Massachusetts Bar Exam

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Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners

Board of Bar Examiners
Edward W. Brooke Courthouse
24 New Chardon Street, First Floor
Boston, MA 02114
Telephone: (617) 482-4466



The Massachusetts Bar Exam is a two day exam.

Day 1: Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), a 200-question, multiple-choice exam.

Day 2: Ten essay questions.


MBE Subjects: 

  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts/Sales
  • Criminal Law/Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Real Property
  • Torts

Massachusetts Essay Subjects:

  • Agency
  • Commercial Paper
  • Consumer Protection
  • Corporations
  • Domestic Relations
  • Federal Jurisdiction
  • Mortgages
  • MA Practice & Procedure
  • Partnerships
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Secured Transactions
  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • plus all MBE subjects

Multistate Performance Test: 

“Closed universe” practical problem using instructions, factual data, cases, statutes and other reference material supplied by examiners.


The Massachusetts Bar Exam is administered on the last Wednesday and Thursday in February and July.

2014 Winter:  February 26 and 27

2014 Summer: July 30 and 31


Applicants may apply to sit for the MA Bar Exam by filing an on-line application and by printing, completing and mailing a paper copy of the application. Applications must be filed with the:

Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County,
Clerk Maura S. Doyle's Office,
John Adam Courthouse
Suite 1300
Boston, MA 02108-1707

Exam fee: $815
Admission on Motion: $1,015


Take Appropriate Steps To Ensure Timely Delivery: Your application is one of thousands that will be sent to the same office address. Use Certified Mail with Return Receipt Requested or other appropriate verifiable means (e.g., FedEx, UPS) when sending all correspondence to the bar examiners so that you have proof regarding when your application was postmarked, when it arrived and who received it.  Check with the state bar examiner’s office before sending your application regarding what types of delivery they will accept.

Payment:  Application fees are generally non-refundable. Verify acceptable forms of payment with your state (i.e., no personal checks).  If you apply to take the bar exam, pay all fees and subsequently withdraw, you must contact the Bar Examiners. You may have to submit a new application, a new filing fee and new copies of related documents in order to sit for the exam at a future date.

Employment History:  Many states’ bar applications require information regarding your past employment since the age of 18 (i.e., name and address of employer, reason for leaving). Begin compiling a list of employers and their current addresses so that you have this information for your application.

Character References:  Many states’ bar applications require a list of persons who can attest to your good character. Begin compiling a list of non-relatives who have known you for at least two (2) years who can vouch for your integrity.

Driver Abstracts:  Some bar applications require you to produce a Driver’s Abstract from all states in which you were licenced to drive. Contact the Division of Motor Vehicles in each state and request the most complete abstract of your driving record that is available.

Fingerprints:  In some states you must submit your fingerprints on a special card with your exam application.   Have your fingerprints rolled by a professional law enforcement officer onto the forms provided by the bar examiners.


MBE and essay scores are combined in order to determine if applicant has achieved a passing score of 270. Results are generally released in May for February exam and November for July exam.


Acceptance of MBE Score
Applicants may transfer actual raw MBE score from another jurisdiction only if from a concurrent exam.

Admission on Motion
May be eligible on motion. Must have been admitted in another jurisdiction for 5 years and have engaged in the practice or teaching of law since prior admission; must meet educational requirements; and must have achieved a scale score of 85 on the MPRE.

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