Virginia Board of Bar Examiners

2201 W. Broad Street • Suite 101 • Richmond, VA 23220-2022
Telephone: 804-367-0412 • Fax: 804-367-0416

Examination Questions

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How much does it cost to take the Virginia Bar Examination?

The current (as of January 2010) application fee is $375. In addition, each applicant must pay the character and fitness investigation fee in accordance with the character and fitness fee schedule.

What is the deadline for filing an application to take the February bar exam?

The preceding December 15.

What is the deadline for filing an application to take the July bar exam?

The preceding May 10.

Is there a late filing deadline?

No. The filing deadline is statutory. The Board does not have authority to waive or extend it. If you miss it, you must wait until the next exam.

Is my application considered timely filed if it is postmarked by the filing deadline?

See § 54.1-3925 of the Code of Virginia.

If your application is not actually received in the Secretary's office by the filing deadline (May 10 for the July exam; December 15 for the February exam) it may be deemed to be timely filed only if it has been transmitted expense prepaid to the Office of the Secretary of the Board by Priority, Express, Registered or Certified mail via the United States Postal Service, or by a third party commercial carrier for Next-Day Delivery AND the official receipt therefor issued by the United States Postal Service or by such third party commercial carrier, which shall be exhibited on demand of the Secretary, shows such transmission or mailing to the Secretary's office on or before the prescribed deadline.

Priority, Express, Registered or Certified mail via the United States Postal Service or Next-Day Delivery by a third party commercial carrier are the ONLY methods of transmission or mailing authorized by the statute. Thus, an application sent by any other form of mail, such as First Class mail, CANNOT be accepted if it is received after the filing deadline, even if it is postmarked before.

As a first year law student, do I have to "pre-register" in Virginia?

No. Virginia does not require early law student registration. Several states do require such pre-registration. If you expect to be applying for the bar examination in a state other than Virginia, you should check the rules of that particular jurisdiction.

Do I include information about my 3rd year practice program?

The Character & Fitness Questionnaire asks if you have participated in a third-year practice program. You should answer the related questions. You DO NOT need to include a copy of your third-year practice certificate or application.

Can I update any part of my application, including address, over the phone?

All application updates or changes MUST be in writing. Click here for the change of address form.

Can any part of my application be faxed or emailed?

No part of any application can be received by fax or email. If you have a change in status, correction or update to a complete application that is currently on file, you may mail or fax such change. Please reference your name and exam you have applied for on any update submitted.

How many times may I take the Virginia bar exam?

See § 54.1-3930 of the Code of Virginia. Although the Board has discretion to grant an applicant permission to take the exam more than five times under the criteria set forth in the statute, such permission is not routinely granted and very seldom after a sixth attempt.

What subjects are tested on the Virginia bar exam?

See Section I of the Rules of the Board.

Does the Board release sample answers for the essay questions?


Can I take the Virginia bar exam if I did not graduate from a law school which was approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) at the time of my graduation?

No. The Board has adopted the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools. Thus it is unlikely that a law school which has been found not to comply with the Standards by the ABA would be approved by the Board. Click here for approved list.

I took the Multistate Bar Exam in another state. Can I transfer that score to Virginia?

No, Virginia requires an applicant to take both portions of the bar exam at the same administration in Virginia as a means of assessing the applicant's current competency.

I am licensed in another state but do not qualify for admission without examination. Is there an abbreviated "attorneys' exam" which I can take in lieu of the regular bar exam?


Where are bar review courses given, how much do they cost, and which bar review course is the best?

We keep no listing of the various bar review courses and we have no idea which course is "best." We suggest that you check with your law school (or a law school in Virginia if you attend law school outside Virginia) for information on what courses may be offered, where they are offered, and the cost.

Does Virginia require the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (the "MPRE")?

Yes. Virginia lawyers have a long history of adhering to the highest standards of ethical conduct and professionalism. It is important that each Virginia lawyer have a good working knowledge of the rules governing professional responsibility and ethical obligations. The MPRE requires a focus on these rules. Additionally, within the first year after a person is admitted to practice law in Virginia, he or she is required by the Virginia Supreme Court to complete a professionalism course conducted by the Virginia State Bar.

When and where is the MPRE given?

The MPRE is given in March, August, and November of each year at various locations across the country. The exam dates and filing deadlines are set out on the MPRE page.

What is the passing score on the MPRE in Virginia and how long is my MPRE score valid?

Virginia requires a scaled score of 85 or higher on the MPRE. Your score can only be considered if you took the MPRE during the same calendar year in which you passed the general Virginia Bar Examination or within the two calendar years immediately prior thereto or within the two calendar years immediately following the year in which you passed the Virginia Bar Examination.

Can I be licensed before you receive my MPRE Score Report?

No. A valid passing MPRE score is a requirement which must be met before one can be licensed.

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