Virginia Essays and Short Answers
Virginia tests nine (9) essays and 10 short answer questions. Subjects include:
MBE (Multiple Choice)
Virginia uses the standard MBE. Subjects include:
MBE Score Transfer
Virginia does not accept MBE scores from other jurisdictions.
Day 1 (Tuesday)
9 Virginia Essays and 10 Virginia Short Answer Questions
Day 2 (Wednesday)
Morning – MBE Part I (100 questions; 3 hours)
Afternoon – MBE Part II (100 questions; 3 hours)
The Virginia bar exam is held on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July. In ridiculous fashion, Virginia mandates a formal Dress Code while taking the bar exam. Men are required to wear a suit and tie. Women are required to wear “traditional business attire,” which is not defined. The Virginia Board states, “Recognizing the high calibre of professionalism that has traditionally characterized the bar, the Board is confident that no further discussion of this topic will be necessary.” Applications can be found on the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners’ Website. There is no late filing deadline.
|Exam Date||Application Deadline|
|February 21-22, 2017||Dec. 15|
|July 25-26, 2017||May 10|
Virginia Bar Exam Weight
|VA Essays and Short Answers||60%|
Essays are graded on a scale of 0-10. Short answers are graded as either right or wrong and are worth one point. The maximum essay score is 100 points.
The essays are also preliminary graded immediately following the bar exam. Examiners then meet with professors from approved Virginia law schools to discuss the essay questions and the proposed answers. Examiners may adopt the law professors’ suggestions. The examiners then assign raw scores to the exam answers. The raw scores are then scaled to the MBE. The essay scaled score and the MBE scaled score are combined to generate the total bar exam score.
The minimum passing score is a total scaled score of 140.
Virginia bar exam pass rates can be found here.
Review and Appeal for Applicants Failing the Virginia Bar Exam
After the initial grading and combining of the essay and MBE score, the Board re-grades the essay and short answers for applicants with initial total scaled scores near but below the minimum passing score. The Board generally re-grades papers of approximately 10 percent of the exams with initial scores below the minimum passing score. Grades may be adjusted up or down. All scores are final after the re-grading, and the results are not appealable.
Unsuccessful applicants cannot take the bar exam more than four times unless the applicant proves to the Board that he or she has diligently pursued the study of law since the former exam and remains otherwise qualified. The Board may allow applicants who have taken the exam five times to take additional exams when, in the discretion of the Board, the applicant has shown mitigating circumstances that constitute good and sufficient cause for the applicant’s failing the prior exam. The Board rarely grants a sixth bar exam.