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California Bar Exam and MPRE: About the Bar Exam

This California Bar Exam guide provides an overview of steps law students can take to prepare for the California Bar Exam and the MPRE. Information regarding deadlines, topics covered on the California Bar Exam, and other helpful resources are provided.

Helpful Information

How the California Bar Exam is Administered

The California Bar Exam is administered in February and July of each year, typically during the last week of the month that includes a Wednesday. The exam is administered over two days and has three parts: 

  1. Five essay questions (Tuesday);
  2. One performance test (Tuesday); and,
  3. Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) (Wednesday).

The written tests account for 50% of your score, while the MBE accounts for 50% of your score. On Tuesday of the exam period, in the morning session you will be given three hours to answer three essay questions, and in the afternoon session you will be given three hours and 30 minutes for two essay questions and one performance test. The MBE is administered on Wednesday. The parts of the exam may not be taken separately.

Each component of the California State Bar Exam is described on pages that may be found under the About the Bar Exam tab above. Information regarding the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam may be found under the third tab of this Guide.

It is very important that you review the exam rules. These rules set out what can and cannot be brought into the testing center on each day. It is encouraged that you plan to arrive early on each testing day.

For the dates of upcoming CA Bar Exams, visit the Dates & Deadlines webpage

For an introduction to the Multistate Bar Exam, the Law Library offers Strategies & Tactics for the MBE: Multistate Bar Exam (KF303 .W345 2016, Law Library Reserves).