State-by-State Bar Exam Information: Virginia

Bar Information


Key Dates

When is the Bar Exam: 

The last Tue and Wed of February and July

When is the application for the July exam made available: 

It is available online for download at all times.

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

May 10 (no additional late-filing deadline)

Exam Details

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

Multiple-choice: The Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)

Written:   State law-specific essays of varying lengths. Virginia does not administer a performance test.

How is the bar exam structured?: 

Day 1: Essays morning and afternoon

Day 2: MBE morning and afternoon

What subjects are tested: 


The Virginia essays test the MBE subjects as well as Agency, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Business Organizations, Creditor's, Rights, Criminal Law, Domestic Relations, Equity, Evidence, Federal Practice and Procedure, Local Government Law, Professional Responsibility, Real and Personal Property, Sales, Taxation, Torts, Trusts, Uniform Commercial Code, Virginia Civil and Criminal Procedure (including appellate practice), and Wills and Estate Administration.  

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

Yes. All applicants who seek to take the exam on a laptop will be able to do so if they follow the procedures set out on the website and meet the laptop registration deadline.

Are past exam questions and sample answers available?: 

Sample or model answers are not available, but past essay questions are available--either in hard copy form from the board's office for a fee, or from George Mason University Law School's website (no charge) here.

How is the exam scored?: 

Essays are weighted at 60% of overall score; the MBE is weighted at 40%.


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

July 2012: 79%; July 2011: 81%

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

July 2012: 74%; July 2011: 76%


Can MBE scores be transferred from other jurisdictions?: 


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

Yes, but only if they have practiced law for five of the last seven years and are admitted in a state that grants Virginia lawyers reciprocity. This means, for example, that Maryland lawyers would not qualify, as Maryland requires Virginia and other out-of-state lawyers to take an attorney's exam.

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