Bar Exam Overview

Uniform Bar Examination (UBE)

Administered in February and July

The UBE tests knowledge and skill that every lawyer should be able to demonstrate. The three components of the UBE:

  1. Multistate Bar Examination (50%)
  2. Multistate Essay Examination (30%)
  3. Multistate Performance Test tasks (20%)

Uniformly administered, graded and scored results in a portable score. 

Components of the UBE:

The MBE incorporates law from several legal subjects into hypothetical problem-solving, multiple choice questions. It includes 200 multiple-choice questions to be completed in 6 hours. 

Covers material relating to 7 legal practice areas:

  • Civil Procedure
  • Contracts
  • Constitutional Law
  • Criminal Law & Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Real Property
  • Torts

The MEE shows your ability to communicate effectively through writing. It includes 6 essay questions with each question to be completed in 30 minutes. 

The essay questions can cover any of the following areas:

  • Business Associations (Agency, Partnership, LLC)
  • Civil Procedure
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Constitutional Laws
  • Contracts (Including Article 2 of the UCC- Sales)
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Family Law
  • Real Property Torts
  • Trusts and Estates
  • Article 9 of the UCC- Secured Transactions

A full list of subjects can be found here


The MPT is a written performance test that measures your ability to use lawyering skills in realistic situations. It asks you to complete two lawyerly tasks with 90 minutes allowed for each item. 

Jurisdictions may select one or both MPT items to include as part of their bar examinations. UBE states must use both MPT items. 

The MPRE is designed to measure the knowledge and understanding of established standards related to a lawyer's professional conduct. It includes 60 multiple-choice questions to be completed in 125 minutes. 

Jurisdiction Requirements:

  • Required by all but 3 U.S. jurisdictions: WI, MD, and Puerto Rico. 
  • CT and NJ waive the MPRE for bar candidates who have earned a "C" or better in a law school professional responsibility course. 
  • The Iowa Bar requires applicants to have a passing MPRE score on file prior to sitting for the bar- applicants must have taken the MPRE the previous November or earlier. 

If you have not taken the MPRE you must ask Iowa's Board of Law Examiners for permission to post after the deadline. 

Barbri, Kaplan, and Themis offer free MPRE Practice materials. NCBE also has an online practice exam for $35. Visit their websites or speak to the Iowa Law Representatives when they table in the lobby of BLB. 

Adoption of the Uniform Bar Examination

State Map

More information on the bar exam can be found in this presentation created by Associate Dean of Students Carin Crain.