), first administering it in February 2011. The North Dakota Bar Exam divides the exam into three UBE 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 ND Bar Exam results, dates, deadlines, fees, applications, and more.
North Dakota Bar Exam Structure
The Uniform Bar Examination (UBE®) is divided into two days, each with 6 testing hours. The MPT and MEE are administered on day one, and the MBE on day two.
North Dakota Bar Exam Dates, Requirements, and Scheduling
You can’t pass an exam that you can’t take. Mark the dates and deadlines shown below on your calendar, and be sure to review the eligibility requirements.
An application is considered filed when received by the director, but it is not deemed complete until all required releases, notarized forms, and supplementary documents are received. After the exam application deadline, you can still submit a completed application up to 30 days later by paying an additional $150 late application fee.
|Filing Deadline||February 27-28, 2024||July 30-31, 2024||Fee|
|First||October 1, 2023||March 15, 2024||$550|
|Final||November 11, 2023||May 1, 2024||$700|
To sit for the ND Bar Exam, you must:
- Graduate from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) with a Juris Doctorate (JD) (those with only a bachelor of laws degree (LLB) are not eligible)
- Complete a Character and Fitness Application through the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE®).
- Have earned a bachelor's degree or equivalent
- Fill out and submit a Petition for Admission and Authorization and Release Form, upload all supporting documents, and pay the associated fees.
- You must submit a Character and Fitness Application via the NCBE. The investigation will not be completed until you’ve passed the North Dakota Bar Exam.
- Make sure that 3rd party documents (transcripts, Character and Fitness Application, etc.) are sent directly from the 3rd party to the Board of Law Examiners.
- After you’ve submitted your application and all supporting documents to the address below, look for a confirmation email stating that it’s been accepted and is being processed. The Board may reach out if they require additional documents.
- You will receive confirmation of your eligibility no less than 2 weeks before the exam.
|Address||State Board of Law Examiners
Judicial Wing, 1st Floor
600 E. Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, ND 58505-0530
Pass the MBE Your First Time.
North Dakota Bar Exam Cost and Fees
Wyoming requires law students to file a registration application for the bar exam by October 1 of their 2nd year of law school (or 14 months after their first day of law school). You do not have to pay the registration fee if you file on time. After the deadline, late fees begin at $150 and increase incrementally to $400.
|Admission on Motion||$400|
|Late Fees (Total)|
*After October 1, but before November 1 of your 2nd year of law school.
Pay the North Dakota Bar Exam application by check or money order payable to the State Board of Law Examiners. Fees are non-refundable. Late fees are not charged if you fail the bar exam and retake the one immediately following it.
- The University of North Dakota School of Law offers 975+ scholarships, many are for law students. Some of these scholarships are valued at over $7,000; visit their website and search by “law.”
- Browse AccessLex Institute Law School Scholarship Databank
- Check out the ABA website, which offers 100+ opportunities and programs for young lawyers and law students.
- Join a study group and split the bar exam preparation materials cost 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.
North Dakota Bar Exam Subjects and Topics
The ND 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
Some MEE subjects may be tested together. Others may not be tested at all. For example, Civil Procedure has been tested on almost every MEE for the past ten years, while Criminal Law has only appeared a few times.
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 act as field tests for future exams.
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.
Work with a dedicated attorney essay grader who will grade your essays and provide feedback.
North Dakota MPRE Requirements
The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (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 have to pass the MPRE before taking the North Dakota Bar Exam, but you must earn a passing score before being admitted to the North Dakota Bar.
If you’ve earned your score more than 5 years before the acceptance of your application, it will not be accepted. A passing score must be earned within 2 years of an application for admission to the bar. You can register to take the MPRE through the NCBE.
North Dakota MPRE Minimum Passing Score
North Dakota has an MPRE minimum passing score of 85. 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.
North Dakota 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 a statistical method called equating. Unfortunately, the NCBE does not release data on the calculations it uses to determine scaled scores.
North Dakota bar exam scoring/grading
North Dakota minimum passing score is 260. 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 ND bar exam. For example, an exceptional MBE score 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.
North Dakota bar exam results and pass rates
You'll notice that the North Dakota Bar Exam's repeater pass rates are substantially lower than the first-timer pass rates. 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.
|Exam||Overall Pass Rate||First-Timer Pass Rate||Repeater Pass Rate||Results Release Date|
|July 2023||60%||67%||29%||September 7|
|Feb. 2023||54%||69%||43%||April 4|
Here are the annual pass rates for the North Dakota Bar Exam since 2017 divided into first-time examinees and repeaters:
Results are typically released 7 weeks after an exam administration. Below are the pass rates for the past 6 years.
North Dakota Bar Exam Reciprocity
Wyoming does not have formal reciprocity with any state. However, Wyoming does allow Admission on Motion (admission without examination). Attorneys are considered eligible for Admission on Motion if they meet the following requirements:
Need more proof? We are the only bar review course that publishes our pass rates every year.
What Makes the North Dakota Bar Exam Unique?
The North Dakota Bar Exam is not unique as it follows the same UBE format as many other states. However, North Dakota has a “minimum applicant requirement”—a unique provision that the February examination's administration is contingent upon receiving a minimum number of applicants (for instance, 17 or more). If the number of applicants is less than the threshold, application fees are refunded (though the character and fitness investigative fee remains non-refundable).
North Dakota also has a provision for law students, allowing them to register in their third year if they plan to take the bar exam in the state shortly after graduation.
North Dakota bar exam for foreigners
Graduates of foreign law schools are not eligible to sit for the North Dakota Bar Exam.
The difference between those who fail the North Dakota 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 ND 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 the North Dakota state bar
|Phone Number||(701) 328-4201 (voice)|
|Fax||(701) 328-4480 (fax)|
|Mailing Address||State Board of Law Examiners
Judicial Wing, First Floor
600 E Boulevard Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58505-0530
North Dakota Bar Exam FAQs
The North Dakota Bar Exam consists of 12 testing hours divided equally between two days.
The North Dakota Bar Exam is as hard as the bar exam of the 40 other jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE. However, states with non-UBE components may be considered more difficult.
The timely filing deadline for the North Dakota Bar Exam application is October 1, 2023, for the February 2024 exam and March 15, 2024, for the July 2024 exam. Application fees range from $150-700.
North Dakota allows 6 UBE attempts.
Retaking the North Dakota Bar exam costs $150, or $300 if filed late.
The minimum passing UBE score for North Dakota is 260.
North Dakota does not offer formal reciprocity. However, it does offer Admission on Motion.
You cannot transfer your MBE score from another jurisdiction to North Dakota.
You can transfer your UBE score to another jurisdiction if that jurisdiction allows it.
What is the time limit for accepting a transferred UBE score in North Dakota(i.e., maximum age of the UBE score)?
The maximum age for the UBE score in North Dakota is 2 years from the date you took the exam in another jurisdiction.
You may be admitted without examination to the North Dakota Bar if you’ve been actively engaged in the practice of law and meet these requirements.
We recommend dedicating 400 study hours to the ND 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 North Dakota.
The typical path to becoming a licensed attorney in North Dakota 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 it the Special Accommodations Request forms and submit them with your application.