Virginia Bar Examination Options

Applicants applying for the Virginia bar exam must take the Virginia Essay exam and select one of the following Options:

  • Option 1: The applicant will take the MBE, together with the Virginia Essay exam, because the applicant (i) previously has not taken the MBE, or (ii) has not achieved an MBE scaled score of 133 or greater within 3 years prior to the date of the exam applied for, or (iii) previously has taken the MBE and elects to retake the MBE to attempt to improve the MBE scaled score.
    The score for Option 1 applicants will be based on both the Virginia Essay and the MBE. Both parts of the exam will be weighted and combined to determine if the applicant has achieved a minimum overall passing score of 140. Such weighting shall be made by combining 60% of the Virginia Essay exam scaled score and 40% of the MBE scaled score.
  • Option 2A: The applicant may use an MBE scaled score of 133 or greater, taken within 3 years prior to the date of the exam applied for, from a previous bar exam taken in Virginia.
    The score for Option 2A applicants will be based on the Virginia Essay and the previous MBE score the applicant elected to use. Both parts of the exam will be weighted and combined to determine if the applicant has achieved a minimum overall passing score of 140. Such weighting shall be made by combining 60% of the Virginia Essay exam scaled score and 40% of the MBE scaled score.
  • Option 2B: The applicant may transfer an MBE scaled score of 133 or greater, taken within 3 years prior to the date of the exam applied for, from a previous bar exam taken in a jurisdiction other than Virginia.
    The score for Option 2B applicants will be based on the Virginia Essay and the previous MBE score the applicant elected to transfer. Both parts of the exam will be weighted and combined to determine if the applicant has achieved a minimum overall passing score of 140. Such weighting shall be made by combining 60% of the Virginia Essay exam scaled score and 40% of the MBE scaled score.
  • Option 3: The applicant is an attorney who holds an active license to practice law and is in good standing in a jurisdiction other than Virginia, and has taken and passed a bar exam in a jurisdiction other than Virginia. No MBE exam score is required.
    The score for Option 3 applicants will be based solely on the raw points awarded on the Virginia Essay exam. A minimum score of 70 raw points, out of a possible 100 raw points, is a passing score.