Kentucky Bar Exam

Kentucky Bar Exam Format

The Kentucky bar exam takes two days and consists of the Kentucky Essays, the Multistate Essay Exam (“MEE” ), and the Multistate Bar Exam (“MBE” ). Knowledge of Kentucky law is not specifically tested on the Kentucky bar exam.

Kentucky Prepared Essays and MEE Essays
The Kentucky Board of Bar Examiners prepares six (6) of its own essay questions, and uses six (6) MEE essays for a total of 12 essay questions. Past Kentucky essays can be found here. Demonstrating knowledge of Kentucky law is not normally necessary, but if applicants  know that Kentucky law differs from the national majority view on a subject, or represents a contested majority view, those differences should be pointed out and  the implications of the differences discussed, if time permits. The essay questions cover one or more of the following subjects:

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

MBE (Multiple Choice)
Kentucky 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
Kentucky accepts MBE scores of 132 or greater from other jurisdictions. The score must be achieved within three years (6 exams) of the current Kentucky bar exam.

Kentucky Bar Exam Testing Schedule

Day 1
Morning – 6 Essays (3 hours)
Afternoon – 6 Essays (3 hours)

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

Kentucky Bar Exam Dates and Application

The Kentucky bar exam is held twice each year on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July. Applications can be found on the Kentucky Office Bar Admissions’ Website.

Exam Date Application Deadline Late Deadline
Late Deadline
Reapplication Deadline
February 21-22, 2017 Oct. 1 Nov. 10 Dec. 10 Nov. 10
July 25-26, 2017 Feb. 1 March 10 May 10 May 10


Kentucky Bar Exam Weight

Essays 50%
MBE 50%

Grading Procedure
There are 1,200 possible points for the essay portion of the exam. The points of each individual essay are added together to generate the total essay score.

Passing Score
Applicants must separately pass both the essay and MBE portions of the exam. A general essay score average of 75% (900 points) is deemed a passing score. An MBE scaled score of 132 is deemed a passing score.

Pass Rates
Bar exam scores can be found here.

Review and Appeal for Applicants Failing the Kentucky Bar Exam
There is an automatic re-grade procedure when an applicant’s average score falls in the range of 73.00 and 74.99. The scores are re-graded before the bar exam results are posted. The bar examiner/grader can only raise the score, if warranted, or leave the score as it is, but he or she cannot lower the score. Applicants that fail the MBE may request to have their answer sheet hand scored.

There is no appeal process for appealing bar exam scores. Once the results are released, the bar exam scores are final.

Retaking the Kentucky Bar Exam

Applicants failing to pass five Kentucky bar exams are not permitted to sit for the Kentucky bar exam. Applicants who fail to pass one portion of the exam can reapply to sit for the failed portion, but a passing score on one portion of the exam may only be used for a period of three years in order to exempt the applicant from re-taking that portion of the exam.