What is the Bar Exam?
In order to obtain a license to practice law, almost all law school graduates must apply for bar admission through a state board of bar examiners. The Bar Exam is an examination administered in each state to assess whether or not a candidate is competent to practice law in that jurisdiction. Most often this board is an agency of the highest state court in the jurisdiction, but occasionally the board is connected more closely to the state’s bar association. The criteria for eligibility to take the bar examination or to otherwise qualify for bar admission are set by each state.
What is on the Bar Exam?
The format for each state’s bar exam is different, but usually is broken into three parts. The first part is the Multistate Bar Examination, or the MBE. The second portion of the Bar Exam is called the Multistate Bar Examination and is usually “state specific,” where each state tests candidates on unique aspects of its laws. The state specific portion of the bar examination is usually administered in essay format. The MEE is used to determine effective communication in writing, specifically the ability to: identify legal issues raised by real-life, factual scenarios, differentiate between relevant and non-relevant information, present a reasoned analysis of relevant information through clarity in writing and composition, and demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental legal principles that are relevant to the issues tested. The third portion of the Bar Exam is the Multistate Performance Test, or the MPT. The MPT is designed to test the examinee’s ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation. The MPT evaluates the ability to complete a task that a beginning lawyer should be able to accomplish.
New York Bar Exam Scores
The passing score for the UBE in New York is 266 on a 400 point scale. An applicant must achieve a score of 266 or higher on the UBE, whether taken in New York or another jurisdiction, in order to qualify for admission in New York.
New York Bar Exam Requirements
An applicant for admission in New York must also take and complete an online course in New York-specific law, known as the New York Law Course, and must take and pass an online examination, known as the New York Law Exam. Applicants must comply with the 50 hour pro bono service requirement. Applicants must also take and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. Additionally, applicants who commence their law school studies after August 1, 2016 must comply with the new Skills Competency Requirement set forth in Section 520.18 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals.
What is the New York Law Course?
The NYCL is an online, on demand course on important and unique principles of New York law in the subjects of Administrative Law, Business Relationships, Civil Practice and Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Matrimonial and Family Law, Professional Responsibility, Real Property, Torts and Tort Damages, and Trusts, Wills and Estates. The NYLC consists of approximately 15 hours of recorded lectures with embedded questions which must be answered correctly before an applicant can continue viewing the lecture. An applicant must complete all of the videos before the applicant may register for the New York Law Exam.
Preparing for the Bar Exam
- Selecting a Bar review provider. There are several internet tools that have been created to help law students prepare for the essay portion of the bar exam. Your goal is to pick an approach that will give you best chance at bar exam success.
- Hire a Bar Exam tutor. Bar exam tutors can be a great resource to help you study for the bar exam because they structure your program to your needs and give you individualized feedback.
- Self-studying for the Bar Exam. You should make your own outlines and study guides.
- Review your Bar prep options: prep programs, commercial outlines, study aids, etc.
- You should study early. Everyone can benefit from some early review and practice.
- Study in ways that fit your learning style.
- Register for the Bar Exam, applying to take the bar exam is a lengthy and expensive process, so you want to start early and make sure you fill out the correct paperwork, get your background check taken care of, and locate all of the historical records you will need to complete your application.
- It’s natural to have anxiety about the bar exam. Too much anxiety or fear can sabotage your chances of success. Learn techniques to decrease and channel your anxiety.