The New York State Bar Examination
DESCRIPTION OF THE BAR EXAMINATION
The New York State bar
examination is administered twice a year on the last Tuesday and
Wednesday of every February and July. The bar examination contains
two sections, the New York section which is given on Tuesday, and
the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) which is given on Wednesday.
The New York section consists of five essay questions and 50
multiple choice questions prepared by the New York Board, and one
Multistate Performance Test question, developed by the National
Conference of Bar Examiners. The second day of the exam is the MBE
section which consists of 200 multiple choice questions. Each day of
the examination will consist of a morning session and an afternoon
session with a lunch break in between. The examination is given at
the same time and date at various testing locations across the
Schedule for First Day of the Examination (Tuesday):
In the morning session, which begins at 9:00 A.M. and ends at 12:15 P.M., applicants must complete three essays and the 50 multiple choice questions in three hours and 15 minutes. Although applicants are free to use their time as they choose, the Board estimates an allocation of 40 minutes per essay and 1.5 minutes per multiple choice question.
In the afternoon session, which begins at 2:00 P.M. and ends at 5:00 P.M., applicants must complete the remaining two essay questions and the MPT in three hours. Again, although applicants are free to use their time as they choose, the National Conference of Bar Examiners developed the MPT with the intention that it be used as a 90-minute test. Therefore, the Board recommends that applicants allocate 90 minutes to the MPT and 45 minutes to each essay.
Schedule for Second Day of the Examination – MBE (Wednesday):
The second day of the examination is the Multistate Bar Examination. The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) is a six-hour, two-hundred question multiple-choice examination covering contracts, torts, constitutional law, criminal law, evidence, real property and Federal Civil Practice and Procedure. The examination is divided into two periods of three hours each, one in the morning [9:30am to 12:30pm] and one in the afternoon [2:00pm to 5:00pm], with 100 questions in each period.
QUALIFYING TO SIT FOR THE BAR EXAMINATION - Applicants may
qualify to sit for the New York bar Examination in four ways:
1. Graduation from an American Bar Association (ABA) approved law school in the United States with a juris doctor degree (Section 520.3 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals.)
2. A combination of law school study at an ABA approved law school and law office study. (Section 520.4 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals)
3. Graduation from an unapproved law school in the United States with a juris doctor degree and practice in a jurisdiction where admitted for 5 of the 7 years immediately preceding application to sit for the New York bar examination. (Section 520.5 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals)
4. Foreign law school study. (Section 520.6 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals) (See also, "Foreign Legal Education" section of this website)
Applicants are strongly encouraged to carefully review the eligibility rules under Section 520 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals prior to applying to sit for the bar examination. It is the responsibility of each applicant to be aware of the eligibility requirements of the Rules of the Court of Appeals and the burden is on each applicant to demonstrate their compliance with the requirements of the Court Rules.
APPLYING TO SIT FOR THE BAR EXAMINATION – Applicants may apply to sit for the bar examination by filing an online application which is available on the Board’s website. Applicants who do not have access to the online application may contact the Board’s office to request a paper application.
BOARD OF LAW EXAMINERS ID (“BOLE ID”) – After applying for the bar examination, each applicant will be assigned a unique identification number called a BOLE ID. If you apply online, your BOLE ID will appear on the Invoice/Confirmation page after you have electronically submitted your application. If you are unable to apply online and submit a paper application, your BOLE ID will be included on the Letter of Acknowledgement sent to you after your application has been received and processed by the Board. You should retain your BOLE ID and use it for all future correspondence - oral, written or otherwise - with the Board’s office.
APPLICATION FEES - The
application fee for the New York State bar examination is set in
statute by the New York State Legislature. The application fee for
candidates qualifying for the bar examination under Court of Appeals
Rule 520.3 (ABA approved law schools), 520.4 (law office study), and
520.5 (unapproved law schools) is $250. The application fee for
candidates qualifying for the bar examination under Rule 520.6
(study of law in a foreign country) is $750.
If you choose to file the on-line application, the only acceptable form of payment is a credit card (Visa and Master Card only). Debit cards are not accepted. At this time, the only way to use a credit card for payment is by filing an on-line application. The Board cannot accept credit card payment by mail or by phone. If you choose to file a paper application by mail, the only acceptable forms of payment are as follows: certified check or cashier's check drawn on a U.S. bank, money order or travelers check drawn on a U.S. bank or financial institution. All payments should be made payable to: "NYS Board of Law Examiners." PERSONAL CHECKS ARE NOT ACCEPTED AND PLEASE DO NOT SEND CASH.
DATES OF BAR EXAMINATION AND FILING DEADLINES - The following is a list of bar exam dates for the next year. As a rule, the bar exam is always held on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of every February and July.
|Dates of Examination||Application Filing Period|
|February 24-25, 2015||November 1 – November 30, 2014|
|July 28-29, 2015||April 1 – April 30, 2015|
THERE IS NO PROVISION FOR LATE FILING.
Re-Applicants please note: If you took and failed the immediately preceding examination, the deadline for re-application is the later of (1) the filing deadline above; or (2) 14 days from the date of the release of the examination results. Re-applicants who did not complete both days of the immediately preceding examination do not get the benefit of this extension.
The New York State Board of Law Examiners permits applicants to use their personal laptop computers (“laptops”) with pre-installed security software to word process their answers to the essay questions and the MPT on the NYS bar examination (Laptop Program).
Applicants must elect to use their own laptop when completing the online application if they plan to type the answers to the essay portion of the examination. Once the application period has ended, an email will be sent to all applicants who elected to use a laptop which will include information regarding purchasing the software and registering the laptop that will be used at the examination. No one will be added to the laptop program after the registration period closes. If an applicant does not choose to use a laptop on the online application or does not timely complete the entire registration process, they will be required to handwrite the answers to the essay questions.
Please carefully consider the following information when determining
whether to participate in the Laptop Program:
There are certain risks associated
with participation in the Laptop Program. Before you register to
participate in the Laptop Program, you must read and acknowledge
the “Notice to Participants in the NY Bar Examination Laptop
Program” a copy of which is located on the laptop page of the
Bar Exam Application. As part of this Notice, you will be
required to acknowledge and understand that, in the event of any
technical difficulties, you will be required to handwrite your
There is a non-refundable and/or
technology fee of $100 which you will be required to pay
directly to ExamSoft Worldwide, the software vendor selected for
the Laptop Program. Applicants will be contacted by email
shortly after the application period ends with the necessary
instructions for registering with ExamSoft. You will be required
to cooperate with ExamSoft to 1) register for the laptop
program; 2) download and install the security software; and 3)
certify your laptop for the bar examination.
Click here for details about ExamSoft
software. Note: Once you have
purchased the software, there is a $50 re-installation fee
(which you pay directly to ExamSoft) if you need to re-install
Laptop Test Centers – The Laptop
Program is not available in all test centers. At this time, the
Board plans to make laptop seats available at test sites in
Manhattan, Westchester, Albany, and Buffalo, and applicants will
generally be assigned to sites based on their place of
residence. Out of state residents will generally be assigned to
a test site in Albany or Buffalo. More specific information
regarding test center assignments will follow by email after the
application filing period has closed.
After the conclusion of the bar
exam, applicants will be required to upload their essay answers
over the internet to the Examsoft secure site by no later than
8:30 pm (EST) on the Wednesday following the essay day of the
exam (MBE day). Failure to do so may result in the
disqualification of your answers. Internet access will not be
available at the test site to upload your exam files. You must
be able to connect the laptop you used to take the bar exam to
the internet in order to successfully perform the upload of your
essay answers. If you do not think that you will be able to
comply with this upload deadline then you should NOT participate
in the laptop program.
All communications regarding the
Laptop Program will be by email only and sent directly from
It is your responsibility to provide a valid email address on
your application and to promptly notify the Board and ExamSoft
of any change in your email address.
The homepage of the Board’s website will
be updated when the dates and deadlines to register your laptop
for a particular exam are determined. If you do not
receive the email regarding purchasing the software and
registering your laptop during this time, you should call the
Board office. We
strongly recommend that laptop candidates add
their contacts and safe senders list to assure receipt of all
laptop related email communications.
- You must provide your own laptop which must meet or exceed the following minimum system requirements as determined by ExamSoft:
Foreign Language Packs:
Candidates who have a laptop with foreign language packs should be sure that you use a font that is recognized in the United States (e.g. Arial, Times New Roman or Courier). NOTE: Users of Asian languages must visit www.examsoft.com/asian for additional instructions.
Apple Macintosh Users:
A native version of SofTest is now available for the MAC
operating system (Bootcamp is NOT required). See
Mac minimum system requirements for more specifics.
NEW YORK LOCAL SECTION
The New York portion is based on both procedural and substantive law. The subject areas that may be tested on the New York portion of the bar examination are listed in the Content Outline. The Content Outline is intended to indicate, in summary fashion, the potential scope of coverage for the local section of the examination. More than one subject is tested in a single essay question. Except for questions involving federal constitutional law, the New York essay and multiple choice questions are based on the law of New York.
The New York multiple choice questions require the applicant to
select the correct answer from among four stated alternatives, of
which only one is correct.
Each essay question is designed to test the applicant's ability to analyze a given set of facts, to identify the issues involved and the applicable principles of law, and to reason from there to a sound conclusion. An essay answer should show a recognition of each issue presented by the material facts, discuss the principles of law applicable thereto and set forth the reasoning by which the conclusion has been reached. The answer should be clear and concise. It should be confined to the particular issues presented and should not include information that is not responsive to the question. Appropriate credit is given in the grading of essay answers for well reasoned analyses of the issues and legal principles involved even though the final conclusion itself may be incorrect.
The ability to effectively communicate is essential to competent legal practice. In grading, consideration is given to whether the answer is appropriately organized; whether the analysis is expressed with precision, clarity, logic and economy; whether relevant facts are cited and analyzed in support of a stated conclusion; whether appropriate legal terms are incorporated into the analysis; and whether overall the answer reflects an ability to communicate in an effective manner.
A compilation of the essay questions and sample above average
candidate answers from the three most recent bar examinations are
available on this web site.
MULTISTATE PERFORMANCE TEST (MPT)
The MPT, developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, is a 90 minute skills question covering legal analysis, fact analysis, problem solving, resolution of ethical dilemmas, organization and management of a lawyering task, and communication.
The Multistate Performance Test is designed to test an applicant’s ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation. Each test evaluates an applicant’s ability to complete a task which a beginning lawyer should be able to accomplish.
The materials for each MPT include a File and a Library. The File consists of source documents containing all the facts of the case. The specific assignment the applicant is to complete is described in a memorandum from a supervising attorney. The File might also include, for example, transcripts of interviews, depositions, hearings or trials, pleadings, correspondence, client documents, contracts, newspaper articles, medical records, police reports, and lawyer’s notes. Relevant as well as irrelevant facts are included. Facts are sometimes ambiguous, incomplete, or even conflicting. As in practice, a client’s or supervising attorney’s version of events may be incomplete or unreliable. Applicants are expected to recognize when facts are inconsistent or missing and are expected to identify sources of additional facts.
The Library consists of cases, statutes, regulations and rules, some of which may not be relevant to the assigned lawyering task. The applicant is expected to extract from the Library the legal principles necessary to analyze the problem and perform the task. The MPT is not a test of substantive law, and problems may arise in a variety of fields. Library materials provide sufficient substantive information to complete the task.
The MPT requires applicants to (1) sort detailed factual materials and separate relevant from irrelevant facts; (2) analyze statutory, case, and administrative materials for relevant principles of law; (3) apply the relevant law to the relevant facts in a manner likely to resolve a client’s problem; (4) identify and resolve ethical dilemmas, when present; (5) communicate effectively in writing; (6) complete a lawyering task within time constraints.
These skills will be tested by requiring applicants to perform one of a variety of lawyering tasks. Although it is not feasible to list all possibilities, examples of tasks applicants might be instructed to complete include writing the following: a memorandum to a supervising attorney; a letter to a client; a persuasive memorandum or brief; a statement of facts; a contract provision; a will; a counseling plan; a proposal for settlement or agreement; a discovery plan; a witness examination plan; a closing argument.
Additional information on the MPT, including the availability of study aids, is available from the National Conference of Bar Examiners at http://www.ncbex.org/about-ncbe-exams/mpt/
MULTISTATE BAR EXAMINATION (MBE)
The MBE includes 190 live test questions in the following areas: Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts. There are 33 questions each in Contracts and Torts and 31 questions each in Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, and Real Property. In addition the exam contains 10 pretest questions which are indistinguishable from the live test items, but will not be used for scoring purposes.
The questions on the examination are designed to be answered by applying fundamental legal principles rather than local case or statutory law. A given question may indicate the applicable statute, theory of liability, or comparable principle of law.
Many of the questions require applicants to analyze the legal relationships arising from a fact situation or to take a position as an advocate. Some questions call for suggestions about interpreting, drafting, or counseling that might lead to more effective structuring of a transaction.
All questions are multiple choice. Applicants are asked to choose the best answer from the four stated alternatives. The test is designed to give credit only when the applicant has selected the best answer. Therefore, applicants should mark only one answer for each question; multiple answers will not be counted.
Scores are based on the number of questions answered correctly. Applicants are, therefore, advised to answer every question. Time should be used effectively. Applicants should not hurry, but should work steadily and as quickly as possible without sacrificing accuracy. If a question seems too difficult, the applicant is advised to go on to the next one and come back to the skipped question later.
Answer sheets are centrally scored. Both raw scores and scaled scores are computed for each applicant. A raw score is the number of questions answered correctly. Raw scores on different forms of the test are not comparable primarily due to differences in the difficulty of the test forms. A statistical process called equating adjusts for variations in the difficulty of different forms of the examination so that any particular scaled score will represent the same level of performance from test to test.
For instance, if a test were more difficult than previous tests, then the scaled scores on that test would be adjusted upward to account for this difference. The purpose of these adjustments is to help ensure that no applicant is unfairly penalized (or rewarded) for taking a more (or less) difficult form of the test.
Additional information on the MBE, including the availability of sample questions, is available from the National Conference of Bar Examiners at http://www.ncbex.org/about-ncbe-exams/mbe/
The National Conference of Bar Examiners has developed and released three MBE practice exams which may be used as study aids. MBE Online Practice Exams 1, 2 and 3 are available for purchase at the NCBE Online Store at http://www.ncbex.org/practice-exams/. Each MBE Online Practice Exam consists of 100 questions drawn from recent actual MBEs, representing the same content distribution as is seen on a full-length MBE. Candidates may take these exams in either timed or untimed sittings, and they will receive feedback on their answers, including annotations and a customized score report.
While the subscription is active, examinees may take the Practice Exam as often as they wish.
MBE SCORE TRANSFERS
Transfer of Concurrent MBE Score from another jurisdiction to New York: As set forth in Board Rule 6000.6(g)(1), An applicant taking the New York bar examination and a concurrent bar examination in another jurisdiction shall have the option to take the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) in the other jurisdiction on the same day that such examination is given in New York, and the MBE scale score attained in such other jurisdiction will be combined with the applicant's scores on the New York section of the examination in the same manner as if the applicant had taken the MBE in New York. An applicant who elects to use an MBE score from another jurisdiction as permitted above shall notify the Board of such election at the time that the application to sit for the New York State bar examination is filed, and shall make the arrangements to have such score timely transferred to New York. To transfer a concurrent MBE score to New York from another jurisdiction the applicant must complete the MBE score transfer form available on the website of the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and pay the prescribed NCBE score transfer fee, or, if the other jurisdiction transfers its own MBE scores, follow the procedures outlined by the other jurisdiction. The transferred MBE score must be received in the Board’s office no later than April 1 following a February examination, and no later than October 1 following a July examination. It shall be the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the Board receives the report of the transferred MBE score in a timely manner. Failure to timely transfer an MBE score to the Board shall result in the nullification of an applicant’s bar examination scores.
MBE scores transferred from another jurisdiction will not be reported to candidates who are successful on the New York State bar examination.
An applicant who elects to use an MBE score from another jurisdiction as permitted above shall notify the Board of such election at the time that the application to sit for the New York State bar examination is filed, and shall make the arrangements to have such score timely transferred to New York.
The Board no longer accepts the transfer of MBE scores earned from a prior administration of the MBE in another jurisdiction.
Transfer of MBE Score Earned in New York to Other Jurisdictions. As set forth in Board Rule 6000.6(g)(2), an applicant taking the bar examination in New York may request the certification of an MBE score earned in New York to another jurisdiction. An applicant requesting certification of an MBE score earned in New York to another jurisdiction must direct such request to the Board’s office on a form provided by the Board and pay the prescribed fee as defined in Board Rule 6000.3(c).
All applicants who have passed the bar examination and are seeking
admission to practice law in New York State must take and pass the
Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)
administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE)
prior to being certified by the Board to the Appellate Division.
The passing score in New York for the MPRE is 85.
The MPRE can be taken before or after the bar examination, however, the applicant must pass the MPRE within three years either before or after passing the New York bar examination, as measured from the date the applicant sat for each examination. Therefore, if it has been more than three years since an applicant took and passed the MPRE, the applicant will be required to re-sit and pass the MPRE before the applicant may be certified to the Appellate Division as having passed the bar examination.
Applicants must designate New York as the jurisdiction to which the score should be reported or have an official score report sent to the Board by the NCBE.
Applicants who have not submitted to the Board proof of having taken and passed the MPRE by the time the bar examination results are released, will be notified that they have passed the bar examination but the Board will NOT certify such applicants to the Supreme Court, Appellate Division. Such applicants will have three years from the date of the letter sent by the New York State Board of Law Examiners notifying the applicant that the applicant has passed the bar examination to take and pass the MPRE otherwise they will have to re-sit the bar examination.
The MPRE is administered three times each year, in March, August and November. Applications and information regarding the MPRE is available from NCBE at http://www.ncbex.org/about-ncbe-exams/mpre/.
Applicants Seeking Admission in Another Jurisdiction. An applicant seeking admission to the practice of law in another jurisdiction may request that New York transfer a Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) score from its archives to the other jurisdiction. To be eligible for transfer, the MPRE score must be no longer available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) score report service (i.e. score was earned prior to 1999), and the MPRE score must have been officially reported to New York by the NCBE. An applicant requesting transfer of an MPRE score to another jurisdiction must direct such request to the Board’s office on a form provided by the Board (MPRE TRANSFER FORM) and pay the fee prescribed in Section 6000.3(f) of this Part. If the score is not available in the Board’s files, the applicant will be so notified, and the payment will be returned. In some cases, the Board will not have an actual score but will only have a record that the score met the Board’s passing score required for the exam taken and passed. In such a case, the Board will contact the applicant to ascertain whether this will meet the transferring jurisdiction’s needs, and if it will not, the payment will be returned.
SEATING TICKETS - Seating Tickets will generally become available by email to qualified applicants approximately two weeks before the date of the scheduled examination. At that time, seating tickets are also made available to view and print from the home page of the Board’s website. Applicants will need their BOLE ID Number to access their Seating Ticket online. Applicants must present their Seating Ticket to security in order to enter the examination. Therefore, it is important to print and bring a copy of the Seating Ticket to the exam. The seat number assigned in the Seating Ticket is the only means of identification throughout the grading process. Each seat at the examination has a number prominently displayed on a sticker. It is critical that applicants sit in the correct seat, and include the seat number on all examination materials.
TEST CENTER LOCATIONS - The bar examination is always held in Albany, New York City and Buffalo and may also be given at other locations based on a variety of factors including the availability of test sites. As test sites are confirmed, the locations will be posted on the Board’s website. The Board suggests that you contact your travel agent or visit the Visitors and Convention Bureau of the location where you will be taking the examination for information concerning hotel and travel arrangements.
TEST CENTER ASSIGNMENTS - In accordance with Rule 6000.5, each applicant admitted to the examination shall be assigned to a test center in one of the four judicial departments located in the State. Test center assignments will depend on the sites available for a given administration of the exam. All applicants will receive an email sometime after the application period closes to choose and confirm their seat location. Only locations with available seats will be listed in the email. Generally, applicants will be assigned to a test center in the department in which they reside (at the time the application is completed); out of state residents will most likely be able to choose to sit for the exam in Albany or Buffalo, based on which location(s) has available seats at the time the applicant responds to the email. Once a location is filled, it will no longer appear in the email.
REQUESTS FOR CHANGE IN TEST CENTER LOCATION - There are no waiting lists for test centers and changes to test center assignments are only made in rare instances and only upon a showing of good cause. Such requests must be mailed to the Board’s office and must be in the form of an affidavit showing the location requested, the reason for the request, and supporting documentation if applicable (i.e., medical necessity verified by a doctor's certificate). Mere convenience or geographical proximity is not considered good cause. Requests will be decided based on good cause shown and the availability of seats and are completely within the discretion of the Board.
ADMINISTRATIVE ACCOMMODATIONS - If you want to request permission to bring into the examination room an assistive device, such as a lumbar cushion, diabetic supplies or a lactation pump, you must make a written request to the Board on the form provided by the Board (Administrative Accommodation Request). The request must be received by the Board no later than the first day of the month of the scheduled exam. If the request is granted, the Board will provide a letter granting the request which must be presented to security at the entrance of the test center.
If you want to request a special seating arrangement due to a medical condition, such as near a restroom or near the examination room door, you must make a written request to the Board on the form provided by the Board (Administrative Accommodations Request.). The request must be received by the Board no later than the first day of the month of the scheduled exam.
The Administrative Accommodation Request form can be found HERE
SECURITY POLICY – Prior to the bar examination, you should carefully read and review the Board’s Security Policy. The Security Policy contains important exam day references, such as a list of items which are permitted at the exam (all other items are prohibited) and behaviors which are prohibited at the exam. The Security Policy is frequently updated, and the Policy which applies during the bar examination will be sent to you along with your Seating Ticket. Violations of the Security Policy will be prosecuted by the Board and may result in the imposition of penalties such as nullification of scores, disqualification from sitting for future exams, and notice to the Character and Fitness Committee (See Board Rule 6000.9).
The Security Policy can be found HERE
PHOTO IDENTIFICATION - All applicants must bring an official government issued picture ID to the examination, which will be checked at all four sessions. Acceptable forms of ID include a U.S. driver's license, a passport, or other government issued photo ID. A non-U.S. citizen who does not possess a drivers license issued by a U.S. state or territory must present a valid passport for identification. The name on your photo ID must match the name on your seating ticket.
Review the Board’s Security policy prior to arriving at the examination.
Do not bring prohibited items (bags, cellphones, notes, etc.) to the examination - leave them at home, in your hotel room, or in your car.
You must pass through a security checkpoint before entering the examination room. You may not bring any prohibited items (bags, cellphones, notes, etc.) through the security checkpoint.
If you bring items to the examination site which must be checked, you must arrive early enough to first go through the coat check line AND THEN go through the security line.
Coat checks are open by 7:00AM each day. You are discouraged from relying on the coat check for storage of prohibited items. The exam will NOT be delayed due to long lines at the coat check.
All coats and jackets MUST be checked and will NOT be permitted in the exam room.
You must be in your seat 30 minutes before the start of each exam day: 8:30AM on the New York day (Tuesday) and 9:00AM on the MBE day (Wednesday).
Once you enter the exam room, you may not leave it at any point except to use the restroom with permission of a proctor. If you violate this rule you may not be allowed to re-enter the exam room and you could be disqualified from completing the exam.
List to the oral instructions given at the exam, and read the written instructions on your examination materials.
No applicant may leave their seat during the last 15 minutes of the session for any reason.
Applicants who do not immediately stop writing or typing when time is called will be reported to the Board and may be found guilty of violating the Board's rule prohibiting Fraud and Dishonesty.
Your proctor will provide you with your EXIT PASS after you have turned in all your examination materials.
You must have an EXIT PASS when you complete each session, and you must give your EXIT PASS to security to leave the exam room after each session.
After you leave the exam room, you may not re-enter until the next testing session.
Do NOT remove examination materials from the exam room.
NO writing is allowed on either side of the Seating Ticket.
NO SMOKING is allowed during the exam.
FRAUD, DISHONESTY AND OTHER MISCONDUCT (22 NYCRR § 6000.9) – Board Rule 6000.9 covers acts of fraud, dishonesty and other misconduct in connection with the application to and the taking of the bar examination. It is recommended that all applicants carefully review Board Rule 6000.9 to familiarize themselves with the type of conduct that is prohibited and the penalties that may be imposed. Acts of fraud, dishonesty and other misconduct will be vigorously prosecuted by the Board and may result in the imposition of penalties as set forth in Board Rule 6000.9. Please note that writing or making any marks or erasures on your exam papers after time is called is subject to discipline under Board Rule 6000.9.
CIVILITY POLICY - The Board of Law Examiners has adopted a Civility Policy which governs applicants' interactions with the Board of Law Examiners. Based on the New York State Standards of Civility for the legal profession which apply to attorneys who practice in New York State (see http://www.nycourts.gov/press/old_keep/stnds.shtml), the Civility Policy sets forth principles of behavior which govern those who aspire to practice law in New York. Violations of the Civility Policy can be reported to the Committee on Character & Fitness having jurisdiction over the applicant, and more serious violations can form the basis of a charge under Board Rule 6000.9 which prohibits Fraud, Dishonesty and Other Misconduct.
Policy can be found
WITHDRAWAL FROM THE EXAMINATION - Should you decide to withdraw from the examination, you must notify the Board in writing- by fax or by mail - as soon as possible. The application fee is non-refundable except in extremely limited circumstances. If there are extenuating circumstances causing you to withdraw, you may request a credit. All such requests must be received in the Board’s office within 30 days of the exam from which you withdrew. Requests must be in writing and accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. The reason for the withdrawal and the supporting documentation will be reviewed by the Board to determine if there is a valid basis to credit the fee. If you applied online and paid your fee by credit card, you may be held responsible for any penalties incurred by the Board should you cancel the credit card charge for any reason.
REPEATED WITHDRAWAL FROM THE EXAM/ FAILURE TO APPEAR
- Pursuant to Board Rule 6000.6(i), any applicant who has withdrawn
from or failed to appear for two or more bar examinations must apply
to the Board for permission to re-apply before taking another bar
examination. Applications to re-apply should be received in the
Board's office two weeks before the filing deadline of the exam you
wish to take. The filing deadlines cannot be waived or extended (see
Board Rule 6000.10[b]).
Applications must be in the form of an affidavit which means that you must swear under oath and under penalty of perjury that its contents are truthful and accurate, and your statement must be witnessed by a notary. Applications must include:
Your name, age, residence address, email address and phone number;
The facts which caused you to withdraw from or to fail to appear for each and every bar examination, not just the two most recent bar exam; and
The facts which support your request to re-apply including a discussion of what steps you have taken - or what has changed in your circumstances - to make it possible for you to appear for a future exam.
Applications should include wherever possible supporting documentation which confirms the reasons why you withdrew or failed to appear for each and every exam. Examples include medical documentation, police reports, death notices, employment letters and the like.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Do NOT include any staples, paperclips, binding and/or exhibit tabs with your application. Applications are scanned upon receipt and using such materials may cause your application to be rejected.
ABSENCE FROM EXAM OR ANY PART THEREOF [Board Rule 6000.6(f)] – Applicants must take all sections of the examination to receive a grade. Applicants must take both sessions of the New York section of the bar examination at the designated location in New York State and both sessions of the MBE section, either in New York State or concurrently in another jurisdiction. Any applicant who is not present for both sessions of the New York section will not be permitted to take the MBE in New York on the following day. No applicant will be admitted to the examination more than one half hour after the examination session begins. An applicant who fails to appear for one session of the examination shall not be admitted to a later session. Any examination papers submitted by an applicant who does not take the entire examination will not be graded, their application fee shall be forfeited, it will be counted as a “failure to appear,” and a new application must be filed for any future examination. Such applicants do not get the benefit of the 14 day extension period for filing a re-application for the bar examination.
CHANGE OF ADDRESS - Applicants have a continuing obligation until the release of examination results to notify the Board of any change in their residence, correspondence and/or email addresses. In addition, any candidate who lives outside the state and works full-time in the state must notify the Board of their New York employment address. Seat assignments for the examination are based on the address given at the time of application. Change of address requests which affect seating for the bar examination may not be processed until after the bar examination has been administered. Candidates who pass the examination are certified to one of the four Departments of the Appellate Division based on the address on file with the Board on October 15 for a July exam and April 15 for a February exam. Once you are certified for admission, any change of address MUST be made through the Appellate Division to which you were certified and not through the Board. Applicants may request a Change of Address by accessing their online account HERE.
APPLICATION FOR ADMISSION/CHARACTER AND FITNESS INVESTIGATION - Applicants who are successful on the bar exam and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination will be certified by the Board to the Appellate Division to conduct the Character and Fitness Review. New York State's Supreme Court, Appellate Division, is divided into four Judicial Departments and each Department handles its own admission determinations. You will automatically be assigned to one of the Departments on the basis of your residence address. A list of the counties in each Judicial Department may be accessed by clicking on the Admission Information in the table of contents on the homepage of this site. If you reside outside New York State but are employed full-time therein, you are assigned on the basis of your employment address. Residence takes precedence over employment if you reside and work in New York State. If you neither reside nor work in New York State, you are assigned to the Third Department. The Application for Admission to Practice as an Attorney in New York is uniform for the four Appellate Division Departments and is to be used by both applicants who have passed the bar examination and applicants applying for admission on motion. In the Second, Third and Fourth Departments, the Application for Admission may be filed at any time after the applicant has taken the bar examination, regardless of whether or not the results of the bar examination have been issued. In the First Department, the application papers may be filed only after you have received notification that you have passed the examination and have been certified by the Board of Law Examiners to the First Judicial Department. Prior to certification it is not necessary to notify the Appellate Division of your change of address. Once you have been certified by the Board, however, any change in address must be made upon application to the Department to which you have been certified. Any questions regarding these forms should be directed to the Appellate Division in the appropriate Department. Please note that your application for admission must be filed within three (3) years from the date of the initial letter sent by the Board notifying you that you have passed the bar examination. A failure to file your Application for Admission with the Appellate Division within three (3) years of the date on the bar exam pass notice will result in your having to re-take the bar exam.
PASSING SCORE REQUIRED FOR BAR EXAM - A final total weighted scaled score of 665 is required to pass the examination, and any applicant who fails to attain a total weighted scaled score of 665 must retake the entire examination at a subsequent administration. There is no appeal from the final total weighted scaled score.
GRADING OF BAR EXAMINATION - The answers to the five essay questions and the MPT are each graded in accordance with a predetermined marking formula, and the grades attained by the applicant on the respective questions are the raw essay scores. The total number of questions answered correctly by an applicant on the 50 New York multiple choice questions is the raw score for that portion, and the number of questions answered correctly on the MBE questions is the applicant's raw score for the MBE portion.
Through psychometrically approved scaling procedures, the raw scores attained by the applicants on each portion of the examination are converted to scaled scores on a common scale of 0 to 1000, and the three scaled scores are then weighted and combined to yield total weighted scaled scores on the same 0 to 1000 scale. The relative weights assigned are 50% to the written portion (40% essays and 10% MPT), 10% to the New York multiple choice, and 40% to the MBE portion.
The essay and MPT answers of each applicant who receives an initial total weighted scaled score of 655 through 664 are re-read and re-graded by graders other than the initial graders. The examination scores are then recomputed to determine each applicant's final scaled score. There is no appeal from this final score.
There is no passing or failing on any one portion of the examination. Thus, a poor performance on one section of the examination may be offset by a superior performance on another section. Passing or failing is determined only on the basis of the applicant's total weighted scaled score.
RESULTS OF BAR EXAMINATION - The results of the bar examination, in the form of written pass/fail notices, are emailed to all applicants on the same day. The day the results are released, a private results lookup screen will also be available online for all applicants to view their results. The next day, a list of all successful applicants will be posted on this website and on the website of the New York Law Journal. While the Board does not set a specific date for the release of bar exam results, historically results from the July examination are released in mid-November, and the results of the February examination are released in mid-May.
Each successful applicant who has also furnished proof of successful completion of the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) is certified by the Board for admission to the bar. Each successful applicant who has not furnished proof of successful completion of the MPRE is also notified of that fact in writing. As the MPRE scores of those applicants are received, they are certified for admission. The Board usually certifies on a weekly basis, and it is very important for applicants to keep their current addresses on file with the Board so that they may be certified to the correct department upon receipt of their MPRE scores.
MATERIALS AVAILABLE TO FAILED APPLICANTS - During the 60-day period following the date of the Board's notice of failure, applicants whose final total weighted scaled scores are below 665 may obtain one set of copies of their own essay answers by forwarding a written request to the Board's office with a certified check, cashier's check or money order in the amount of $40, payable to "State Board of Law Examiners." Copies of the essay questions and sample above-average candidate answers are also available for a fee of $15 each for the questions and answers. Within 60 days of the release of the bar exam results, the Board will publish on this website, copies of the essay questions and a synopsis of the MPT that appeared on the examination, together with copies of sample applicant answers that received better than average scores to those questions.