Massachusetts Bar Exam

***Massachusetts will being testing the Uniform Bar Exam (“UBE”) with the July, 2018 bar exam.

Massachusetts Bar Exam Format

The Massachusetts bar exam takes two days and consists of the Massachusetts Essay Exam and the Multistate Bar Exam (“MBE”). Massachusetts law is tested on the Massachusetts bar exam.

Massachusetts is one of the few jurisdictions that tests on a Wednesday/Thursday schedule. Applicants wishing to obtain a UBE score must sit for the MBE portion of the exam in the UBE jurisdiction.

Massachusetts Essay Exam
Massachusetts tests 10 essays. Subjects may include:

  • Agency
  • Business Organizations
  • Civil Procedure (Massachusetts and Federal)
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law
  • Descent & Distribution of Estates
  • Domestic Relations
  • Evidence (including Federal Rules)
  • Federal Jurisdiction
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Real Property (including Mortgages)
  • Torts
  • Trusts
  • Unfair and Deceptive Practices (G.L.c. 93A)
  • Uniform Commercial Code (Articles 1-9)
  • Wills

MBE (Multiple Choice)
Massachusetts uses the standard MBE. Subjects include:

  • Civil Procedure
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts (Common Law, Sales/UCC Art. 2)
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Real Property
  • Torts

MBE Score Transfer
Massachusetts accepts MBE scores from other jurisdictions for concurrent exams only.

Massachusetts Bar Exam Testing Schedule

Day 1 (Wednesday)
Morning – MBE Part I (100 questions; 3 hours)
Afternoon – MBE Part II (100 questions; 3 hours)

Day 2 (Thursday)
Morning – 5 Mass. Essays (3 hours)
Afternoon – 5 Mass. Essays (3 hours)

Massachusetts Bar Exam Dates and Application

The Massachusetts bar exam is held on the last Wednesday and Thursday of February and July. Applications can be found on the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners’ Website.

Exam Date Application Deadline
Feb. 22-23, 2017 Not Available
July 26-27, 2017 Not Available


Massachusetts Bar Exam Weight

MA Essays 50%
MBE 50%

Grading Procedure
Each essay question is graded on a scale of 0-7. The raw essay score is converted to the same scale as the MBE score. The essay scaled score and the MBE scaled score are combined to generate the total bar exam scaled score.

Passing Score
The minimum passing score is a combined scaled score of 270. There is no minimum passing score on either the essay exam or the MBE. A higher score on one portion of the exam may compensate for a poor performance on the corresponding portion of the exam. Bar exam results are mailed around May 15 for the February exam and November 15 for the July exam.

Pass Rates
Pass rates can be found here.

Review and Appeal for Applicants Failing the Massachusetts Bar Exam
Before the bar exam results become final, the Board will re-read the essay exams of those applicants whose total combined score is between 265 and 270. The re-graded scores and the original score are averaged and could be higher or lower than the original score. There is no further re-grading or appeal.

Retaking the Massachusetts Bar Exam

Applicants may reapply to take the Massachusetts bar exam.