Tennessee Bar Exam

Tennessee Bar Exam Format

The Tennessee bar exam takes two days and consists of the Tennessee Essays, the Multistate Performance Test (“MPT”), and the Multistate Bar Exam (“MBE”). Tennessee law is tested on the Tennessee bar exam.

Tennessee Essays
Tennessee tests 3 essays. Each essay is 90 minutes. Subjects include:

  • Bulk Sales (UCC Art. 6)
  • Business Associations (Agency, Partnership, and Corporations)
  • Civil Procedure (Tennessee and Federal)
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Constitutional Law (Tennessee and Federal)
  • Contracts (Common Law, Sales/UCC Art. 2)
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Family Law (Domestic Relations or Personal Status)
  • Negotiable Instruments/Commercial Paper (UCC Art. 3)
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Real Property
  • Restitution and Remedies
  • Secured Transactions (UCC Art. 9)
  • Torts
  • Uniform Commercial Code (General Provisions, Art. 1)
  • Wills and Estates

MBE (Multiple Choice)
Tennessee 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
Tennessee no longer accepts previous MBE scores from other jurisdictions and no longer accepts concurrent MBE scores. The Tennessee Board cites the implementation of the MPT and the test date changes as the reasons for the rule change.

Tennessee Bar Exam Testing Schedule

Day 2 (Wednesday)
Morning – 1 MPT
Afternoon – 3 Essays

Day 2 (Wednesday)
Morning – MBE Part I (100 questions; 3 hours)
Afternoon – MBE Part II (100 questions; 3 hours)

Tennessee Bar Exam Dates and Application

The Tennessee bar exam is currently held on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July. The bar exam must be held in Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville at least once each year. Applications can be found on the Tennessee Bar Examiners’ Website.

Exam Date Notice of Intent and Fee Application and Exam Fee Absolute Deadline
Feb. 21-22, 2017 Oct. 1 Nov. 15 Jan. 10
July 25-26, 2017 March 1 April 15 June 10


Tennessee Bar Exam Weight

TN Essays/MPT 50%
MBE 50%

Grading Procedure
All essay scores are now graded and given a numerical value. The essay scores are then scaled to the MBE.

Passing Score
Applicants must achieve a minimum scaled score of 270.

Pass Rates
Tennessee bar exam statistics can be found here.

Review and Appeal for Applicants Failing the Tennessee Bar Exam
The applicable rules do not provide provisions for review or appeal. Applicants can no longer request their failed bar exam essays, and the essays are not re-graded.

Retaking the Tennessee Bar Exam

Applicants who have failed three or more bar exams are not permitted to take another exam unless the applicant files with the Board, at the time of the notice of intent to take the bar exam, a statement certifying that the applicant has undertaken a course of study designed to prepare the applicant for the bar exam (including a description of the course), and a statement from an attorney admitted to practice in Tennessee confirming that he or she has supervised the applicant’s course of study. Applicants failing three or more bar exams are not permitted to take another exam until at least one exam has take place between the last exam that the applicant failed and the one the applicant wishes to take. If the Board determines that the applicant’s course of study is not sufficient evidence of additional legal education to justify re-examination, the Board may refuse to allow the applicant to take that Tennessee bar exam.