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.

Registering for the Bar Exam

You may register for the California Bar Exam online.

Things to Remember:  
Registration deadline For the February exam you must register before November.  For the July exam, you must register before April.  DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE!
Disabilities If you need an accommodation, you MUST file a petition no later than three months before the examination.  Early filing is strongly recommended.
Filing Fees The filing fee for general applicants is $645 plus $146 for the laptop fee.  You will be assessed late charges if you registered after the early deadline.
Admittance Ticket Admittance tickets will be available for printing from the Admissions Status Screen once eligibility has been determined approximately eight to ten weeks prior to the exam.  You will not receive a ticket in the mail.


Bar Exam Schedule

California Bar Exam Schedule

  Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
9:00-12:00 Essays 1, 2, 3 MBE (100 questions) Essays 4, 5, 6
12:00-1:45 Lunch Lunch Lunch
1:45-4:45 Performance Test A MBE (100 questions) Performance Test B

How the Exam is Graded

The Committee of Bar Examiners utilizes approximately 150 graders for each grading cycle.  Eight groups consisting of eleven graders are selected to grade essay and performance test answers.  There are three calibration sessions used to average the scores given by the graders to ensure that grading is consistent.  Graders assign raw scores to essay and performance test answers in five-point increments on a scale of 40 to 100.

MBE scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 2000 points.  An applicant's total score is the scale MBE score (on the 2000-point scale) multipled by .35 plus the converted score on the writing section multipled by .65.   Scaling ensures the two portions of the examination are weighted accurately with 35% of the score for the MBE test and 65% for the written portion.  

The total passing score of the examination is 1440.

Bar Exam Grading Matrix

Written Portion (65% of bar exam)
Multi-State Bar Exam (MBE)
35% of bar exam
6 Essay Exams
60% of written exam
39% of bar exam
2 Performance Tests
40% of written exam
26% of bar exam

Heafey Law Library Research Team