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When is the MBE?

When is the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)?

The Multistate Bar Exam, or MBE, is only offered twice per year, so it’s important to keep an eye on test dates so you don’t miss your chance to take the exam. This six-hour, 200-question multiple-choice exam was developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and is a critical component of the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), in addition to the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT). The MBE comprises as much as 50% of your total bar score which is why choosing a test date and mapping out a study schedule are essential to your success. In this guide, we’ll break down MBE test dates, how to register for the MBE, and more.

MBE Test Dates

The MBE is offered twice per year: on the last Wednesday in February and on the last Wednesday in July. Please note that the MBE is offered in every U.S. jurisdiction except Louisiana and Puerto Rico. For upcoming MBE test dates, visit the NCBE website.

How to Register for the MBE

In order to register for the MBE, you must apply to a jurisdiction to take the bar exam. Below is the step-by-step process to register for the MBE.

Step 1: Create an NCBE account using their online portal.

Step 2: Obtain an NCBE Number before registering with a jurisdiction to take the MBE. Your NCBE Number is the unique identifier for your MBE, UBE, and MPRE scores. You will keep the same NCBE Number for life. If you are unsure whether or not you have one, use the NCBE Account Lookup.

Step 3: Select the jurisdiction where you want to take the MBE and schedule your exam date.

Step 4: Pay the required exam fees (detailed below).

MBE Eligibility

Eligibility requirements for the MBE vary by jurisdiction, so it’s important to review the requirements to know if you’re qualified to take the exam. Common MBE eligibility requirements include:

  • Education level - Most jurisdictions require you to have a bachelor’s degree to take the exam; however, some states will accept an apprenticeship as an alternative to a 4-year college degree.

  • Credit hours - Most states require a minimum of 24 credits in law school courses to be eligible to sit for the Bar exam, including the MBE component.

  • Character and Fitness application - Some states require applicants to undergo a character and fitness investigation process to ensure they possess good moral character and meet the minimum standards for admission to the bar. Questions on the application cover your academic, work, financial, and residential history. You will also be asked to provide references and answer questions regarding your past conduct.

MBE Cost

In addition to meeting the jurisdictional requirements, you will also have to pay fees to take the MBE. The cost of taking the bar, including the MBE component, varies depending on the state and can range from $150 to $1,000. It’s important to research the total costs of bar registration as there are a number of factors to consider. Be sure to also keep an eye on filing periods for the bar exam in your jurisdiction, as you will incur late fees if you miss the filing window.

Bar Cost by State in 2024

  • Alabama: $575
  • Alaska: $800
  • Arizona: $800
  • Arkansas: $1,000
  • California: $677
  • Colorado: $710
  • Connecticut: $800
  • Delaware: $700
  • District of Columbia: $100
  • Florida: $1,000
  • Georgia: $442
  • Hawaii: $500
  • Idaho: $600
  • Illinois: $950
  • Indiana: $250
  • Iowa: $550
  • Kansas: $700
  • Kentucky: $875
  • Maine: $600
  • Maryland: $750
  • Massachusetts: $815
  • Michigan: $775
  • Minnesota: $600
  • Mississippi: $525 for law students, $825 for non-law students
  • Missouri: $485 or $910
  • Montana: $620
  • Nebraska: $490
  • Nevada: $700
  • New Hampshire: $725
  • New Jersey: $675
  • New Mexico: $500
  • New York: $250
  • North Carolina: $850
  • North Dakota: $150
  • Ohio: $358
  • Oklahoma: $400
  • Oregon: $750
  • Pennsylvania: $650
  • Rhode Island: $975
  • South Carolina: $1,000
  • South Dakota: $450
  • Tennessee: $575
  • Texas: $300 or $490
  • Utah: $550
  • Vermont: $300
  • Virginia: $950
  • Washington: $585
  • West Virginia: $500
  • Wisconsin: $450
  • Wyoming: $600

What to Expect on MBE Test Day

The MBE exam is split into a morning and afternoon session. Each session is three hours long and consists of 100 questions. 175 questions are scored, and 25 questions are unscored pretest questions. These pretest questions are indistinguishable from the scored questions, so you should do your best to answer every question on the exam to the best of your ability. During each session, you will only have 1.8 minutes on average to spend on each of the 100 questions in the 3-hour window, so it’s essential to practice your timing during your MBE test prep and keep an eye on the clock during the exam so you don’t run out of time to answer questions.

There are no scheduled breaks during the two sessions; however, there is a lunch break in between the two sessions during which you can relax, refuel, and use the facilities. Be sure to consult NCBE’s list of what to bring and what not to bring on MBE test day. Each MBE testing jurisdiction will also have specific information about allowed items, such as appropriate identification.

Master these topics before the bar

Make MBE Prep part of your bar prep program: