State-by-State Bar Exam Information: New Jersey

Bar Information


Key Dates

When is the Bar Exam: 

The last Wed and Thu of February and July

When is the application for the July exam made available: 

Early February

By when is the application for the July exam due?: 

March 31 (With a late fee, May 15th)

Exam Details

What tests and types of questions are on the bar exam?: 

Written: Seven essay questions drafted by the New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners

Multiple-choice: The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)

New Jersey does not administer a performance test.

How is the bar exam structured?: 

Day One - MBE

8:30 Instructions Begin

9:00 - 12:00 Testing (100 MBE Questions)

12:15 - 1:00 Lunch

1:10 - Instructions

1:30 - 4:30 Testing (100 MBE Questions

Day Two - Essays

8:30 Instructions

9:00 - 12:00 Testing (4 Essay Questions)

12:15 - 1:00 Lunch

1:10 Instructions

1:30 - 3:45 Testing (3 Essay Questions)

What subjects are tested: 

The MBE tests Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts.

The New Jersey state essays test contracts, criminal law, real property, torts, constitutional law, evidence, and civil procedure. According to the Board of Bar Examiners' website, "[a]n essay question may cut across two or more of the basic subject areas. In addition, these questions may be framed in the context of fact situations involving, and interrelated with, the following subjects: agency; conflicts of law; corporations; equity; family law; partnership; Uniform Commercial Code Articles 2 (Sales), 3 (Commercial Paper), and 9 (Secured Transactions); wills, trusts, and estates; zoning and planning; and disciplinary rules. Accordingly, familiarity with the basic principles and concepts of those subjects may help the candidate in answering the questions."

Is it possible to take the written portions of the exam on a laptop computer?: 


Are past exam questions and sample answers available?: 


How is the exam scored?: 

The MBE and the essays each count for 50 percent of the overall score.


What was the first-time taker pass rate for the most recent July bar exam? : 

2012: 79%; 2011: 86%

What was the overall pass rate for all takers of the most recent July bar exam?: 

2012: 77%; 2011: 81%


Can MBE scores be transferred from other jurisdictions?: 

Yes, but concurrent examination only

Can applicants already admitted in another state gain admission without taking the bar exam?: 

Only under limited circumstances that do not apply to practicing attorneys



New Jersey is one of the Wed, Thu states that accepts MBE scores on the concurrent exam from other jurisdictions. Therefore, it is possible to take both New Jersey's exam and that of any Tue, Wed state during the same administration. The logistical complication is travel on Wednesday evening to New Jersey from the other state.

The information for New Jersey comes from the New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners' website and response to our survey, as well as the National Conference of Bar Examiners' Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements  and annual statistical report.