US Bar Exam Digest 2017 - California

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California Bar Examination

Bar Exam: Last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July

The California bar exam is a two-day exam.


Day 1: Morning session is three essays given over three hours and can come from any test subject. Afternoon session is two onehour essays and one 90-minute California Perforomance Test.


Day 2: Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), a 200-question, multiple-choice exam.


Subjects Tested

MBE Subjects
Constitutional Law, Contracts/Sales, Criminal Law/Procedure, Evidence, Federal Civil Procedure, Real Property, Torts.


California Essay Subjects
CA Civil Procedure, Business Associations (Corporations, Agency and Partnership, and LLC), CA Community Property, CA Professional Responsibility, Remedies, Trusts, CA Wills and Succession, plus all MBE subjects and California distinctions.

Performance Test
“Closed universe” practical exam using instructions, actual data, cases, statutes and other reference material supplied by examiners.



A scaled score of 86 on the MPRE is required for admission. Visit for information on MPRE dates, filing deadlines and application fees.


Filing Deadlines and Fees

To be timely, applications must be filed in the month of October for the February exam and in the month of March for the July exam. Please visit for timely and final filing deadlines.

Initial registration fee: $214
Attorney exam fee: $983
After initial deadline: +$50
After first late fee period expires: +$250


Grading and Results

The MBE score is 50% of the total score and the essay questions and Performance Tests combine to account for 50% of the total score. A passing score of 1,440 on a 2,000 point scale is required, based on the combined scaled scores of the California Performance Test, the essay questions and the MBE.

Results from the February exam are released in mid-to-late May and from the July exam, the Friday before Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday of November).



Acceptance of MBE Score

California does not accept an MBE score from an exam taken in another jurisdiction.

Admission on Motion
California does not provide for admission on motion. Examination is required of all applicants. Attorneys who have been licensed in another jurisdiction for four years may be eligible to sit for the attorney exam (written exam only).


The State Bar of California Office of Admissions

Los Angeles Tel: (001) (213) 765-1500
San Francisco Tel: (001) (415) 538-2300