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Bar Examinations - Selected States


The Pennsylvania Bar Examination is given the last Tuesday and Wednesday every February and July. It consists of six essay questions and a performance test question on Tuesday and the Multistate Bar Examination on Wednesday.

The following subjects are tested on the essay questions: Business Organizations (including corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies and professional corporations); Employment Discrimination (limited to Title VII, ADA, and ADEA), Professional Responsibility; Civil Procedure (Pennsylvania and Federal); Evidence (Pennsylvania and Federal); Real Property; Criminal Law (including related Pennsylvania and Federal constitutional issues and Pennsylvania DUI); Family Law; Torts; Conflicts of Law; Federal Constitutional Law; U.C.C., Article II – Sales; Contracts; Federal Income Tax (personal only and limited to taxable and non-taxable income, deductions, proprietorships and capital transactions); and Wills, Trusts and Decedent’s Estates (including related fiduciary responsibilities). Applicants must demonstrate their knowledge of applicable Pennsylvania law when answering the essay questions. A single essay question tests several different subjects.

According to the Pennsylvania Bar Examiners, “[t]he Performance Test is designed to test an applicant’s ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation and to complete a task, which a beginning lawyer should be able to accomplish.” It is not a test of substantive knowledge. Applicants are given a file including the facts needed to answer the question, a library of research material containing the substantive information necessary to answer the question, and a memorandum outlining the assignment to be completed by the applicant. In the past, applicants were asked to write the following: a brief in support of a summary judgment motion (July 2008); a memorandum to a supervising attorney (February 2008 and February 2006); a Petition for Post-Conviction Relief (July 2007); a bench memorandum to a judge (February 2007); an opinion letter to a client (July 2006); and a letter to opposing counsel (July 2005).

In addition to on-line registration and detailed information about the Bar Exam, the website for the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners contains downloadable essay and performance test questions along with grading guidelines, the examiners’ analyses of the essay questions, and sample essay question answers. For more information, click here.

Contact information:

Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners
601 Commonwealth Ave., Suite 3600
P.O Box 62535
Harrisburg, PA 17106-2535
(717) 231-3350 

New Jersey

The New Jersey Supreme Court has adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) beginning with the February 2017 test administration period. For more information, visit the New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners website.

Contact Information:

New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners
P.O. Box 973
Trenton, NJ 08625-0973
(609) 984-2111