Everything's bigger in Texas. That includes the bar exam. Like other jurisdictions, the Texas Bar Exam is among the rigorous high-stakes licensure exams you will ever take. The good news is that you can pass the Texas Bar Exam with the right strategy and proper preparation. This article will offer you insights on the Texas Bar Exam so that you can step into the testing center with the confidence of the newest sheriff in town.
Exam Dates and Administration
As of February 2021, Texas has adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). The UBE is administered, graded, and scored across all UBE member jurisdictions, allowing candidates to take and pass one UBE exam and conveniently transfer their scores to other (member) jurisdictions where they intend to practice law.
The UBE features the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), and the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE). Each year, the UBE is scheduled on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July.
- On day one, candidates take the MEE in the morning and the MPT in the afternoon. Each exam lasts three hours.
- On day two, candidates will have a total of six hours to complete the MBE in two 3-hour sessions (morning and afternoon).
UBE Schedule Summary:
|Exam Sessions||Exam Component||Format & Hours|
|Tuesday Morning||MEE||6 Essays, 3 Hours|
|Tuesday Evening||MPT||2 Items, 3 Hours|
|Wednesday Morning||MBE||100 Questions, 3 Hours|
|Wednesday Evening||MBE||100 Questions, 3 Hours|
Please take note of the following relevant exam dates and filing fees:
|Exam Dates||Exam Location||Exam Fee||Filing Deadlines & Late Fees|
Structure & Subjects
Texas administers the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). The minimum UBE total score required to be licensed in Texas is 270, reported on a 400-point scale.
The Texas Bar Examination has three parts, weighted as follows to calculate a UBE total score:
- Multistate Performance Test (MPT) = 20%
- Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) = 30%
- Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) = 50%
The UBE evaluates a candidate’s readiness to practice law in any jurisdiction by assessing their competencies in general law principles, factual analysis, legal analysis and reasoning, and communication skills in these areas.
The MPT consists of practical questions using 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. Each case is assessed on a 6-point scale, with a 6 being the highest possible score and a 0 the lowest possible score.
The MEE tests candidates with six 30-minute essays. Each essay is assessed on a 6-point scale, with a 6 being the highest possible score and a 0 the lowest possible score. The MEE essays revolve around 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 (see below)
The MBE is reported on a 200-point scale and presents candidates with 200 multiple-choice questions spanning the following subjects:
- Contracts (includes UCC Article 2 Sales)
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Law and Procedure
- Civil Procedure
- Real Property
Note: Before you can be licensed to practice law in Texas, you must also pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) with a scaled score of 85 or higher. The MPRE features 60 multiple-choice questions administered over two hours
What Makes the Texas Bar Exam Unique?
In addition to passing all the components of the bar exam, requirements for licensure in Texas also include:
- Completing the Texas Law Course
- Satisfying Rule 2(a)(5) (U.S. Citizen or alien allowed to practice in the USA)
- Scoring 85 or higher on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination
- Enrolling in the State Bar of Texas
- Taking the Attorney's Oath required by Government Code §82.037
- If you do not satisfy all licensing and admission requirements within two years of the date we notify you of your passing Bar Exam score, the score will be void. Rule 2(b)
Cost and Fees
- Declaration of Intention to Study Law: $190
- Bar Exam Registration:
- Texas Law Student: $300
- Out of State Law Student: $490
- U.S. Attorneys: $1,040
- Foreign-Trained Applicants: $1,140
- Reapplicants: $320
- Courtesy Seat: $300
- UBE Transfer:
- Texas Law Student: $300
- Out-of-State Law Student $490
- U.S.-Trained Attorneys $1,040
- Foreign-Trained Applicants $1,140
- Admission Without Examination: $890
- Foreign Legal Consultant: $990
- Foreign Legal Consultant Renewal: $150
- Military Attorney: $25
- Military Attorney Renewal: $25
- Temporary License for Military Spouse: $0
- Determination of Character and Fitness: $25
- February Exam App. filed by November 1: $150
- February Exam App filed by December 1: $300
- July Exam App. filed by April 1: $150
- July Exam App. filed by May 1: $300
- Laptop Application Fee: $50
- Incomplete Fee: $75
- Transfer Texas MBE score to another jurisdiction: $25
- Check Return Fee: $25
Bar exam costs can be prohibitive for most law school students and graduates. That’s why we recommend the following cost-savings options for your consideration to help you register and prepare for the Texas Bar Exam:
State Bar of Texas Diversity in the Profession Committee Bar Exam Prep ScholarshipThis scholarship helps diverse students become attorneys by assisting them to overcome financial burdens that prevent them from adequately preparing for the Texas Bar Exam. It is available to all diverse third-year law school students or graduates within the past 12 months of an ABA-accredited Texas law school preparing for the Texas Bar Exam. Learn more.
State Bar of Texas Law Student Division Scholarships
Each year, the Law Student Division of the State Bar of Texas offers its members an exclusive $1,000 scholarship:
- Legal Professionalism Award (in the Fall)
- Essay Contest Award (in the Spring)
The Bar Exam Study Support Scholarship
The State Bar of Texas Diversity in the Profession Committee offers this scholarship to diverse Texas law school students. It is designed to help minority populations attending law school enter the legal profession and further diversify the State Bar. Learn more.
For more diversity scholarships and awards available to Texas law students, visit Diversity Scholarships & Awards | Diversity | About Texas Tech School of Law | School of Law | TTU.
Texas Bar Exam FAQs
The Texas Bar Exam passing rates have fluctuated significantly from year to year. Below are the overall pass rates for the Texas Bar Exam over the past three years:
Note that the significant disparity observed from 2020 to 2021 was due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The re-application fee for both students and attorneys wanting to retake the exam is $75.
Texas imposes a limit to the number of attempts to take the UBE. You may only retake the UBE in Texas up to a maximum of five times.
Being part of UBE jurisdictions, the students who appeared for the Texas bar exam can transfer their scores to other UBE jurisdictions. Passing scores in different jurisdictions range from 260-280. Applicants who wish to transfer their scores to Texas will need a minimum score of 270, transfer within the 2- or 5-year limit, and complete the Texas Bar Course through the State Bar of Texas. Also, other students who want to practice in Texas can transfer their scores from other jurisdictions, provided they meet the passing score.
What is the time limit for accepting a transferred UBE score in Texas (i.e., maximum age of the UBE score)?
You may transfer your earned UBE score from another jurisdiction to Texas for bar admission as long as you do so:
- within two years immediately preceding the date you submit a transfer application to Texas, or
- within five years immediately preceding the date you submit a transfer application to the Texas Board of Law Examiners if you have been actively and substantially engaged in the lawful practice of law as your principal business or occupation for at least two of the last three years immediately preceding the date you submit your transfer application.
The minimum passing UBE score for Texas is 270.
That depends on the jurisdiction to which you seek to transfer your MBE score. If they accept MBE scores from other jurisdictions, then you can transfer your Texas MBE score.
No, Texas does not accept MBE scores from other jurisdictions.
Texas only offers reciprocity with other UBE jurisdictions. While Texas does not have bar reciprocity with non-UBE jurisdictions, attorneys licensed in other states can practice by obtaining permission from the Bar of Texas. This process is called Texas Admission Without Examination.
Texas will accept admission on motion if the applicant:
- has been actively engaged in legal practice for at least 5 of 7 years immediately preceding the application
- has a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school has a valid, active license
- has been a member of the bar in good standing at all times
The Texas Board of Law Examiners generally announces the Texas Bar Exam results eight to nine weeks after the administration of the bar examination. The July exam results are typically released in early October, and the Board will post a list of passing applicants on its website.
Like its counterparts, the Texas Bar Exam is consistently challenging. But with the right study plan and prep partner, you can be among the success stories. No matter how you choose to prepare for it, we wish you the best of luck with the Texas Bar Exam! We hope you will find this information helpful as you study for the high-stakes exam.