Iowa Bar Exam

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Iowa Board of Law Examiners

Board of Law Examiners
Supreme Court of Iowa

Judicial Branch Building
1111 E. Court Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50319

Telephone: (515) 725-8029



The Iowa Bar Exam is administered on the last Tuesday and Wednesday in February and July.

2016 Winter:  February 23 and 24

2016 Summer: July 26 and 27


Day 1: (morning) Two Multistate Performance Test (MPT) questions; (afternoon) Six Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) questions

Day 2: Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) – (morning) 100 multiple-choice questions, (afternoon) 100 multiple-choice questions


MBE Subjects: 

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

MEE Essay Subjects:

  • Business Associations (including Agency and Partnership, Corporations and LLCs)
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts (including UCC Sales Article 2)
  • Criminal Law/Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Family Law
  • Federal Civil Procedure
  • Real Property
  • Torts
  • Trusts and Estates (including Future Interests and Decedents' Estates)
  • Uniform Commercial Code (including Negotiable Instruments, Article 3 and Secured Transactions, Article 9)

Multistate Performance Test: 

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

MPRE (Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam)

A scaled score of 80 on the MPRE must be on file with the examiners no later than April 1 preceding the July exam or November 1 preceding the February exam. Late scores may be allowed upon petition. MPRE scores are good for three years.


Applicant must file both a law student registration, unless fully admitted in another jurisdiction, and a bar exam application. Law student registration fee is $40 by November 1 of the year in which the study of law commences (late registration fee $150 or $250 depending on the filing date, see web site for details). These fees are not refundable.

Bar exam application must be filed by November 2 for the February exam and April 1 for the July Exam ($425). The bar exam application deadlines cannot be waived and the fee is not refundable. Application and registration forms may be downloaded from the Board of Bar Examiners’ web site.

Admission on motion: $700

House counsel: $200
Attorneys who are not licensed in Iowa, but are admitted in another state and maintain an office or other systematic and continuous presence in Iowa to practice as house counsel, can register with the state. A registration packet must be completed and accompanied with a fee of $200.


A passing score on the Iowa bar exam is a scaled 266 out of 400. The MPT weighs 20%, the MEE weighs 30% and the MBE weighs 50%.


Admission on Motion
May be admitted without exam. Must be licensed in another state or the District of Columbia, have practiced five of seven of the years immediately preceding application, be of good moral character and complete the requisite filings. Iowa no longer requires “intent to practice law in Iowa” for admission on motion.

Acceptance of MBE Score
Applicants may transfer any MBE score they received in another jurisdiction from one of the last four MBE administrations immediately preceding the deadline for filing the Iowa bar application. MBE scores must be provided to the Office of Professional Regulation directly from the applicant's former jurisdiction or the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

May take bar exam prior to graduation if receive degree within 45 days from the first day of the exam.

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