Bar Exam Tests and Topics Tested

ESSAY EXAMINATION: The essay examination consists of six essay questions that cover one or more of the following subjects:

Business Organizations (including corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies and professional corporations)

Civil Procedure (Pennsylvania and federal)

Conflict of Laws

Criminal Law (including related Pennsylvania and federal constitutional issues and DUI)
Employment Discrimination (limited to Title VII, ADA and ADEA)
Evidence (Pennsylvania and federal)

Family Law

Federal Constitutional Law
Federal Income Taxes (personal only and limited to taxable and non-taxable income, deductions, proprietorships and capital transactions)

Professional Responsibility

Real Property


U.C.C., Art. II - Sales
Wills, Trusts and Decedents' Estates (including related fiduciary responsibilities)

Each essay question will usually include more than one subject area, however the subjects will not necessarily be tested in a particular order or appear in the same question number from one essay examination to the next.

Applicants are expected to demonstrate their knowledge of Pennsylvania law (where applicable) when answering the essay portion of the bar examination. Please note that the value of an essay answer depends not so much upon the correctness of the conclusion(s), as upon the recognition of issues and the quality of the discussion that evidences an ability to apply the law to the facts presented, and to reason in a logical manner in arriving at a conclusion. Factors such as grammar, penmanship and spelling are not considered in the grading of the essay answers.

PERFORMANCE TEST: By Order of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, one Performance Test (PT) question, developed by the Board, may be used in lieu of a Multistate Performance Test question as a component of the essay portion of the bar examination. The Performance Test (PT) is intended to test an applicant’s ability to use basic skills that a lawyer should possess to perform a task that a newly admitted attorney would be expected to perform. The PT is designed to test an applicant’s ability to perform the task that has been assigned using the factual information contained in a File and the legal principles that are provided in a Library.

The File contains various documents that set forth the factual information that is to be considered in performing the assigned task. Some examples of the documents that might be included in the File are: notes of interviews, agreements/contracts, letters, pleadings, wills, reports, affidavits, invoices, and transcripts of testimony. The Library contains the only legal principles that are to be considered to complete the assigned task. Although an applicant’s general knowledge of the law may provide some background for analyzing a problem, the factual information contained in the File and the legal principles contained in the Library are the only materials that should be used in formulating an answer to the assigned task.

Examples of tasks that might be required to be performed include preparing: letters to opposing counsel, opinion letters to clients, contract or will provisions, briefs, memorandum to a partner, legal memoranda, petitions, motions, and other tasks that a lawyer might be expected to perform. In performing these tasks, applicants are expected to evaluate the information in the File and identify the relevant facts, recognize the legal issues raised in performing the assigned task, analyze the legal materials that are provided and identify the applicable principles of law, and apply the applicable legal principals to the relevant facts to support a well reasoned response that is clearly communicated in the manner assigned.

MULTISTATE BAR EXAMINATION: The MBE consists of 200 multiple choice questions that cover the following subjects:

Civil Procedure
Constitutional Law
Criminal Law and Procedure

Real Property