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Bar Exam Basics

A guide to resources for law students preparing to take the bar exam. While much information is Illinois-specific, some materials will be generally useful to any state bar exam.

The Bar Exam

The Bar Exam is an examination taken by candidates wishing to practice law in a given jurisdiction. In the United States, the bar exams and the standard of who can take the bar exam differ by state, but generally the exam is given over a period of two to three days, and uses essays and multiple choice questions to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law. Many jurisdictions use the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), a standardized multiple-choice examination, along with essays covering state law. Some jurisdictions use the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), which is uniformly administered and graded, so that the score is portable between user jurisdictions.

For information on various exams and links to most state bar authorities, visit the web site of the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Also, see the American Bar Association's (ABA) guide to Bar Admission requirements.

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