South Dakota bar exam information
|General exam information
|Upcoming registration dates
|November 1, 2023 (February 2024 exam); May 1, 2024 (July 2024 exam)
What is the South Dakota bar exam?
The South Dakota bar exam assesses whether an examinee is competent to practice law in the State of South Dakota. Passing the bar exam is an essential step in becoming a lawyer in South Dakota. 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 South Dakota bar exam is a full-time job that requires discipline, determination, and—for most people—a formal course structure. The Quimbee Bar Review course is expertly designed to help you supplement your preparation for the South Dakota bar examination in the most efficient and effective way possible. Our bar review course includes 1,400+ real practice questions from past bar exams, detailed answer explanations, and comprehensive outlines of MBE subjects.
Read on to learn more about the South Dakota bar exam.
What is the South Dakota bar exam format?
The South Dakota bar exam consists of the MBE, the MEE, the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and one essay question on Indian law.
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 South Dakota, on the last Wednesday in February and the last Wednesday in July of each year.
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 South Dakota bar exam subjects include civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence, real property, and torts. To pass the South Dakota bar exam, examinees must score a minimum of 135 on the MBE.
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.
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 South Dakota bar exam. 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 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. To pass the South Dakota bar exam, examinees must score an average of 75 percent across the MEE and MPT.
The South Dakota bar exam includes one essay question on Indian law. Indian law includes basic principles of federal Indian law, including but not limited to civil and criminal jurisdiction, the Indian Civil Rights Act, the Indian Child Welfare Act, and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. It does not include tribal laws or customary laws. For more information on the South Dakota bar exam’s Indian law component, please see the South Dakota Board of Bar Examiners' website.
Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)
A passing score on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) is also required to become a licensed South Dakota 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. South Dakota requires a minimum-passing MPRE score of 85.
South Dakota bar exam information
Below is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that provides helpful information to South Dakota bar examinees.
What are the South Dakota bar exam dates?
The South Dakota bar exam is offered twice a year on the last consecutive Tuesday and Wednesday in February and July. The South Dakota bar exam is typically administered in Pierre.
When do I need to register for the South Dakota bar exam?
The regular deadline for the February 2024 exam was November 1, 2023. The regular deadline for registering for the July 2024 bar exam in South Dakota is May 1, 2024. For the latest deadline updates, please view the South Dakota application for admission document.
What are the fees for the South Dakota bar exam?
The regular application fee for the South Dakota bar exam is $450. For more details on fees, visit the South Dakota Board of Bar Examiners' website.
When will I receive my South Dakota bar exam results?
South Dakota bar exam results are released approximately 12 weeks after the exam is administered. South Dakota bar exam results are mailed directly to examinees. Results are not posted publicly.
What is the statewide pass rate for all exam takers in South Dakota?
74% (July 2023)
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 South Dakota. To see Quimbee Bar Review's pass rates, please go here.
What is the South Dakota bar exam contact information?
The South Dakota Board of Bar Examiners is the organization responsible for overseeing admission to the bar in South Dakota. It is through this board that you will register for the bar exam, receive exam information, and obtain your score.
Board of Bar Examiners
500 E. Capitol
Pierre, SD 57501
How do I get South Dakota bar exam news?
News and information about the South Dakota bar exam can be found on the South Dakota Board of Bar Examiners' website.
What is the best South Dakota bar exam prep course?
Quimbee does not provide state-specific coverage for the South Dakota bar exam, but you can use Quimbee Bar Review to supplement your prep. All of the course material for Quimbee Bar Review is available from your computer.
South Dakota Bar Practice Tests
Quimbee’s course offers several full-length practice MBEs and thousands of MBE practice questions—many licensed directly from the NCBE.
South Dakota Bar Study Guide
With Quimbee, 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 the 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.