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Pennsylvania Bar Exam

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Format, Content, & Grading of the Pennsylvania Bar Exam

  

 


All data provided below are subject to change by a decision at any time by the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners.  When any changes are made, they will be posted on this site.

The Pennsylvania  Bar Exam is a two-day exam -- Tuesday and Wednesday -- with the Pennsylvania essays and performance test on Tuesday and the multiple-choice Multistate Bar Exam on Wednesday.

First Day (Tuesday):  
Six Essay Questions
One Multistate Performance Test (MPT) problem
For details on the MPT, click here.

Note: "By Order of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, one PT question, developed by the Board of Law Examiners, may be used in lieu of a Multistate Performance Test question as a component of the essay portion of the bar examination."

Second Day (Wednesday) morning session: 
Three hours 
Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)
100 Multiple-Choice questions.

Second Day (Wednesday) afternoon session: 
Three hours
Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) 
100 Multiple-Choice questions.

Pennsylvania requires that you sit for the MBE as part of the Pennsylvania bar exam. Pennsylvania does NOT accept your score from an MBE taken in another jurisdiction.

Fortunately, New Jersey accepts the MBE taken concurrently in ANY jurisdiction.  So if you want to take the New Jersey and Pennsylvania bar exams at the same time (local in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, local in New Jersey on Thursday), be sure to arrange to take the MBE in Pennsylvania (on Wednesday).  This way your MBE score will count for both states.

For further details on the MBE, click here.

Subjects Tested on the Pennsylvania Essay Portion:

Civil Procedure (Pennsylvania & Federal)
Commercial Paper & Bank Deposits
Conflict of Laws
Pennsylvania Constitutional Law (Rights of the Criminally Accused)
Decedents' Estates
Family Law
Federal Income Tax (Personal only)
Pennsylvania Evidence
Pennsylvania Professional Responsibility
Sales
Secured Transactions

Plus the six MBE subjects:
Constitutional Law
Contracts/Sales
Criminal Law/Procedure
Evidence
Real Property
Torts

According to the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners: 

"
Applicants are expected to demonstrate their knowledge of Pennsylvania law (where applicable) when answering the essay portion of the bar examination. Please note that the value of an essay answer depends not so much upon the correctness of the conclusion(s), as upon the recognition of issues and the quality of the discussion that evidences an ability to apply the law to the facts presented, and to reason in a logical manner in arriving at a conclusion. Factors such as grammar, penmanship and spelling are not considered in the grading of the essay answers."


Grading of the Pennsylvania Bar Exam:

The performance test question has a weight of 1.5 times an essay.  

A combined score is created for the essays and the MPT.  That score is then scaled to the same scaling as the MBE (i.e., 0-200).

Your scaled score on the MBE is multiplied by .45.

Your scaled score on the six essay questions and the MPT is multiplied by .55.

These two numbers are added together.  If the new number is 272 or higher (roughly a 136 MBE scaled score and a 136 essay/MPT scaled score), you pass the Pennsylvania Bar Exam. 

Pennsylvania generally announces in October on its website when the results of the Summer bar exam will be released, and in early April on its website when the results of the Winter bar exam will be released.


Law School Pass Rates -- 
Summer 2003 PA Bar Exam
 

PA-Area Law School

Passing

Failing

Pass Rate

U of Pennsylvania

65

11

85.53%

Penn State - Dickinson

106

22

82.81%

Villanova

154

37

80.63%

U of Pittsburgh

151

47

76.26%

Temple - Beasley

216

69

75.79%

Rutgers - Camden

91

31

74.59%

Duquesne

121

70

63.35%

Widener - Harrisburg

64

40

61.54%

Widener - Delaware

111

98

53.11%

From Data Released by the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners 

Pennsylvania Bar Exam Statistics
(PDF)


Summer 2006

Summer 2005

Summer 2004

Summer 2003

Summer 2002 

Summer 2001

Summer 2000 

Summer 1999 

Summer 1998 

Summer 1997 

Summer 1996 

Summer 1995 

 


Winter 2006

Winter 2005

Winter 2004 

Winter 2003

Winter 2002

Winter 2001 

Winter 2000 

Winter 1999 

Winter 1998

Winter 1997 

Winter 1996 

Winter 1995 

 

From Data Released by the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners 

Pennsylvania Bar Exam Details


Admission on Motion 
(i.e., without having to sit for the bar exam)


1. You must be a graduate of an ABA-accredited law school.

2. You must be admitted to the bar of another jurisdiction and must have practiced law (or taught law at an accredited U.S. law school) for at least five of the prior seven years.

3. The other jurisdiction must have a similar policy by which Pennsylvania attorneys can be admitted without taking that jurisdiction's bar exam.

Reciprocity Jurisdictions 

Foreign-Attorney Applicants

Mandatory CLE

All newly-admitted Pennsylvania attorneys must complete the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's 'Bridge the Gap' Program.

For further information, contact:

Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners
5070 A. Ritter Road
Suite 300
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Telephone: 717-795-7270
Fax: 717-795 -8194


Exam Dates:

Winter 2007
Tuesday & Wednesday, 
February 27 & 28, 2007

Summer 2007
Tuesday & Wednesday, 
July 24 & 25, 2007

Future Exam Dates
February 26 & 27, 2008
July 29 & 30, 2008


Local PA Accommodations  

Filing Deadlines and Fees

Filing deadlines should be checked with the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners.


Fees for All Others, and Late Fees


Filing deadlines and fees are subject to change.  Contact the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners to learn the rules in effect at the time of your application.

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