What's the BAR like in your state?

What’s the BAR Exam like in your state?

While the bar and testing policies may slightly change from state to state, the basics are same regardless of the state. The bar exam will consist of three tests (MBE, MEE, and MPT). The MBE is multiple choice while the other two are essay. The bar exam will be given twice a year: the last week of February and July. During the 2-3 months between graduation and the bar, you will spend a considerable amount of time studying for the bar. Here are few general tips about what to expect in the months leading up to the bar exam. 

First of all, if you did not realize that the bar review courses usually runs about 10 weeks.  

After graduation, you will typically start bar review around 3rd week in May and courses will run through mid July. Of course, this timeline will change if you take the February bar. With this schedule, you will have up to 2 weeks between the course and exam where you are refining your studies to pass the bar exam. It is important to enroll in a bar review course early and get the tentative dates so you can plan for vacations, moving, weddings and major events in your life.

Second, set expectations with your family, friends and significant others not taking the bar exam.  

Many people do not realize how much time you will be studying and in class for this exam. It is key to have everyone on the same page so you are not stressed out by trying to manage others expectations of you after you finish Law school because the truth is….you are not done yet. Make sure you get a calendar going for your summer. If you are working, make sure you let work know you will need time off before the exam. The more you prepare, the better off you will feel. Also, do not forget to make plans early if you are flying to another state to take the bar exam or if you need to book your hotels for the bar exam. It will help you save money and be one less thing to worry about while studying.

Third, make sure to adjust your spring and summer budgets to reflect the fees associated with the bar.

The bar exam is not cheap. Make sure you visit your bar website to see how much getting certified to take the bar exam will cost. You should also be very aware of the registration deadlines. Missing a deadline could mean fees that are almost double. Visit the Bar Exam website early to check for fees and application instructions. Typically fees that come with taking the bar exam are as follows:

  1. Getting certified – large fee
  2. To actually sit for the bar exam – separate fee
  3. Taking the exam on a laptop – separate fee
  4. Bar prep course

 

What it is like in your state

Click on your state below to find out what it was like to apply for and take the bar in that state from students who recently passed.

 

Alaska

Our successful alumni for Alaska is Nicole Cusack who took and passed the exam in July 2014.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: Describe the process of applying to sit for the bar exam in your state – ex: is it one application or is moral character a separate application? Is there one deadline or multiple deadlines? etc.

One Application, one deadline.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What was the part of the bar application process you found to be surprisingly hard or time consuming?

Finding my old addresses!

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you prior to starting your bar application?

Chill out and just follow the instructions.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What is the one thing you want to make sure all future test takers know about your state’s exam?

Make sure you are practicing answering essays in short spurts of time.

Regarding Taking the Bar: Explain the logistics of taking the bar exam in your state – what could you bring in, what couldn’t you bring in, are there lockers, are there multiple test locations for your state or just one, etc

There are multiple locations in Alaska, but the majority of the takers sit for the exam in the Anchorage location. There are usually under 100 applicants sitting for the exam. The testing environment is far more casual and calm than in more populated states, like California, for example. Because the test-taking group is smaller and more easily monitored, the restrictions on what you can bring to your seat are much more lax. Applicants sat with their bags at their seats. Some snacks were even provided, including beverages in a cooler marked “fish coffin”. After taking the bar in California, this was a reasonably pleasant bar exam environment. I would recommend packing a lunch though. There was no where nearby to buy food.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What was one thing you couldn’t bring in/you could bring in to the test that surprised you

I don’t recall being surprised by any item prohibitions.

You can find more information regarding the Alaska State Bar Exam here: https://www.alaskabar.org/servlet/content/admissions.html

 

California


Our successful alumni for California is Kieran de Terra who took and passed the exam in July 2015.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: Describe the process of applying to sit for the bar exam in your state – ex: is it one application or is moral character a separate application? Is there one deadline or multiple deadlines? etc.

Multiple applications with multiple deadlines – Bar Registration + Bar Application + Moral Character Application

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What was the part of the bar application process you found to be surprisingly hard or time consuming?

Moral Character App. Mainly because I’ve lived in so many different countries in the past 6 years.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you prior to starting your bar application?

Get it done early and make sure everything is actually submitted and paid for. You don’t want to be worrying about anything else during the summer.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What is the one thing you want to make sure all future test takers know about your state’s exam?

Getting to test day is hard. You will lose a little bit of your sanity over the summer. But putting everything you have into it pays off. When you come out the other side it will be like seeing the world in colour again.

Regarding Taking the Bar: Explain the logistics of taking the bar exam in your state – what could you bring in, what couldn’t you bring in, are there lockers, are there multiple test locations for your state or just one, etc.

San Diego Convention Center – no lockers, pencils and highlighters allowed. No silicon earplugs (grrr). No pens or highlighters on MBE day. Eye drops must be in single use sachets.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What was one thing you couldn’t bring in/you could bring in to the test that surprised you?

Silicon earplugs. Literally so arbitrary. The ones I use are clear so it’s not like I could have hidden a mic in them. Plus you could hide a mic in the foam ones just as easy. It makes no sense. I got reprimanded for wearing them on the first day.

You can find more information regarding the California State Bar Exam here: http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/

 

Colorado


Our successful alumni for Colorado is Laurence Gendelman who took and passed the bar exam in Colorado in July 2015.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: Describe the process of applying to sit for the bar exam in your state – ex: is it one application or is moral character a separate application? Is there one deadline or multiple deadlines? etc.

There is one application to take the bar that includes character and fitness. There are several sections of the application and the application is entirely online. There is one deadline for the whole application, I believe it is at the end of April for those taking the July bar. The application is $710.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What was the part of the bar application process you found to be surprisingly hard or time consuming?

The application requires information about every job, whether paid or not, including volunteering and internships. Getting this information and completing the applications took about 60 hours of my time- seriously. I had 38 jobs that I had to report. Additionally, I have had 12 different addresses in the last 10 years, 1 international, which also took some time to figure out. The hardest part is figuring out the dates for each job and when I lived at each location.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you prior to starting your bar application?

Nothing really. I think most people would have started their applications earlier though.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What is the one thing you want to make sure all future test takers know about your state’s exam?

I was working through problems much faster on the practice tests than I was on the actual exam. The only explanation that I can think of is nerves, but I have no idea. I found it very difficult to stay within the time constraints for the first time since studying. Also, Kaplan does not cut you off when typing essay responses once you have reached the word limit. The bar does. The computer will stop you from typing; this was a problem. I spent about 15 minutes during the exam just trying to figure out what I could cut out so I could complete a response and write something on each issue. With that said, even with nerves and having to cut my essay responses, I ended up with a 318 on the UBE. So my last piece of wisdom would be not to worry about a hick-up during the exam. It’s going to happen, but as long as you are prepared, it will be okay.

Regarding Taking the Bar: Explain the logistics of taking the bar exam in your state – what could you bring in, what couldn’t you bring in, are there lockers, are there multiple test locations for your state or just one, etc

You can take in nothing. Really. I saw the proctors making people remove M&Ms from their wrapping and poring them into people’s clear bag. All you get in a clear Ziploc bag. Basically, you can bring your ID, exam ticket, medication in its original bottle, and a clear 20oz water bottle. That’s it as I recall.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What was one thing you couldn’t bring in/you could bring in to the test that surprised you

The fact that all food had to be unwrapped was surprising, and absurd.

You can find more information regarding the Colorado State Bar Exam here: http://www.coloradosupremecourt.com/Future%20Lawyers/BarExamination.asp

 

Connecticut

Our successful alumni for Connecticut are Melissa Tharp who took and passed the exam in July 2015 and Tamara Titre who took and passed the exam in February 2015.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: Describe the process of applying to sit for the bar exam in your state – ex: is it one application or is moral character a separate application? Is there one deadline or multiple deadlines? etc.

Melissa – One deadline and one application

Tamara – Connecticut bar application is one process. There is no separate character and fitness application. However, once your application is processed you receive weekly status sheets informing you of what items are outstanding.

Unlike some other states, there is only one application deadline in Connecticut and they are very strict with the deadline.

Also, unlike most states, the bar application in Connecticut is a paper process. Nothing is done online. This make being aware of deadlines extremely important. Some items a are due with your initial application and other may be sent it at a later time. The CT Bar Examining Committee provide you with a list of such items that must be sent in with the initial application.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What was the part of the bar application process you found to be surprisingly hard or time consuming?

M – Employment and school histories

T – The application it self took up a great deal of time. I had taken another bar prior to Connecticut and found that state’s bar application to be less time consuming.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you prior to starting your bar application?

M – Sit down and do it all at once

T – Print out the application a few months in advance and go through it, thoroughly! Connecticut Bar Examining Committee goes through your application with a fine tooth comb. What may be okay for another state, even if recently barred, may not necessarily be okay for Connecticut. Additionally, be prepared to certify mail each piece of you application as it relates to the character portion. For example, employment references. In the end the application process can become costly. Also, be sure to keep a copy of everything!

Regarding Taking the Bar: What is the one thing you want to make sure all future test takers know about your state’s exam?

M – Do the practice questions and essays until you are above average

T – It is not a difficult bar. There are no state specific laws. If you do the work, put in the time, and follow your Kaplan schedule then you should be fine. As with any bar, it requires dedication. I would also add trying to do as many essays as possible from each subject and submit them for grading. That helped me a lot.

At the time I sat for the Connecticut bar I was working full time and studying for the exam at nights. It was very long nights. I thought this to be a very challenging process, but it was doable. I set a schedule and stuck to it!

Regarding Taking the Bar: Explain the logistics of taking the bar exam in your state – what could you bring in, what couldn’t you bring in, are there lockers, are there multiple test locations for your state or just one, etc

M – One testing location with long tables.

T – There are no lockers. You are allowed to being in pencils, sharpener, ID. These items must be a clear plastic bag. However, you are not allowed to being in cellphone, watches and wallets.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What was one thing you couldn’t bring in/you could bring in to the test that surprised you

M – Water

T – A watch

You can find more information regarding the Connecticut State Bar Exam here: http://www.jud.ct.gov/CBEC/

 

Georgia


Our successful alumni for Georgia is Chelsea Ivey who took and passed the exam in July 2015.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: Describe the process of applying to sit for the bar exam in your state – ex: is it one application or is moral character a separate application? Is there one deadline or multiple deadlines? etc.

There are two separate applications, one for fitness and one more general application (if I’m remembering correctly). One piece of advice would be to start thinking about the character and fitness questions sooner rather than later. It is a pretty extensive process and you have to remember every traffic ticket, every “incident” (arrest), every place you’ve lived, every job, etc. Also, start thinking about who you will want to be your character reference. This needs to be someone trustworthy that will have a good opinion about you, but also really know you. Think of past employers, past teachers or family friends that have known you a while, etc. It is never too early to start thinking about this and it will save so much stress when the deadline approaches!

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What was the part of the bar application process you found to be surprisingly hard or time consuming?

Character and Fitness, 100%. It is lengthy and arduous. You’ll have to go back and remember that seatbelt ticket you got as a 16 year old, any job you’ve ever held, any place you’ve ever lived etc. The Bar will also want contact information for all of the old jobs. This is sometimes hard enough to remember on it’s own, plus there might no longer be a business or anyone you worked with still there. If that’s the case, you just have to try as best you can for the contact information. If you can’t find it, explain that and it’s generally fine. Also, start reaching out to potential character references. Let them know what the process is you’re going through and that you’d really appreciate their help; let them know to expect to be contacted.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you prior to starting your bar application?

START EARLY!!

Regarding Taking the Bar: What is the one thing you want to make sure all future test takers know about your state’s exam?

The GA essays are very straight forward. Do not waste time addressing issues that are not there. These graders want very clear IRAC format and a clear, concise analysis. I had some peers that did not finish some questions because they went on irrelevant tangents just to write something down. When you see the question, take a breathe, break it down, and realize you’ve probably dealt with way more complex questions in class.

Also – study GA Civil Procedure! I did not take the class and barely touched on it during Bar Prep. It was one of the questions! But don’t worry – if you see a question you don’t know, come up with a reasonable rule or test, and follow that analysis through. I got a question about procedural deadlines I had never heard of and had no clue – but I stated that the deadline was 30 days and followed the analysis based on that assumption. Still got plenty of points and still passed! If you get the exact rule wrong, it’s no big deal. Statutes exist as a reference – the test takers are looking to make sure you know that when you DO know a rule (or find it) you know what to do with it and can carry out the proper analysis.

Regarding Taking the Bar: Explain the logistics of taking the bar exam in your state – what could you bring in, what couldn’t you bring in, are there lockers, are there multiple test locations for your state or just one, etc.

Read the list. It’s strict. Follow it. Parking was straight forward; follow the crowd.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What was one thing you couldn’t bring in/you could bring in to the test that surprised you?

LEAVE YOUR PHONE IN THE DAMN CAR. Someone got kicked out because they brought it. Even if you cry and tell them you forgot, no mercy. Just leave it in the car and don’t chance it. Leave it at home if you have to.

You can find more information regarding the Georgia State Bar Exam here: https://www.gabaradmissions.org/home

 

Hawaii


Our successful alumni for Hawai’i is Keone Nakoa who took and passed the exam in July 2015.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: Describe the process of applying to sit for the bar exam in your state – ex: is it one application or is moral character a separate application? Is there one deadline or multiple deadlines? etc.

There is one application to the Hawaii bar from what I remember, but we had to send in paperwork to the national bar examiners first.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What was the part of the bar application process you found to be surprisingly hard or time consuming?

The application was generally straightforward, and my Amazon and pizza delivery records definitely helped with addresses I had forgotten. The biggest pain was getting a diving abstract from other jurisdictions because I had a moving violation on my record. I had to mail letters with checks to the DMVs and hope I’d get something back.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you prior to starting your bar application?

Start early and keep calling the DMVs until you can speak to someone who knows what they’re talking about.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What is the one thing you want to make sure all future test takers know about your state’s exam?

The most important thing is finishing all the questions. You don’t get points for the answers you don’t have, so answer everything.

Regarding Taking the Bar: Explain the logistics of taking the bar exam in your state – what could you bring in, what couldn’t you bring in, are there lockers, are there multiple test locations for your state or just one, etc

You can bring in basically whatever you want, but you have to leave it at the back of the room. There’s one location per administration, but if you have special requirements you will be split apart.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What was one thing you couldn’t bring in/you could bring in to the test that surprised you

I don’t know, you could bring in anything, but nothing but pencils/pens were allowed on the table during the test.

You can find more information regarding the Hawai’i State Bar Exam here: http://www.courts.state.hi.us/legal_references/bar_application

 

Maryland

Our successful alumni for Maryland is Rebekah Bofinger who took and passed the exam in July 2015.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: Describe the process of applying to sit for the bar exam in your state – ex: is it one application or is moral character a separate application? Is there one deadline or multiple deadlines? etc.

The character and fitness portion and the petition to take the exam are bifurcated, with the C&F portion due first, and the petition due later (or, you can pay extra to turn in the C&F part late). There are two separate fees.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What was the part of the bar application process you found to be surprisingly hard or time consuming?

Past addresses! You need to know every dorm you lived in during undergrad, and if you went home for winter and summer breaks, you need to chronologically document it!

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you prior to starting your bar application?

Start early, and get all the contact information for your prior jobs. This will expedite the application process and also put them on notice that they will be receiving correspondence that they must fill out for you.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What is the one thing you want to make sure all future test takers know about your state’s exam?

The essays are short and to the point. No time for fancy explanations!

Regarding Taking the Bar: Explain the logistics of taking the bar exam in your state – what could you bring in, what couldn’t you bring in, are there lockers, are there multiple test locations for your state or just one, etc.

You can bring bags in and you put them on the wall during the test. This includes lunch.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What was one thing you couldn’t bring in/you could bring in to the test that surprised you?

I was surprised that you could bring in electronics/cell phones, although you need to turn them off and put them in your bag against the wall during the test.

You can find more information regarding the Maryland State Bar Exam here: http://www.mdcourts.gov/ble/generalbarexam.html

 

Massachusetts


Our successful alumna for Massachusetts is Nicole Policastro who took and passed the exam in February 2016.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: Describe the process of applying to sit for the bar exam in your state – ex: is it one application or is moral character a separate application? Is there one deadline or multiple deadlines? etc.

There is one application.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What was the part of the bar application process you found to be surprisingly hard or time consuming?

This application was relatively simple. Not many additional documents were required.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you prior to starting your bar application?

If you want seating at the Springfield location, make sure to submit the Springfield seating form early in order to have the best chance of taking the exam in this location.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What is the one thing you want to make sure all future test takers know about your state’s exam?

Read through the testing tips that the Board of Bar Examiners post! They are helpful and give you useful tips for the exam.

Regarding Taking the Bar: Explain the logistics of taking the bar exam in your state – what could you bring in, what couldn’t you bring in, are there lockers, are there multiple test locations for your state or just one, etc.

There are two testing locations, Boston and Springfield. In order to take the examination in Springfield, a separate form must be submitted and accepted. Once registered for the exam, you will receive two emails. The second email will contain your seating assignment and all of the information needed regarding what you are able to bring into the testing room. Outside of the testing rooms, there are coat racks and an area to put personal belongings that are not allowed in the testing room.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What was one thing you couldn’t bring in/you could bring in to the test that surprised you?

It was surprising that food and water bottles were allowed in to the testing room.

You can find more information regarding the Massachusetts State Bar Exam here: http://www.mass.gov/courts/court-info/sjc/attorneys-bar-applicants/bbe/

 

New Hampshire

Our successful alumni for New Hampshire is Andrea Nelson who took and passed the exam in February 2015.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: Describe the process of applying to sit for the bar exam in your state – ex: is it one application or is moral character a separate application? Is there one deadline or multiple deadlines? etc.

I don’t remember if it was one application or not, but one due date for everything, which was nice.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What was the part of the bar application process you found to be surprisingly hard or time consuming?

Sending paperwork to references to fill out and send to the bar association

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you prior to starting your bar application?

Give yourself about 2 months to complete it and make sure you have everything in with time to spare and to reduce your stress level.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What is the one thing you want to make sure all future test takers know about your state’s exam?

It has a different format than Massachusetts – different types and number of essay questions.

Regarding Taking the Bar: Explain the logistics of taking the bar exam in your state – what could you bring in, what couldn’t you bring in, are there lockers, are there multiple test locations for your state or just one, etc.

The testing location was at the U of NH in Concord. We were allowed to put our backpacks in the front of the room but could not touch them until lunch and again at the end of the day. Then there was the usual, no labels on any bottles, etc., that is standard for most bar exams.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What was one thing you couldn’t bring in/you could bring in to the test that surprised you?

I was surprised that they let us put our bags/backpacks in the front of the testing classroom.

You can find more information regarding the New Hampshire State Bar Exam here: http://www.courts.state.nh.us/nhbar/

 

New York

Our successful alumni for New York is Octavian Florescu who took and passed the exam in February 2016.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: Describe the process of applying to sit for the bar exam in your state – ex: is it one application or is moral character a separate application? Is there one deadline or multiple deadlines? etc.

Moral Character is a separate part of the application.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What was the part of the bar application process you found to be surprisingly hard or time consuming?

Affidavits from other legal positions because it relates to employments in another countries.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you prior to starting your bar application?

Do it before getting the results of the Bar examination.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What is the one thing you want to make sure all future test takers know about your state’s exam?

Prepare well for essays and MPT’s, take more time to structure these parts of the examination (the first day) thoroughly, so that once you get there it will come naturally – and almost automatically – to give the proper answer.

Regarding Taking the Bar: Explain the logistics of taking the bar exam in your state – what could you bring in, what couldn’t you bring in, are there lockers, are there multiple test locations for your state or just one, etc.

There are no lockers, just a room where you can leave your stuff that you cannot bring into the examination room. The instructions say that you leave your belongings at your own risk, but I saw it is safe and almost no peril to be stolen.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What was one thing you couldn’t bring in/you could bring in to the test that surprised you?

I brought only the things that I was instructed to bring; however I saw some test takers being prohibited to come in with electronic watches.

You can find more information regarding the New York State Bar Exam here: https://www.nybarexam.org/

 

Nevada


Our successful alumni for Nevada is Adam Osman who took and passed the exam in July 2015.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: Describe the process of applying to sit for the bar exam in your state – ex: is it one application or is moral character a separate application? Is there one deadline or multiple deadlines? etc.

There are two parts, the online application and the packet you have to mail in containing your documentation of the things you disclose in the online application, as well as various forms. As for deadlines, there is a deadline for the online application and then they mail you a “supplemental packet” which has to be returned in 21 days after it is mailed to you.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What was the part of the bar application process you found to be surprisingly hard or time consuming?

Compiling all the documentation for the few speeding and parking tickets I’ve gotten. It required talking to various court systems including one in California because not all the records could be accessed online.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you prior to starting your bar application?

Get started and finished early because the admissions people may not be available (in their offices) when you need them to ask a question.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What is the one thing you want to make sure all future test takers know about your state’s exam?

The MBE is not a pushover like a lot of other MCQ tests I was used to. Definitely study hard for the MBE, not just the essays.

Regarding Taking the Bar: Explain the logistics of taking the bar exam in your state – what could you bring in, what couldn’t you bring in, are there lockers, are there multiple test locations for your state or just one, etc

There are two locations in Nevada, Las Vegas and Reno. At UNLV I didn’t have a locker, we had to pile our bags outside the door. In the exam room we were allowed our laptops and nothing else. Pencils, scratch paper, and earplugs were provided in the exam room.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What was one thing you couldn’t bring in/you could bring in to the test that surprised you

Basically you can’t bring in anything at all, other than your laptop on essay days. I thought I’d at least be allowed to bring in something simple like a pencil, eraser, or a highlighter.

You can find more information regarding the Nevada State Bar Exam here: https://www.nvbar.org/for-lawyers/admissions-4003/bar-exam/

 

North Carolina


Our successful alumni for North Carolina is Zachary Moulton who took and passed the exam in February 2016.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: Describe the process of applying to sit for the bar exam in your state – ex: is it one application or is moral character a separate application? Is there one deadline or multiple deadlines? etc.

There is one application. There is an early deadline that has a cheaper filing fee and then a regular deadline.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What was the part of the bar application process you found to be surprisingly hard or time consuming?

The application itself takes longer than you would think. Filling out the information for all of the references is time-consuming.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you prior to starting your bar application?

Start a month or so in advance to ensure you complete it in time. Definitely try to meet the early deadline if you can as it saves you a good amount of money.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What is the one thing you want to make sure all future test takers know about your state’s exam?

Do a lot of practice essays. These help tremendously.

Regarding Taking the Bar: Explain the logistics of taking the bar exam in your state – what could you bring in, what couldn’t you bring in, are there lockers, are there multiple test locations for your state or just one, etc

You could only bring in your laptop, power cord, ID, car keys, and a jacket without any pockets.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What was one thing you couldn’t bring in/you could bring in to the test that surprised you?

Jackets with pockets were not allowed in

You can find more information regarding the North Carolina State Bar Exam here: https://ncble.org/

 

Oregon


Our successful alumni for Oregon are Kira Stanley who took and passed the exam in July 2015 and Elijah Brown who took and passed the exam in February 2016.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: Describe the process of applying to sit for the bar exam in your state – ex: is it one application or is moral character a separate application? Is there one deadline or multiple deadlines? etc.

Kira – It’s alone application that’s due mid April.

Elijah – Applying for the bar is a longer, but relatively straightforward process. It is accessed online and filled out in a PDF format. There are two dates: a timely filing and a late filing. The late filing costs more.

One important thing to note is that you need Adobe Acrobat to sufficiently fill it out (as opposed to Mac Preview). The moral character and the application are wrapped into the same application. I would start the process 30-45 days before the application deadline as it requires a lot of addresses and sending of affidavits out.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What was the part of the bar application process you found to be surprisingly hard or time consuming?

K – Filling out all of my old addresses and times I lived there. My parents are divorced so I’ve got multiple addresses for any single time period. Add in different houses I was living in during college and it was a bit of a nightmare to relate on the form.

E – Finding addresses and old employers.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you prior to starting your bar application?

K – There wasn’t really anything I wasn’t expecting.

E – To start early.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What is the one thing you want to make sure all future test takers know about your state’s exam?

K – You can leave early for all sections if you want. Someone told me you couldn’t leave the essay early but then someone else said you could. So I guess I’m not actually sure about that one. [Kaplan note: We reached out to Charles Schultz, the Admissions Director of the Oregon Bar Exam and he provided the following clarification on Kira’s point: “Oregon allows applicants to leave early on the second day of the exam (MBE), up to ten minutes before the end of the session.  On Tuesday, applicants are told they cannot leave early.  With that said, we do have people who finish early on Tuesday who sometimes go stand at the back of the room until the last minute or so.   An applicant could theoretically finish the written session and then close out ExamSoft and leave, but we would; 1) not let an applicant leave with their computer before the end of the session and 2) if an applicant didn’t properly close out ExamSoft they would be logged in past the end of the session and we would have to disqualify the exam.”]

E – With 7 or more years of schooling under your belt, you know best how you learn. I wish I spent less time asking former bar takers for advice and more time mentally preparing myself for what I know I needed to do.

Regarding Taking the Bar: Explain the logistics of taking the bar exam in your state – what could you bring in, what couldn’t you bring in, are there lockers, are there multiple test locations for your state or just one, etc.

K – You can’t bring in very much and I don’t think there are any lockers. It’s always at the same hotel though so just get a room there and don’t stress about traffic or parking.

E – It is taken at a hotel. You can bring food with you, which is nice to give a small carb boost when you feel yourself slowing down. Everything is in a plastic bag. There is no place to put things outside of the testing room, so it is best to leave it in your room and then on the lunch hour of the second day, move everything to your car so you can just leave right after the test.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What was one thing you couldn’t bring in/you could bring in to the test that surprised you?

K – Cough drops have to be unwrapped. That was weird to me.

E – Nothing. It was pretty common-sense what would be excluded.

You can find more information regarding the Oregon State Bar Exam here: https://www.osbar.org/admissions

 

Rhode Island

Our successful alumni for Rhode Island are Anthony Sinapi who took and passed the exam in February 2016 and Nicole Policastro who took and passed the exam in February 2016.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: Describe the process of applying to sit for the bar exam in your state – ex: is it one application or is moral character a separate application? Is there one deadline or multiple deadlines? etc.

Anthony – one incredibly long application

Nicole –  There is one application comprised of several parts.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What was the part of the bar application process you found to be surprisingly hard or time consuming?

A – Bar Application – because it’s so long

N –  The part of the application process which was surprisingly time consuming was obtaining background checks from every state in which I have lived and ensuring that all of my former employers submitted the requested proof of employment forms.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you prior to starting your bar application?

A – How to answer every question

N –  Give yourself enough time to submit the background check requests to each state and make sure you obtain notarized copies.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What is the one thing you want to make sure all future test takers know about your state’s exam?

A – answer each question, even the MPT, the same way (in addition to whatever instructions are given).

N –  Do not forget about the MPT! It is an easy way to get points. Also, make sure to start memorizing early. Doing practice essays and reading the sample answers are a great way to start the memorization process.

Regarding Taking the Bar: Explain the logistics of taking the bar exam in your state – what could you bring in, what couldn’t you bring in, are there lockers, are there multiple test locations for your state or just one, etc.

A – Just one test location in RI – right next to a bunch of hotels and a parking garage

N –  Once you register for the exam, you will begin to receive emails that give out important information regarding exam day, including what you are able to bring in to the exam. There is an area right outside of the testing room to leave personal belongings that you are not able to bring into the testing room.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What was one thing you couldn’t bring in/you could bring in to the test that surprised you?

A – RI – can’t bring in water or anything of the sort.

N –  Nothing. The list was pretty standard.

You can find more information regarding the Rhode Island State Bar Exam here: https://www.courts.ri.gov/AttorneyResources/baradmission/Pages/Admission%20on%20Examination.aspx

 

South Carolina


Our successful alumni for South Carolina is Kathleen Crone who took and passed the exam in July 2015.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: Describe the process of applying to sit for the bar exam in your state – ex: is it one application or is moral character a separate application? Is there one deadline or multiple deadlines? etc.

There is one application for the South Carolina bar. There is a hard deadline and then a late deadline which requires a fee. Once the South Carolina Supreme Court has received your application and had a chance to review it, they will contact you and let you know if you had an deficiencies that need to be corrected. You receive a letter a few weeks before the bar exam that lets you know you can sit for the exam and it also provides you an agenda for how the test will take place. The South Carolina bar is three days long with two days of essay. The South Carolina Supreme Court lets you know the order of the essays that will be tested in the aforementioned letter.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What was the part of the bar application process you found to be surprisingly hard or time consuming?

Specifically, I thought it was time consuming to remember the actual year and month of every lease I have ever signed or ever placed I have ever lived since I was 18. I also thought it was time consuming and a little expensive to collect transcripts and other necessary documents. I thought the SC bar application was tough until I applied for the NC bar. I was a licensed attorney when I applied for the NC bar, so that definitely made my application more extensive, but even taking that into consideration, I think the NC bar application is a lot more hard and time consuming that SC.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you prior to starting your bar application?

Expect delay in the process of applying. You are providing a substantial amount of information about yourself and it will take time to collect all of this information. Do not wait until the last minute to try and do this.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What is the one thing you want to make sure all future test takers know about your state’s exam?

SC is a three day bar exam. Three days is a long time. Three days is very different than two days. Two days of essay is very different than one day of essay. Taking the MBE after two days of essay requires stamina that has to be acquired in the months prior to the bar exam.

Regarding Taking the Bar: Explain the logistics of taking the bar exam in your state – what could you bring in, what couldn’t you bring in, are there lockers, are there multiple test locations for your state or just one, etc.

In SC, because it is a small state, everyone takes the bar in one location. For the two days of essay, hand-writers are in one room and computer-writers are in another. Everyone is combined into one giant room for the MBE. I do not remember the exact logistics of what we could and could not bring in because I simply erred on the side of bringing in as little as possible. So I brought in my license, the ID card issued to me by the SC Supreme Court for the bar exam, and I want to say that was it. I hand wrote the exam and pens were provided for us. You are allowed to bring in study materials and they provide an un-guarded room where you leave those materials before you enter the testing room. I never brought any materials with me, I would always study by myself in my hotel room and leave at the last possible minute to simply walk into the test.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What was one thing you couldn’t bring in/you could bring in to the test that surprised you?

Water. So if we needed water, we had to get up and go to a water fountain. This was a little tough for me because I drink a lot of water periodically throughout the day. I never got up to get water because I did not want to waste time, but I definitely drank water during the breaks.

You can find more information regarding the South Carolina State Bar Exam here: http://www.judicial.state.sc.us/bar/

 

Texas

Our successful alumni for Texas are William Patrick Dinnin who took and passed the exam in July 2015 and Zara Najam who passed the exam in February 2012.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: Describe the process of applying to sit for the bar exam in your state – ex: is it one application or is moral character a separate application? Is there one deadline or multiple deadlines? etc.

William Patrick – I’m not exactly sure. Applying for the bar was a several year process. The moral character aspect was a part of the process but was handled while I was a 1L and 2L. Everything else was done later. It may be one application done in different steps. It was not difficult and very clear.

Zara – The Texas Bar exam requires applying for a separate moral character application. I believe there is one deadline but I can’t recall.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What was the part of the bar application process you found to be surprisingly hard or time consuming?

WP – Character and Fitness was difficult because if the information does not line up exactly with your law school application the bar responds very aggressively and you must prove to them why you gave different answers. I had several friends who forgot to disclose minor tickets from college who were put through a lengthy process.

Z – I honestly do not recall the application process.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you prior to starting your bar application?

WP – I would tell anyone to just submit everything you have and could ever think of that might be useful. It is better than having to explain why you didn’t disclose something later.

Z – It will take more than just a couple of hours to complete so be sure to get started early.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What is the one thing you want to make sure all future test takers know about your state’s exam?

WP – Take it seriously. Stick to the schedule that Kaplan gives you to the best of your ability. Take time for yourself, but plan it in advance. Practice as often as possible. I did as many practice essays as I could and an obscure, old test had a question that was the center of one of the tested questions. While Kaplan nailed the “big picture” and “commonly tested” points, you still need to focus on the obscure stuff. There were many examples of topics that the bar had “not tested over in 10 years” that popped up on the test and were vital to the answer. At least take the time to understand it, even if you don’t have time to memorize it.

Z – Take practice tests as much as possible, even if its just in sections. That is the best way to truly test your knowledge instead of just memorizing rules.

Regarding Taking the Bar: Explain the logistics of taking the bar exam in your state – what could you bring in, what couldn’t you bring in, are there lockers, are there multiple test locations for your state or just one, etc.

WP -The logistics were very strict. You have to bring in your belongings in a 2 gallon ziplock bag. No watches (thanks apple), and I’m sure they will be on top of glasses soon as well. In Austin there were no lockers and the parking at the convention center is not super close so if you bring in something you can’t have, you have to hustle to get to your car and back. The line to get in was very long but went relatively quickly. I decided to stay in a hotel across the street so that I didn’t have to deal with parking or traffic which worked very nicely (even though I lived within a few miles of the location, you never know with austin traffic). The room is a gigantic convention center room with only one bathroom near the very front corner. I was about the 5th furthest seat away, which meant going to the bathroom was very tough to pull off on a time crunch. Practice without drinking water so that you don’t have to get up for the water fountain and hopefully not the bathroom. Expect the unexpected. I had a girl get a nose bleed in front of me and a distracting guy next to me who finished an hour early and tapped his pencil the rest of the time.

Z – The Bar exam was 3 days long and we could only bring our laptop, ID/highlights/pencils in a zip loc bag.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What was one thing you couldn’t bring in/you could bring in to the test that surprised you?

WP – Watches surprised me the most, along with everyone else. Apparently barbri encouraged people to bring in watches to keep track of time, but there were many people scrambling to go to their cars rather than leave their expensive watches in the hallway. There is a huge digital clock on a projection screen. I could see it from the last row just fine. Also, they announce the time remaining a few times.

Z – Nothing surprised me

You can find more information regarding the Texas State Bar Exam here: http://www.ble.state.tx.us/

 

West Virginia

Our successful alumni for West Virginia is Shaun Russell who took and passed the exam in July 2015.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: Describe the process of applying to sit for the bar exam in your state – ex: is it one application or is moral character a separate application? Is there one deadline or multiple deadlines? etc.

One deadline; two separate applications

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What was the part of the bar application process you found to be surprisingly hard or time consuming?

Compiling information for character and fitness

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you prior to starting your bar application?

Start early

Regarding Taking the Bar: What is the one thing you want to make sure all future test takers know about your state’s exam?

N/A as my state is now switching to the UBE

Regarding Taking the Bar: Explain the logistics of taking the bar exam in your state – what could you bring in, what couldn’t you bring in, are there lockers, are there multiple test locations for your state or just one, etc.

One test location; no lockers

Regarding Taking the Bar: What was one thing you couldn’t bring in/you could bring in to the test that surprised you?

They limit the number of bathroom breaks you get

You can find more information regarding the West Virginia State Bar Exam here: http://www.courtswv.gov/legal-community/board-of-law-examiners.html

 

Washington


Our successful alumni for Washington State are Samantha Zimmerman who took and passed the exam in July 2015 and Patricia Bredlau who took and passed the exam in July 2015 as well.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: Describe the process of applying to sit for the bar exam in your state – ex: is it one application or is moral character a separate application? Is there one deadline or multiple deadlines? etc.

Samantha – There is only one application to apply for the Washington Bar Exam, and from what I remember I think there is only one deadline.

Patricia – It is one application with one deadline and a late deadline.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What was the part of the bar application process you found to be surprisingly hard or time consuming?

S – The part of the bar application that was surprisingly difficult for me was having to give such detailed information regarding my past work experiences, all the places I have lived in the past seven years, and specific dates for being enrolled in school. I did not realize how long it would take to look up all of my old addresses and try to determine the specific start/end dates of previous jobs and schools I attended.

P – Finding addresses and employment for the past ten years. Employment was difficult because of the odd jobs I worked in law school as well as in undergrad. They consider volunteer positions as employment as well so it can be quite extensive if you are active in your community.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you prior to starting your bar application?

S – Since you have to provide extensive and specific information regarding your previous work experience, prior education, and residential history, you should try to keep copies of things like old leases and offers of employment. Also, start collecting this information early; it will take longer than you think.

P – Write everything down in a word document and then transfer it to your application. This will ensure you have all the information kept in a secure location.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What is the one thing you want to make sure all future test takers know about your state’s exam?

S – It is graded on a curve, so as long as you are keeping up with your assignments and studying as much or more than most of your peers, you will probably pass. [Kaplan note – the bar exam is NOT graded on a curve.  This is incorrect.  The exam is scaled, however, which is an important distinction to know.]

P – The MBE questions are difficult but follow patterns of type of question. If you do enough practice questions you can start to recognize the question pattern and do very well.

Regarding Taking the Bar: Explain the logistics of taking the bar exam in your state – what could you bring in, what couldn’t you bring in, are there lockers, are there multiple test locations for your state or just one, etc

S – You could only bring in your ID, a couple of pencils and erasers, and your ticket to get into the exam room. There is just one test location; when I took it it was in Tacoma, WA at the Tacoma Convention Center. There were no lockers but some people left their things outside the exam room.

P – There is one location to take the bar exam, the Convention Center in Tacoma. You can only bring in the test item essentials like your computer, pens, and so on. You can not bring in your own water. They have coffee and water available in the hall and small cups available for you to bring in. There are no lockers but they do have examiners in the hall where your belongings are located. While they are not specifically watching your things, it would be difficult for someone to come in and steal. They keep security at the entrance and are asking people as they come in what they are there for. I would not worry about leaving items in the hallway. I would also recommend bringing a lunch. There are not many options within walking distance and those that are become slammed during the hour lunch break.

As a side note I would recommend trying to get accommodations by the State for any needs you might have. If you are pregnant you can have a pillow at your seat, same thing if you have back pain. I also received accommodations as a breast feeding mother which allowed me to take the exam with one other person in a private room which was great. Even if you don’t think your condition is that big I would always try to receive some sort of accommodation. The worst thing the State can say is no so it is worth a try.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What was one thing you couldn’t bring in/you could bring in to the test that surprised you

S – I don’t think we were allowed to bring watches of any kind into the room; I understood not being able to bring in digital watches, but it seemed to be a little overboard that they prevented you from wearing a simple analog watch.

P – I was surprised that we were allowed highlighters. That was a big change in the rules our exam. I didn’t practice with highlighters because I didn’t think I would be allowed to take them in. I think the use of highlighters makes writing essays much easier and is a plus for exam takers.

You can find more information regarding the Washington State Bar Exam here: http://www.wsba.org/Licensing-and-Lawyer-Conduct/Admissions

 

Washington, D.C.


Our successful alumni for Washington, D.C. is Sara Aguiniga who sat for and passed the exam in July 2015.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: Describe the process of applying to sit for the bar exam in your state – ex: is it one application or is moral character a separate application? Is there one deadline or multiple deadlines? etc.

The application was somewhat burdensome. It asks about your work experiences from the last 10 years.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What was the part of the bar application process you found to be surprisingly hard or time consuming?

I found that getting the documentation- like letter of good standing from your law school- the most time-consuming.

Regarding Applying for the Bar: What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you prior to starting your bar application?

Start as early as possible! Don’t be the person who misses the deadline! That happened to one of my friends, it was terrible.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What is the one thing you want to make sure all future test takers know about your state’s exam?

Remember that D.C. is now a UBE jurisdiction, which means that you have to site both majority and minority rules. Keep a very open mind while taking the exam and don’t get bogged down by any questions or overly-long answers.

Regarding Taking the Bar: Explain the logistics of taking the bar exam in your state – what could you bring in, what couldn’t you bring in, are there lockers, are there multiple test locations for your state or just one, etc

We could bring in bags but had to leave them against the wall, which is pretty standard.

Regarding Taking the Bar: What was one thing you couldn’t bring in/you could bring in to the test that surprised you

Water! That was no fun! I drink a ton of water so it was hard not to have any during the exam.

You can find more information regarding the Washington, D.C. Bar Exam here: http://www.dccourts.gov/internet/appellate/admincommittee/main.jsf