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Pennsylvania bar exam information

General exam information
Exam typeUBE
MBE
MEE
MPT
Jurisdiction-specific component
Upcoming registration datesOctober 30, 2023 (February 2024 exam); April 15, 2024 (July 2024 exam)

What is the Pennsylvania bar exam?

The Pennsylvania bar exam assesses whether an examinee is competent to practice law in the State of Pennsylvania. Passing the bar exam is an essential step in becoming a lawyer in Pennsylvania. The exam consists of three components: an essay component, a multiple-choice component, and a performance component. Examinees are tested on a variety of legal subjects. Bar exam scores are scaled, meaning that scores are adjusted to reflect the relative difficulty of a particular exam. These adjustments ensure that no examinee is unfairly penalized or rewarded for taking a more or less difficult exam.

Studying for the Pennsylvania bar exam is a full-time job that requires discipline, determination, and—for most people—a formal course structure. Quimbee’s Pennsylvania bar review is expertly designed to help you prepare for the Pennsylvania bar examination in the most efficient and effective way possible. Our Pennsylvania bar prep course includes 1,400+ real practice questions from past bar exams, 300+ lesson videos, model answers with detailed explanations, full-length practice tests, and comprehensive outlines of Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) and Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) subjects.

Read on to learn more about the Pennsylvania bar exam and how Quimbee’s bar review course can help you pass the Pennsylvania bar exam. 

What is the Pennsylvania bar exam format?

Pennsylvania administers the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). 

The UBE is a uniformly administered bar exam that results in a portable score. This means that applicants who take the UBE may transfer their scores to seek admission in other UBE jurisdictions.

UBE scoring is based on a 400-point scale. Each jurisdiction sets its own minimum-passing score. Pennsylvania’s minimum-passing UBE score is 260, which is tied for the lowest minimum-required UBE score in the United States.

The UBE consists of three sections: the MBE, the MEE, and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT).

Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)

The MBE is a six-hour, 200-question multiple-choice examination developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and administered by participating jurisdictions, including Pennsylvania, on the last Wednesday in February and the last Wednesday in July of each year. The MBE counts for 50 percent of an examinee’s total UBE score.

According to the NCBE, the purpose of the MBE is to assess the extent to which an examinee can apply fundamental legal principles and legal reasoning to analyze given fact patterns.

The MBE is divided into morning and afternoon testing sessions of three hours each, with 100 questions in each session. There are no scheduled breaks during either the morning or afternoon session, though test taskers typically may be excused from the exam room during the test. Be sure to check with your jurisdiction, however, as the rules regarding leaving the exam room may vary.

Of the 200 questions on the MBE, 175 questions are scored. The remaining unscored 25 questions are used by the NCBE to test potential future questions. The scored questions are distributed evenly, with 25 questions from each tested subject area. The Pennsylvania bar exam subjects include civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence, real property, and torts.

Multistate Essay Examination (MEE)

The MEE consists of six 30-minute issue-spotter questions. The MEE is administered on the Tuesday before the last Wednesday in February and July of each year. The MEE counts for 30 percent of an examinee’s UBE score.

Subjects that may be tested on the MEE include business associations, civil procedure, conflict of laws, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence, family law, real property, torts, trusts and estates, and Article 9 (secured transactions) of the Uniform Commercial Code.

Multistate Performance Test (MPT)

The MPT is the third component of the UBE. The MPT is used in many jurisdictions that haven’t adopted the UBE; 46 jurisdictions administered the MPT in 2018.

Unlike other components of the UBE, the MPT is not a test of substantive knowledge. The MPT consists of two 90-minute problems designed to mimic real-world tasks that a new attorney might be assigned. The MPT counts for 20 percent of an examinee’s UBE score.

The materials for each MPT include a file and a library. The file consists of the facts of a fictitious case and includes legal documents related to the case. The library contains statutes, cases, and other forms of rules. The file and library will include both relevant and irrelevant information; it’s up to you to figure out what you’ll need to complete your task. The examinee’s task will be outlined in a memorandum contained in the file.

Jurisdiction-Specific Component

Pennsylvania also requires applicants to complete an online course on Pennsylvania law. Access to the online course is granted approximately seven to 10 days after the bar exam for those who sit for the exam.

Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)

In addition to the UBE, a passing score on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) is also required to become a licensed Pennsylvania attorney. The MPRE tests an examinee’s knowledge of the ethics rules related to the practice of law. According to the NCBE, the purpose of the MPRE is to “measure examinees' knowledge and understanding of established standards related to the professional conduct of lawyers.”

The MPRE’s questions are largely based on the American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, but the MPRE also covers relevant court decisions as well as procedural and evidentiary rules.

The MPRE consists of 60 multiple choice questions—50 scored questions and 10 unscored questions. As with the MBE, each question on the MPRE is followed by four possible answer options. You’ll have two hours to complete the exam.

The MPRE is offered three times per year, typically in March, August, and November. Be sure to register early—the regular registration fee is $135, but the late registration fee is $220.

The MPRE is scored on a scale that ranges from 50 to 100. The Pennsylvania Board of Bar Examiners requires a minimum-passing MPRE score of 75, which is tied for the lowest minimum-passing score of any United States jurisdiction.

Pennsylvania bar exam information

Below is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that provides helpful information to Pennsylvania bar examinees.

What are the Pennsylvania bar exam dates?

The Pennsylvania bar exam is a two-day exam and is offered twice a year on the last Tuesday and Wednesday in February and July. The Pennsylvania bar exam is administered in Lancaster and Pittsburgh. For more information on dates and locations, please see the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners' website.

When do I need to register for the Pennsylvania bar exam?

The regular deadline for the February 2024 exam was October 30, 2023. The regular deadline for registering for the July 2024 bar exam in Pennsylvania was April 15, 2024. For the latest deadline updates, please see the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners' website.

What are the fees for the Pennsylvania bar exam?

The regular application fee for the Pennsylvania bar exam is $650. For more details on fees, visit the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners' website.

When will I receive my Pennsylvania bar exam results?

February bar examination results are available approximately five weeks after administration of the exam. July bar examination results are available approximately nine weeks after administration of the exam. Results are posted publicly on the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners’ website.

What is the statewide pass rate for all exam takers in Pennsylvania?

71% (July 2023 exam)

Please note that this is not the pass rate for Quimbee Bar Review, but rather the average for all people who took the bar exam in Pennsylvania. To see Quimbee Bar Review's pass rates, please go here.

What is the Pennsylvania bar exam contact information?

The Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners is the organization responsible for overseeing admission to the bar in Pennsylvania. It is through this board that you will register for the bar exam, receive exam information, and obtain your score.

Mailing Address:
Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners
601 Commonwealth Ave., Suite 3600
P.O Box 62535
Harrisburg, PA 17106-2535

Physical Address:
Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners
Pennsylvania Judicial Center
601 Commonwealth Ave., Suite 3600
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0901

Phone: (717) 231-3350

Websitehttp://www.pabarexam.org/

How do I get Pennsylvania bar exam news?

News and information about the Pennsylvania bar exam can be found on the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners' website.

What is the best Pennsylvania bar exam prep course?

Quimbee Bar Review is your best option to prepare for the Pennsylvania bar exam. Quimbee Bar Review and Quimbee MBE Review offer everything you need to succeed on the Pennsylvania bar exam, and all of the course material is available from your computer.

Pennsylvania Bar Practice Tests

Quimbee’s course offers several full-length practice MBEs and thousands of MBE practice questions—many licensed directly from the NCBE. Quimbee’s practice MPTs are also real, licensed tests from past bar exams. You’ll also get personalized feedback from a dedicated attorney grader on your practice essays for the MEE, so you can check your understanding, learn what you need to work on, and feel confident that you’re ready by test day.

Pennsylvania Bar Study Guide

Quimbee Bar Review will walk you through bar prep from start to finish. You'll start with a high-level overview of every bar topic to refresh what you learned in law school. You'll watch Quimbee's beautifully designed video lessons, practice multiple-choice questions to test what you've learned, and read through Quimbee's expert-written outlines. And true understanding isn’t just answering a question correctly. You need to know why you got a question right or why you got a question wrong. That’s why Quimbee provides you with detailed explanations for every practice question, so you can understand the difference between correct and incorrect answers.

Quimbee’s outlines provide comprehensive coverage of all MBE and MEE subjects. Quimbee Outlines are written by experts and are perfectly tailored to the NCBE’s subject matter outlines, so you can be confident you’re studying only the material that's tested on the bar exam.

So, if you’re wondering how to pass the Pennsylvania bar exam, check out Quimbee Bar Review, and you’ll see why Quimbee is the best Pennsylvania bar review course available.

Make your first attempt at the bar exam your last with Quimbee

  • 91% bar exam pass rate*
  • 100% money-back guarantee
  • 1,450 real questions from past bar exams
* First-time takers who have completed at least 75% of the course.
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