Pennsylvania Bar Exam Information

The Pennsylvania Bar Exam is a two-day test administered twice a year that consists of three main sections. Day one consists of the Pennsylvania Essay Exam in the morning and the Performance Test in the afternoon. Day two consists of the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), which is a 200 question multiple-choice test. To qualify to take the Pennsylvania Bar Exam, one needs to have graduated with a JD from an accredited law school with a minimum score of 75 on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE).

Exam Dates:September 9-10, 2020*
Exam Type:Day 1: Performance test and essays exam
Day 2: Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)
Location:Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, PA
Application Fee:$650
On-motion Application Fee:$1,325
Filing Deadline:April 15
Late Filing Deadline:First: April 30
Second: May 15
Final: May 30
Late Fee:First: $800
Second: $1,100
Final: $1,500

When is the 2020 Pennsylvania Bar Exam?

The 2020 Pennsylvania Bar Exam was originally scheduled for July 28-29 but has been moved to September 9-10 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. More information can be found at the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners.

All applications will be considered upon their postmarked date. There are three late deadlines in Pennsylvania: April 30, May 15, and May 30.

Where is the Pennsylvania Bar Exam located?

There are two locations that host the Pennsylvania Bar Exam. These are hosted in Pennsylvania’s two biggest cities, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Pittsburgh location:

David L. Lawrence Convention Center
1000 Fort Duquesne Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Philadelphia location:

The Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Hotel information can be found here.

How much does the Pennsylvania Bar Exam cost?

Applicants who file on time will pay a fee of $650. There are three late deadlines, each incurring an increased fee. Those fees are $800, $1,100, and $1,500. Any application postmarked after the final deadline will not be considered for the Pennsylvania Bar Exam.

What subjects are tested on the Pennsylvania Bar Exam?

Subjects that are tested on the Pennsylvania Bar Exam include:

  • Conflict of laws
  • Corporations
  • Employment discrimination (ADA, ADEA, and Title VII)
  • Family law
  • Federal civil procedure
  • Federal income personal taxation
  • Partnerships
  • Pennsylvania civil procedure
  • Pennsylvania constitutional law
  • Pennsylvania DUI law
  • Pennsylvania evidence
  • Pennsylvania rules of professional conduct
  • Wills, trusts, decedents’ estates
  • Contracts
  • Criminal law and procedure
  • Constitutional law
  • Real property
  • Torts

What is the format for the Pennsylvania Bar Exam?

The Pennsylvania Bar Exam is a two-day test. The first day consists of two 45 minute essay writing sessions, followed up by a 90-minute performance test. The afternoon of the first day consists of four 45 minutes of essay writing sessions. The second day is a 200 question multiple-choice test known as the Multistate Bar Exam.

What is the minimum MPRE score needed to take the Pennsylvania Bar Exam?

The minimum qualifying score to take the Pennsylvania Bar Exam is 75.

How is the Pennsylvania Bar Exam graded?

All of the tests from the first day are scored together and make up 55% of the final grade. The MBE section is worth 45% of the final grade. A score of 272 is needed to pass.

When are the Pennsylvania Bar scores released?

Results for the February sessions are released in April, while the results for the July sessions are released in October. Because the exam has been delayed in 2020, it is not yet known when the results will be released. Please refer to the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners for more information.

Can I transfer my MBE scores from another jurisdiction?

No, Pennsylvania does not accept MBE transfers from other jurisdictions.

What is the Pennsylvania Reciprocity Agreement like?

Those from outside of Pennsylvania who wish to practice law in Pennsylvania will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Possession of a JD
  • Bar membership in a reciprocal state
  • A minimum score of 75 on the MPRE

You can find a list of reciprocal states here.

How can I contact the Pennsylvania State Bar Association?

The Pennsylvania State Bar can be contacted via the contact form on their website, by phone call to (800) 932-0311, or by mail addressed to:
100 South Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101

Useful Information: