Iowa Bar Exam

Iowa Bar Exam Format

The Iowa bar exam takes two days with an additional day of registration before the exam. The Iowa bar exam consists of the Multistate Performance Test (“MPT”), Multistate Essay Exam (“MEE”), and the Multistate Bar Exam (“MBE”). Iowa law is not tested on the Iowa bar exam.

MPT (Performance Test)
Iowa tests two (2) MPT performance tests.

MEE (Essays)
Iowa tests six (6) MEE essays. Subjects include:

  • Business Associations (Agency, Partnership, Corporations, LLCs)
  • Civil Procedure (Federal)
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts (Common Law, Sales/UCC Art. 2)
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Family Law
  • Negotiable Instruments/Commercial Paper (UCC Art. 3)
  • Real Property
  • Secured Transactions (UCC Art. 9)
  • Torts
  • Trusts and Estates (Decedents’ Estates, Trusts, Future Interests)

MBE (Multiple Choice)
Iowa 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
Iowa accepts MBE scores transferred from other jurisdictions. MBE scaled scores are accepted from one of the last four MBE administrations immediately preceding the Iowa bar exam filing deadline.

Iowa Bar Exam Testing Schedule

Day 1
Mandatory Registration

Day 2
Morning – 2 MPTs (3 hours)
Afternoon – 6 MEE Essays (3 hours)

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

Iowa Bar Exam Dates and Application

The Iowa bar exam is held on the last Monday through Wednesday of February and July. The bar exam is held in Polk County, Iowa. Applications can be found on the Iowa Board of Law Examiners’ Website.

Exam Date Application Deadline
February 21-22, 2017 November 1
July 25-26, 2017 April 1


Iowa Bar Exam Weight

MEE 30%
MPT 20%
MBE 50%

Grading Procedure
The Iowa bar exam is graded using scaled scores.

Passing Score
The minimum passing requirements for the Iowa bar exam are a reported scaled score of 266 (133 for a 200 point scale). The Iowa bar exam is graded and reported in approximately six weeks.

Pass Rates
Pass rates and Iowa bar exam statistics can be found here.

Review and Appeal for Applicants Failing the Iowa Bar Exam
Applicants failing the Iowa bar exam for the first time have no right to appeal and may apply for the next regular bar exam. Applicants failing the Iowa bar exam for the second time or more may appeal as to the scoring of the written portion of the exam.

Retaking the Iowa Bar Exam

After results are posted, applicants have 30 days to reapply to take the Iowa bar exam or use the normal Iowa bar exam application procedures, whichever is later. Iowa places no limit on the amount of times the Iowa bar exam can be taken. Reapplicants may use their previous MBE score from one of the past four MBE administrations of the exam.