California Bar Examination

A guide to give students resources to prepare for the California State Bar Examination. Included in this guide are materials on admission, essays, performance tests, MBE (multi-state exam), and MPRE (multi-state professional responsibilities exam), etc.

Planning for the Bar

Students planning to sit for the California Bar Exam will be required to take several steps in anticipation of taking the exam. Use the timeline below to offer some guidance as to what steps are necessary to prepare for the Bar Exam.

Students taking a Bar Examination outside of California, see the Other State Bars page for more information.

First-Year Students

Full-Time:
  • Required first year courses will cover 6 of the 13 subjects tested on the California Bar Exam. Exam subjects: Contracts, Torts, Property, Criminal Law, Civil Procedure, and Constitutional Law.

Part-Time:

  • Required first year courses will cover 4 of the 13 subjects tested on the California Bar Exam. Exam subjects: Contracts, Torts, Property, and Criminal Law.
  • California Bar Registration: Registration with the California Bar is a separate registration from the registration required to take the Bar Exam. Students should register with the California Bar within 90 days of beginning their First-Year. Registration completed after the first 90 days is subject to a late fee.  Once you register as a student, remember the registration number as you will use it later when registering for the actual bar exam.

For information on current fees and how to register online see the Cal Bar website.

 

Second- and Third-Year Students

Full-Time:
  • Students should take into consideration the remaining subjects tested on the California Bar Exam when planning their second and third year schedules. Remaining subjects include: Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Constitutional Law II, Wills and Trusts, Community Property, and Remedies. These upper division Bar courses are offered throughout the year.

Part-Time:

  • Required second year courses will cover an additional 2 of the 13 subjects covered by the California Bar Exam. Exam subjects: Civil Procedure and Constitutional Law.

In addition, students should take into consideration the remaining subjects tested on the California Bar Exam when planning their second and third year schedules. Remaining subjects include: Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Constitutional Law II, Wills and Trusts, Community Property, and Remedies. These upper division Bar courses are offered throughout the year.

  • Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE): The MPRE, an ethics and professional responsibility exam, is required to be admitted to the California State Bar. Students’ Legal Profession course will aid in preparation for the MPRE. The ASP Resource Room also has study guides for the MPRE. It is recommended that students take the exam at the end of their second-year or beginning of their third-year.

For information about the exam, how to apply online, and for study guide the official MPRE website.

 

Final Year Students

Full-Time and Part-Time:
  • Advanced Legal Writing: Writing: is a 2-unit course open to all students. Students are strongly encouraged to take this course during the Fall Semester of their Third-Year. This course hones timed analytical writing skills and prepares students for the Bar exam by reviewing Bar tested subjects, preparing outlines, and simulating Bar exam practice questions and answers.
  • BRICS: is SCU’s summer Bar preparation program. All SCU Bar-takers are invited to participate at no cost. The program offers supplemental lectures, graded essays, counseling, and additional support.
  • Bar Subjects Tested: Students should take into consideration the remaining subjects tested on the California Bar Exam when planning their third year schedule. Remaining subjects include: Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Constitutional Law II, Wills and Trusts, Community Property, and Remedies. These upper division Bar courses are offered throughout the year.
  • Moral Character Application: Students must complete a Moral Character Application prior to admittance into the California State Bar. The Moral Character Application requires the applicant to show they presently possess the “good moral character” necessary for admission to practice law in California. Students should submit their Moral Character Application no later than Fall Semester of their third-year of law school; processing may take 6 to 9 months or up to 1 year to complete.

For more information about the Moral Character Application see the Cal Bar website.

  • Fingerprinting: In addition to the Moral Character Application, students are required to submit their fingerprints through Live Scan. Students should submit their fingers prints during Fall Semester of their third year. The Moral Character Application will not be considered complete without processed fingerprints.

For more information about the fingerprinting requirement see the Cal Bar website.

  • California Bar Exam Application: The California Bar Exam is administered twice each year – in February and again in July. Students should submit their Bar Exam Applications as soon as the application becomes available to ensure their preferred testing location is available. The deadline for applying to the July Bar Exam is usually in early April.

For more information on filing deadlines, how to apply online, and all fees associated with the Bar Exam see the Cal Bar website. Note: Students who plan to take the exam on a laptop computer will be required to pay an additional fee. See the Cal Bar website for more information on laptop use.

  • Testing Accommodations: Students with disabilities who will need testing accommodations for the Bar Exam, must make arrangements well in advance of the examination date (ideally at the beginning of the student’s third year). Petitions for accommodations should be made no later than at the time of filing to take the exam.

For information on testing accommodations see the Cal Bar website.

  • Select a Bar Review Provider: Students are not required but may select a commercial bar provider to help prepare for the Bar Exam. Students are encouraged to pick a provider and create or supplement a study program that fits their individual study needs. For more information about bar providers students may attend Bar Fair Week, review the Commercial Programs Binder in the ASP Resource Room, or click here* to begin researching providers.