The State Bar of California suggests that students who intend to sit for the California Bar Examination file their registrations to take the bar exam before submitting an Application for Determination of Moral Character (and to do so as soon as possible).
The registration application is not the same as the bar exam application. Once you register as a student, make sure to make a note of your registration number: you will use it on all subsequent applications and correspondence with the State Bar.
If you plan on taking a commercial bar review course, such as BARBRI, consider signing up for the course during your first year in order to lock-in lower prices.
Your required first-year courses will cover 6 of the 12 bar exam subjects: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Real Property, and Torts. In other words, in total, you will be tested on these subjects three times - for the class itself, on the MBE, and on the bar exam!
During your second or third year, you are required to enroll in Professional Responsibility, which will help you prepare for the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). You are eligible to take the MPRE at any time during 2L or 3L. Details about the MPRE may be found under the third tab of this Guide, titled About the MPRE.
You should also plan your second and third year course schedules with an eye toward what subjects are covered on the Bar Exam. Elective courses offered at the law school that cover topics tested on the Bar Exam include:
In January of your third year of law school, make sure to submit your Moral Character Application. The review process takes approximately six to nine months, and you will not be admitted to practice until your application is approved. The application requires information dating as far back as high school. Some of the required information includes:
An additional requirement is the submission of fingerprints through Live Scan. Your Moral Character Application will not be considered complete without the appropriately processed fingerprints.
An additional requirement for MPRE examinees is the presentation of a passport-style photograph on the day of the exam, along with government-issued identification. UCLA law students will receive information about fingerprinting and photo services available at the law school from the Office of Student Services.
Make sure you submit your application to take the Bar Exam as soon as possible after the application becomes available. Doing so will help ensure that you get the testing site of your choice.
If you are a student with a disability in need of testing accommodations for the Bar Exam, plan to make arrangements for testing accommodations well in advance of the examination date (ideally at the beginning of your third year). You should plan to file a petition for accommodations before or at the same time as filing your application to take the examination.
Applying to Take Non-California State Bar Exams
Because each state has its own requirements for admission to the Bar, you should investigate the rules for each state in which you intend to practice. The ABA's Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements provides information about each state's bar exam. A Directory of State Bar Admission Agencies is provided at the end of the aforementioned Guide. You might also look for a bar-related LibGuide authored by a law school library in that state!
Second or Third Years
The Months Leading Up To the Bar Exam
The Week of the Exam