The Washington Bar Exam
Structure, Topics, Dates, Cost, Scores, and Eligibility

The Washington Bar Exam adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE®) format and began administering it in July 2013. The UBE is divided into three sections—the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE®), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT®), and the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE®). The Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) also requires candidates successfully pass the Washington Law Component (WLC) within 40 months of passing the UBE.

Bar exam candidates that may want to eventually practice law in another state benefit from score portability between the 41 jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE. This article provides everything you need regarding WA Bar Exam results, dates, deadlines, fees, applications, and more.

Washington Bar Exam Structure

The Uniform Bar Examination is administered over two days and consists of a writing section (MPT/MEE) and a multiple-choice section (MBE).

Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) structure and schedule

Washington Bar Exam Dates, Requirements, and Scheduling

Promptly submitting your application for the Washington Bar Exam helps reduce stress and saves money. Avoid late fees that can amount to hundreds of dollars by submitting your application before the first filing deadline. Be sure to review the important deadlines, dates, and fees below.

Exam dates

Examinees can begin filing their applications for the Washington Bar exam from October 1, 2023, and March 1, 2024, for the 2023 February and July exams, respectively. Additional fees are levied for applications submitted within late filing periods.

Filing Periods February 27-28 2024 July 30-31, 2024
Application Opens September 1, 2023 February 1, 2024
Timely Filing October 5, 2023 March 5, 2024
Late Filing November 6, 2023 April 5, 2024


To take the Washington Bar Exam, you must meet the character and fitness requirements of the Washington State Bar Association and:

  • Graduate with a Juris Doctorate (JD) from an ABA-accredited law school or a law school that is a member of the Washington State Bar Association's Law School Approval Program, or
  • Complete Washington Supreme Court APR 6 Law Clerk Program, or
  • Graduate from any U.S. law school and earn an LLM degree from an ABA-accredited law school that meets the requirements of Washington Supreme Court APR 3


To schedule your Washington Bar Exam, you must apply for “Admission by Lawyer Bar Examination” through the WSBA website, submit all required documents, and pay required fees.

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Washington Bar Exam Cost and Fees

Fees and costs associated with registering for the Washington Bar Exam vary depending on the examinee's status (in-state law student, first-time applicant, in-house counsel, etc.) and the date by which they file. Below is a detailed and up-to-date list of exam-related fees.

Application Fees





Reapplicant General


Reapplicant Attorney


Foreign Law Consultant


House Counsel


Other Application Fees

Administration Fee


Character and Fitness 

(JB/LL.B will be awarded in over 1 year)


Character and Fitness 

(JB/LL.B will be awarded in under 1 year)


Character and Fitness 

(JB/LL.B will be awarded in under 1 year)


Character and Fitness 

(Law degree not obtained in US)


Admission by Motion


UBE Score Transfer (General)


UBE Score Transfer (Attorney)


Late Fees

General Applicant (total)


Attorney Applicant (total)


Payment policies

You can pay for the Washington State Bar Exam by credit card, debit card, electronic funds transfer or check. If you pay by credit or debit card, there is a non-refundable fee of 2.5%. Payments by check must be sent or postmarked by the application deadline. Payments received or postmarked after the first deadline will incur a late fee. Applications will not be accepted if payment is received or postmarked after the final deadline.

Cost-saving options

When all is said and done, costs for taking the Washington Bar Exam can easily exceed a thousand dollars. Fortunately, there are cost-saving options available. For example, the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) and the Washington Young Lawyers Committee (WYLC) offer young lawyers funding to attend American Bar Association Young Lawyer Division meetings and conferences.

You can also find law school scholarships on the LSAC website and

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Washington Bar Exam Subjects and Topics

The WA bar exam tests an examinee's ability to analyze and reason alongside their knowledge and understanding of fundamental legal principles. Furthermore, since Washington has adopted the UBE, a successful exam score represents one's competency and readiness to practice law in the 40 other participating jurisdictions.


The MBE is administered in two 3-hour sessions on Wednesday (Day 2) of the bar exam. It is scored on a 200-point scale and presents candidates with 200 multiple-choice questions spanning the following mbe subjects, broken down into 25 questions per subject:

  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law & Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Civil Procedure
  • Real Property
  • Torts


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 National Conference of Bar Examiners (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
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Family Law
  • Real Property
  • Secured Transactions
  • Torts
  • Trusts and Estates

Check out our MEE Subject Matter Outline for detailed explanations of MEE subjects and sub-topics.


The MPT consists of closed-universe practical questions with instructions, factual data, cases, statutes, and other reference material supplied by examiners. Candidates will answer two cases presenting simulated real-life scenarios to demonstrate their lawyering skills, using only the materials provided by the bar examiners. Each case is assessed on a 6-point scale, with a 6 being the highest possible score and a 0 being the lowest possible score.

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Washington Bar Exam Scoring/Grading

In order to be admitted to the Washington bar, a minimum scaled score of 270 out of 400 on the UBE is required. The weightage of the exam is divided into three sections: the MBE (50%), the MEE (30%), and the MPT (20%).

The MEE and MPT are combined and graded as half the weight of the exam, making up 200 points of the total scaled score. The writing section (MEE/MPT) and multiple-choice section (MBE) each count for 50% of the total scaled score.

Washington Bar scoring percentages

However, if one section performs poorly, it can be compensated for by a high score in the other as long as the total score is 270 or more. It's important to note that the raw score does not translate to a scaled score, as the NCBE uses a method called equating to adjust for the difficulty level of different exam versions. Unfortunately, the NCBE does not release the data on the calculations used to determine the scaled scores.

Washington MPRE minimum passing score

The minimum passing score for the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE®) in Washington State is 85 out of 120. The MPRE is a separate exam that most states, including Washington, require as part of the bar admission process. It tests an applicant's knowledge of the professional and ethical rules that govern the practice of law. The exam is composed of 60 multiple-choice questions which examinees must complete in two hours.

Washington Bar Exam Results and Pass Rates

The pass rate for repeat takers of the Washington Bar Exam is typically lower compared to first-time takers, which is consistent with the trend observed in bar exams across the country. This is likely due to the fact that many individuals who did not pass the exam on their first attempt have not made significant changes to their study habits.

Exam Overall
Pass Rate
Pass Rate
Pass Rate
Release Date
July 2023 70% 78% 33% September 8
Feb. 2023 47% 56% 37% April 7

Below are the annual pass rates for the Washington Bar Exam since 2017 divided into first-time examinees and repeaters.

Exam First Timers Repeaters Overall
Year No. Of
Pass Rate No. Of
Pass Rate No. Of
Pass Rate
2022 681 77% 207 32% 888 66%
2021 737 80% 125 22% 862 71%
2020 236 64% 168 38% 404 53%
2019 668 73% 275 38% 943 63%
2018 743 73% 263 33% 1006 63%
2017 841 74% 279 48% 1120 68%

Washington Bar Exam Results

The Board typically releases the results of the July bar exam in September and the results of the February bar exam in April. The results are posted on the Board's website.

What Makes the Washington Bar Exam Unique?

Washington requires that candidates pass the Washington Law Component before they become licensed to practice law in the state. It consists of fifteen subjects covering different areas of law specific to Washington. Examinees must answer 60 multiple-choice questions in four hours.

The WLC is self-administered by the applicants and can be accessed through the online admissions site after submitting the application and paying the fee. Additionally, Lawyer Bar Exam applicants must pass the WLC within 40 months of passing the Bar Exam.

Washington Bar Exam Reciprocity

Reciprocity is based on the assumption that the other jurisdiction has similar standards to Washington. This means that if an applicant has already passed a bar exam in another jurisdiction, they may be able to waive the Washington Bar Exam.

To be eligible for reciprocity in Washington, an applicant must:

  • Have passed a bar exam in another jurisdiction and be a member in good standing of the bar of that jurisdiction;
  • Have practiced law for at least five of the seven years immediately preceding the application in the jurisdiction where the bar exam was passed;
  • Meet the character and fitness requirements of the Washington State Bar.

Washington Bar Exam for Foreigners

Foreigners may sit for the Washington Bar Exam if they meet the following requirements.

  • Graduated from a university or law school outside the US with a degree in law that currently qualifies you to practice law in that jurisdiction and earned an LLM degree from an ABA-approved law school that meets the requirements of Washington Supreme Court APR 3; or
  • Been admitted to the practice of law in any jurisdiction where the common law of England is the basis of its jurisprudence and have active legal experience for at least three of the five years immediately preceding the filing of the application.

Final Takeaways

The difference between those who fail the Washington 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 WA Bar Exam.

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Contact Details of the Washington State Bar

You can contact the WSBA during its hours of operation - 9 am - 4 pm PST - Monday through Friday.



Phone Number


Fax Number



[email protected]


Washington State Bar Association
1325 Fourth Ave., Suite 600
Seattle, WA 98101-2539

Washington Bar Exam FAQs

No. You must have a JD from an ABA-approved law school or complete an apprenticeship program. See the requirements section of this page for details.
The WA Bar Exam lasts two days, with the MEE and MPT lasting 3 hours each on day one, and the MBE lasting 6 hours on day two.
The general application to take the Washington Bar Exam is $585. Final filing deadlines are November 6 and April 5 for the February and July exam, respectively.
Judging by the pass rates from the past three administrations, the WA Bar Exam is about as difficult as other state bar exams. Furthermore, Washington uses the UBE, so the exam is the same as 40 other participating jurisdictions.
The recommended study time for the Washington Bar Exam is approximately 400 hours, and it is recommended to start studying 8-10 weeks before the exam date. However, starting earlier, such as 4-6 months in advance, can improve retention and reduce burnout.
The minimum passing score for the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) in Washington state is 270.
There is no set limit on the number of times an individual can take the Washington bar exam. However, the WSBA requires that an applicant must wait at least six months before retaking the exam. Furthermore, applicants may not take the exam more than three times within two years, unless they are granted permission by the Board of Bar Examiners.
It costs $585 to retake the Washington Bar Exam.
Yes, Washington offers reciprocity with participating UBE jurisdictions.
The WSBA allows applicants to transfer their MBE scores from other UBE. The WSBE will only accept MBE scores from exams taken within the past 36 months, and the applicant must have achieved a score of at least 135 on the MBE.
Yes, as long as that jurisdiction has reciprocity or some other agreement with Washington. Check with your desired jurisdiction’s Board of Bar website for details.
Yes. Washington is one of four states that allows you to practice law without going to law school. However, you must complete their Law Clerk Program as an alternative to law school.
Lawyers that have been admitted to practice law in other US jurisdictions are not required to sit for the Washington Bar Exam if they are in good standing in the jurisdiction in which they currently practice law and have been actively practicing law for at least 3 of the 5 years leading up to their application.
To become a licensed attorney in Washington, you must graduate from law school, pass the bar exam, the MPRE, and the Washington Law Component. Alternatively, you can complete the Law Clerk Program and apply for admission without examination.
To request special accommodation for the Washing Bar Exam, you must apply for such accommodations 80 days before your exam date through your online admission portal and follow these instructions.
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