Texas Bar Exam Format
The Texas bar exam takes three days and consists of Texas Procedure and Evidence, Texas Essays, the Multistate Performance Test (“MPT”), and the Multistate Bar Exam (“MBE”). Texas law is tested on the Texas bar exam.
Texas Procedure and Evidence (Short Answer)
Texas tests one (1) 90-minute short-answer exam covering Texas Procedure and Evidence. The test contains 40 short-answer questions divided evenly between Civil Procedure/Criminal Procedure and Evidence. The test is printed in two exam booklets. Applicants must limit their answers to the five lines provided after each question and should not assume sub-parts are of equal value. Each whole question has a value of five points and each section is worth 100 raw points for a total of 200 raw points.
Texas Civil Procedure and Evidence, including jurisdiction (20 questions)
Federal and Texas Criminal Procedure and Evidence (20 questions)
Applicants can determine the amount of time to spend on each booklet and should finish the first booklet and go immediately to the second booklet. Both booklets must be completed during the 90-minute exam segment.
MPT (Performance Test)
Texas tests one (1) MPT performance test. The MPT is graded on a scoring range up to six points.
Texas tests 12 Texas essays worth 25 raw points each. Six Texas essays are tested in two three-hour sessions.
The Texas Essays include two essay questions on each of the following subjects:
(1) The Uniform Commercial Code
(2) Business Associations (Corporations, Agency, Partnerships, Professional Assoc.)
(3) Family Law
(4) Wills and Administration
(5) Real Property, including Oil and Gas
There is one essay question on each of the following subjects:
(6) Trust and Guardianship
(7) Consumer Law
Cross over topics may appear in essays as an element of questions from other subjects. Income, estate, and gift tax issues may be part of other subjects such as family law, oil and gas, wills, etc. Bankruptcy may be includes as an element of other subjects such as family law, wills and estates, real property, etc.
The essay questions do not identify the subjects tested. Subjects covered by the MBE are not emphasized on the Texas Essays, but the essays may involve some issues covered on the MBE. An example includes a UCC essay question may involve the chapter on sales that may also be applicable to Contracts. Another example includes Family Law and Real Property essays that involve issues concerning Real Property that are also covered on the MBE.
MBE (Multiple Choice)
Texas uses the standard MBE. Subjects include:
- Constitutional Law
- Contracts (Common Law, Sales/UCC Art. 2)
- Criminal Law
- Criminal Procedure
- Real Property
MBE Score Transfer
Texas does not accept MBE scores from other jurisdictions.
Texas Bar Exam Testing Schedule
Day 1 (Tuesday)
Morning – Texas Procedure and Evidence; 1 MPT (3 hours)
Afternoon – No Testing
Day 2 (Wednesday)
Morning – MBE Part I (100 questions; 3 hours)
Afternoon – MBE Part II (100 questions; 3 hours)
Day 3 (Thursday)
Morning – 6 Texas Essay Questions (3 hours)
Afternoon – 6 Texas Essay Questions (3 hours)
Texas Bar Exam Dates and Application
The Texas bar exam is administered twice each year on the last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of February and July. Applications can be found on the Texas Board of Law Examiners’ Website.
|Exam Date||Preliminary Date||Application Deadline||Late Fee||Reapplication Deadline|
|Feb. 26 – 28, 2012||June 30, 2012||Aug. 30, 2012||Oct. 30, 2012||Nov. 30, 2012|
|July 30-Aug 1, 2013||Nov. 30, 2012||Jan. 30, 2013||March 30, 2013||May 30, 2013|
|TX P&E||10% (scaled score divided by 2)|
|TX Essays||40% (scaled score multiplied by 2)|
|MPT||10% (scaled score divided by 2)|
|MBE||40% (scaled score multiplied by 2)|
Overall, the Texas bar exam is graded using scaled scores to ensure fairness between different administrations of the bar exam and between questions of any given exam.
For the Texas Procedure and Evidence Short-Answers, the raw scores on the Civil and Criminal sections are converted to a common score distribution that weighs the sections equally and allows for direct comparison of scores between the two sections. The raw score for the Texas Essays are also converted to a common score distribution that weighs the questions equally and allows for direct comparison of scores across the 12 Texas essays.
The MPT score from 0 to 6 is converted using the same scale as the MBE. The raw MBE scores are equated and scaled to adjust for the possible differences in average question difficulty administrations of the bar exam. The scaled MBE score results in about the same level of performance regardless of the particular administration of the bar exam when the MBE score was earned.
Specific Scaling Method:
The sum of the converted Texas Procedure and Evidence scores is scaled to a score distribution that has the same mean and standard deviation as the MBE scaled scores.
The sum of the converted Texas Essay scores is scaled to a score distribution that has the same mean and standard deviation as the MBE scaled scores
The MPT raw score (on the 6-point scale) is converted to a score distribution that has the same mean and standard deviation as the MBE scaled scores.
MPT (scaled score divided by 2) + P&E (scaled score divided by 2) + MBE (scaled score x 2) + Texas Essays (scaled score x 2) = Final Score
Applicants must earn a combined scaled score of 675 out of a possible 1,000 points. Bar exam results are typically released during the first week of May for the February exam and the first week of November for the July exam.
Pass rates and Texas bar exam statistics can be found here.
Review and Appeal for Applicants Failing the Texas Bar Exam
Passing applicants are not permitted to see a further breakdown of their bar exam scores.
Applicants who have failed the exam at least two times may submit a written request, within two weeks of the release of the bar exam results, for a Formal Review of the applicant’s performance on the immediately preceding exam. The Board must receive the request within the 14-day period. This review does not include the multistate tests.
The Formal Review is held in Austin, Texas at a time selected by the Board and consists of an individual oral review of the bar exam papers. Regardless of the number of bar exams taken, applicants may attend only one Formal Review. In addition, applicants cannot obtain both a Formal Review and an Informal Review for the same bar exam.
Applicants who have failed the bar exam may submit a written request, within two weeks of the release of the bar exam results, for an Informal Review of the applicant’s performance on his or her failed sections of the immediately preceding bar exam. The Board must receive the request within the 14-day period. This review does not include the multistate tests.
Informal Reviews are either oral or written at the discretion of the examining members of the Board. Applicants may request an Informal Review each time he or she fails all or part of the bar exam, but he or she cannot request a Formal Review and an Informal Review for the same bar exam.
Before the bar exam grades are released, all scores are automatically checked for mathematical errors and all papers with borderline scores are re-graded and double-checked for any mathematical errors. There is no further re-grading and all such requests will automatically be denied.
Retaking the Texas Bar Exam
Applicants cannot take more than five exams. The Board may waive the limitation for good cause shown.