COVID-19 July 2020 Bar Exam

Virginia Bar Exam Election Survey Results:

As previously reported, the Board authorized three exam options for all timely-filed applicants for the July 2020 exam. Applicants could elect to take the July 2020 exam in Roanoke as currently scheduled, OR the September 10, 2020 Virginia essay only exam in Richmond, OR carry forward their application to the February 2021 exam in Norfolk. The Board has waived the carry forward fee for this exam.

Below are the results of the exam election survey emailed to all 705 timely-filed applicants for the July exam:
     441 - July 2020
     232 - September 2020
       32 - February 2021

COVID-19 Notice as of July 10, 2020:

  • Important July 2020 Bar Exam information was emailed to all applicants on Monday, July 6, 2020. If you did not receive the email, please check your Spam or Junk folder before contacting our office.
ADDITIONAL EXAM DATE & LOCATION OPTION:

The Board has authorized an additional exam date for Thursday, September 10, 2020, in Richmond, Virginia. Any applicant timely filed for the July 2020 Bar Exam may elect to take the July 2020 exam as currently scheduled, OR a September 10, 2020 essay only exam, OR carry forward their application to the February 2021 exam (carry forward fees have been waived).

For the September 10, 2020 One-Day Exam, the following applies:

  • The exam will be held in Richmond, Virginia.
  • The exam will be a Virginia Essay exam only, consisting of 9 Virginia essays and 10 multiple-choice questions.
  • The exam score will be based solely on the raw points awarded on the Virginia Essay exam. A minimum score of 64 raw points, out of a possible 100 raw points, is a passing score.
  • The exam will not have an MBE component. (Option 2A and 2B applicants’ previous MBE scores will not be utilized for the September exam.)

Additional items for consideration:

  • The July 2020 exam will remain a two-day exam, consisting of the Virginia Essay exam and the MBE.
  • You may elect to take the July or the September exam, but not both.
  • A Virginia Exam Election Survey will be emailed at 4:00 PM on Monday, July 13, 2020. Your Exam Election response must be received NO LATER THAN 4:00 PM on July 16, 2020.
  • All applicants who timely filed an application for the July 2020 exam will be required to respond to the survey notifying our office of the exam you are electing to take.
  • Applicants who have already requested to carry forward to February 2021, may instead elect to take the September 2020 one-day exam.
  • The fee required to update an application for the February 2021 Bar Exam has been waived.
    Please Note: Laptop fees are paid directly to our third-party vendor and are non-refundable.
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Testing Conditions for the July 2020 Virginia Bar Exam:
  • There will be multiple test site locations, applicant assigned entrances/exits and staggered arrival times.
  • Applicants must submit to a temperature check before entry into the testing facility/area.
  • Applicants must reaffirm each day of the exam their COVID-19 Declarations remain true.
  • Applicants are required to maintain a six-foot distance between others at all times possible.
  • Applicants, the Board, staff and all individuals involved in administering the exam will be required to wear masks at all times, during both days of testing, unless it is medically unsafe to do so and the applicant has submitted a Medical Accommodation Request Form, which has been approved by the Board. Masks may be inspected upon check-in at the exam site.
  • All common areas of the exam site will be cleaned and disinfected throughout both days of testing.
  • The number of applicants allowed in the restrooms at one time will be monitored and limited.
  • Water fountains will be closed at the exam site. Limited water will be available during breaks.
  • Applicants will be seated six feet apart.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available as needed.
  • Should any applicant currently registered to take the July 2020 Exam feel they are 
unable to take the exam under these conditions, they may carry forward to the February 2021 Exam. Due to COVID-19, the Board has waived the carry forward fee required to update your application for the February 2021 Bar Exam. If you wish to carry forward, please submit a Request To Carry Forward Form.
  • All other standard testing conditions apply.
  • Anyone attempting to enter the exam site in violation of these conditions will be denied entry.
FAQs: Prior to the Exam

Are face masks required?
Yes. All applicants and individuals administering the exam will be required to wear masks during both days of testing. If you have a medical condition that makes wearing a mask at all times unsafe, you must submit a Medical Accommodation Request Form no later than July 15, 2020 for the Board’s approval.

Will face masks and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) be supplied by the Board?
Hand sanitizer will be available in multiple locations in and around all exam rooms. No additional PPE will be provided by the Board.

May I bring my own PPE items?
In addition to wearing the required face mask, applicants are permitted to bring the following items to the exam:
      One additional cloth face mask
      One pair of disposable gloves
      One three ounce bottle of hand sanitizer
      One travel pack of disposable disinfecting wipes (25 count or less)

A complete list of allowed items is available in the Letter of Instruction for: Handwriting or Laptop

How often will the exam site be cleaned?
Exam tables will be disinfected before each test session. Restrooms and all common and high-touch areas will be cleaned before and after each test session and during lunch breaks.

Am I required to sign a liability waiver?
No. The Board’s website provides details regarding the expected exam conditions as well as health and safety protocols to be followed. Also posted is a sample of the Bar Exam Declaration Survey that each applicant must submit prior to the exam and verbally reaffirm each day of the exam. Please note the language in the original Declaration, “I accept the risk of exposure to or infection with COVID-19,” has been removed. The Board continues to update the Declaration based on guidance received from the Centers for Disease Control and from the Virginia Department of Health as they learn more and conditions change. The final Declaration will be emailed to all applicants on July 17, 2020.

What if I am not comfortable taking the exam in July?
Any applicant currently registered to take the July 2020 Bar Exam may carry forward to the February 2021 Bar Exam. Due to COVID-19, the Board has waived the carry forward fee required to update your application for the February 2021 Bar Exam. If you wish to carry forward, please submit a Request To Carry Forward Form. Laptop fees do not carry forward.

What should I do if the July 2020 Bar Exam is cancelled?
If the July 2020 Bar Exam is not possible, all applicants registered for the July 2020 Bar Exam will be automatically carried forward to the next exam. The next exam would be scheduled for September of 2020 if the July 2020 Bar Exam is cancelled.

FAQs: Entering the Exam

There are multiple exam locations in Roanoke. How will I know where I am testing?
Applicants will receive an email on July 6, 2020 with their exam location, designated entrance and required arrival time. We have multiple exam sites, entrance locations and staggered arrival times, so be sure to carefully read and follow all instructions emailed to you.

Will social distancing be maintained when applicants are entering the building?
6-feet markers will be placed at all designated entrances for applicants awaiting the required health and security screening. Applicants must adhere to these markings and remain at least 6 feet apart at all times.

Will my temperature be checked?
Yes. Applicants’ temperatures will be checked by touchless forehead thermometers. An applicant’s temperature must be below 100.4°F for entry into the exam site.

What if my temperature is 100.4°F or above?
Applicants with temperatures 100.4°F or above will be allowed to sit for 5 minutes and then have their temperature rechecked. If the applicant’s temperature remains 100.4°F or above, they will be denied entry into the exam site.

What if I am denied entry based on fever or other symptoms?
An applicant denied entry to the July 2020 Bar Exam due to fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 will be immediately isolated from others. The Board will then follow the guidance of the Health Department regarding medical care and contact tracing before the applicant leaves the exam site. The applicant will be automatically carried forward to the February 2021 Bar Exam without penalty.

What type of security check is involved?
After you have been cleared for entry into the exam site, a security check will be conducted via a walk-through metal detector and/or wand. Security personnel will remain on site throughout the exam for the safety of all applicants and staff.

What is the process after passing the security check?
After going through the security check, you will enter the exam room and immediately take your seat. After all applicants are seated, proctors will check your Photo ID and other items brought into the exam room. You will be required to remain in your seat throughout this process.

FAQs: During the Exam

How far apart will I be seated from other applicants?
All applicants will be seated at least 6 feet apart.

Will I be able to get up and use the restroom?
Before the start of the exam, a restroom break will be allowed on a row-by-row basis in order to limit the number of applicants in the restrooms at a given time. During the exam, applicants will be required to raise their hand to go to the restroom.

Will water be available at the exam?
Water fountains are closed due to the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Water will be available to all applicants outside each exam room.

What if I become sick during the July 2020 Bar Exam?
Any applicant who becomes ill or begins to exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 during the July 2020 Bar Exam will be immediately isolated. The Board will then follow the guidance of the Health Department regarding medical care and contact tracing before the applicant leaves the exam site.

Am I required to wear a tie for the July 2020 Bar Exam?
No. Due to COVID-19, the Board has waived the tie requirement for the July 2020 Bar Exam. All other dress code requirements remain in effect. Dress code requirements are available in the Letter of Instruction for: Handwriting or Laptop

How will we exit the exam room?
In order to maintain social distancing, applicants will be released for lunch and at the end of the day on a row-by-row basis and must immediately exit the building.

What should I do about lunch?
Applicants testing at the Berglund Center can purchase lunch for one or both days. A link to purchase lunch at the Berglund Center will be included in the July 6, 2020 email. Applicants must print their lunch tickets and bring them to the exam. The deadline to order lunch is Monday, July 20, 2020 by 5:00 PM. Lunches cannot be purchased at the exam site. Berglund Center applicants who do not purchase lunch by the deadline, and applicants not testing at the Berglund Center, will be required to obtain lunch on their own.

Where do I go at the Berglund Center to pick up my purchased lunch?
Applicants will pick up their purchased lunches at the Berglund Performing Arts Theatre. Your printed ticket is required to pick up your lunch. To maintain social distancing, applicants will be allowed to eat inside the air-conditioned Theatre in designated seats, exit the side doors to eat in their vehicles or spread out on-site. Applicants must remain at least 6 feet apart at all times.

Please continue to check this website regularly for updated information regarding the July 2020 exam plans and procedures.

Is there a fee if I elect to take the September exam instead of the July exam?
No. All timely filed applicants for the July 2020 exam may elect to take the September 2020 exam or carry forward to the February 2021 exam without penalty or fee.

If I elect to take the September 2020 exam, am I required to re-register and pay for the Exam4 laptop software?
No. Applicants who registered and paid laptop fees for the July 2020 Bar Exam are not required to pay any additional fees for the September 2020 exam, but are required to download a new version of the software after August 1, 2020 and prior to the September 2020 exam. Laptop fees paid for the July 2020 exam do not carry forward to the February 2021 exam.

The September 2020 exam does not have a Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) component. If I take the September exam, am I required to take the MBE at a later date?
No. The September exam is a one-day Virginia Essay exam only. No MBE score is required to pass.

What is the required score to pass the September 2020 Virginia Bar Exam?
The passing score for all applicants, regardless of Option selected, will be a minimum of 64 raw Virginia Essay points, out of a possible 100 raw Virginia Essay points.

I have already carried my July 2020 Bar Exam application forward to the February 2021 exam. Can I switch to the September 2020 Bar Exam?
Yes. All timely filed applicants for the July 2020 exam may elect to take the September 2020 exam or carry forward to the February 2021 exam.

I did not apply for the July 2020 Virginia Bar Exam. May I apply for the September 2020 Virginia Bar Exam?
No. The Board will not accept new applications for the September 2020 Bar Exam. Only timely filed applicants for the July 2020 Bar Exam are eligible to take the September exam.

Where will the September 2020 exam be held?
At the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, Virginia.

Will the exam testing conditions for the September 2020 exam be the same as the July 2020 exam testing conditions?
The Board continues to follow the guidance of the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health. As of now, September examinees will be subject to the same COVID-19 screening requirements (COVID-19 Screening Survey Declaration, temperature checks prior to entry, face masks required at all times, social distancing, seated at least 6 feet apart, etc.).

When will results be released for the September 2020 Bar Exam?
The Board anticipates releasing results from the September 2020 Bar Exam around the first of December.

I am an Option 2 applicant for the July 2020 Bar Exam. If I carry forward to the February 2021 exam and my MBE score is no longer within the required three-year window, will I be required to take the MBE at the February 2021 Bar Exam?
No. July 2020 Option 2 applicants who elected to use/transfer a previous MBE score, which will by February 2021 be outside the required three-year time limit, are allowed to use their previously submitted MBE score for the February 2021 exam only.

If I choose to take the September 2020 Bar Exam and my application has outstanding requirements, do I have to meet the deadline previously given for submitting my documentation?
The September 2020 exam is an additional exam date and does not extend the deadline for submitting outstanding documents previously requested.

I understand that NCBE’s rules do not allow an applicant to take multiple bar exams between July and October. Because the September 2020 exam is a Virginia Essay only, am I allowed to take the September 2020 exam and another jurisdiction’s exam between July and October?
NCBE does not set policies or make decisions regarding state specific bar exams. As such, NCBE’s policy does not prevent an applicant from taking the Virginia Essay in September 2020 and another jurisdiction’s bar exam between July and October.

If I selected the July or September exam option and decide I am unable to take the exam, can I carry forward to February 2021?
Yes. Any applicant who elects to take either the July or September exam by the Exam Election Survey deadline, and thereafter decides not to take the exam selected, may carry forward to February 2021 by submitting a Request To Carry Forward Form.

COVID-19 Notice as of May 1, 2020:

Please do not call the office asking for more information, as none is available at this time.

  • The Board of Bar Examiners remains committed to administering the Virginia Bar Exam in July 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic presents numerous challenges, and we appreciate your patience as we consider how to administer the bar exam safely.
  • Final decisions and details regarding the July Bar Exam will be made as soon as possible based upon available information, including guidance from the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health, state and local restrictions on gatherings, and test venue availability. Any changes to the July 2020 Virginia Bar Exam will be announced here, so you should continue to monitor this page for additional information.
  • Ultimately, the Board’s top priority is the protection of the public, including the health and safety of bar applicants and of our employees and volunteers. Thank you for your patience.

COVID-19 Application Modifications

The Virginia Board of Bar Examiners continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation. The Board’s top priority is the protection of the public, which includes the health and safety of bar applicants and of our employees and volunteers. We will continue to update this page as more information becomes available.

The Board is unable to accept hand deliveries of applications at this time. The Board strongly recommends that applicants send application materials using a trackable delivery method without requiring a signature. The Board cannot confirm receipt of application materials by phone or email.

The modifications are listed in the charts below per application type.

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Applications for the July 2020 Virginia Bar Exam:
The filing deadline for the July 2020 Virginia Bar Exam is Monday, May 11, 2020 (statutory date of May 10, 2020 is a Sunday).

The Board realizes that some items required for July 2020 Bar Exam applications may be difficult to obtain at this time. Accordingly, the Board is modifying some of the July 2020 Virginia Bar Exam application requirements, as set forth in the chart below. The applicant’s goal should be to submit as complete an application package as possible. Most of the documents required to be submitted by the filing deadline can be obtained through online requests. If you are unable to obtain a Required by Filing Deadline item by May 1, 2020, please contact the Board for further instructions.

Please Note: Not all items listed are required by every applicant

Required by the July Bar Exam Filing Deadline: May 11, 2020 Modification from Rules
• Application for Examination Electronic Notarization accepted or Applicant Declaration, Authorization & Release*
*A separate Applicant Declaration is required for every place a signature and notary are required.
• Character & Fitness Questionnaire/Update Form Electronic Notarization accepted or Applicant Declaration, Authorization & Release*
*A separate Applicant Declaration is required for every place a signature and notary are required.
• Petition for Non-Standard Testing Electronic Notarization accepted or Applicant Declaration, Authorization & Release*
*A separate Applicant Declaration is required for every place a signature and notary are required.
• Fees (Only Certified Check, Cashier's Check, or Money Order)
• Exam Identification Photos In lieu of passport photos, a personal photo, resembling passport-type photos (above shoulders, plain background) may be accepted. Your photo must be clear, 2x2 inches and attached on the photo ID page. If your personal photo is not acceptable, you will be required to submit professional passport photos.
• Confirmation of NCBE Number Can be requested online
• Copy of your Drivers License, Passport, Govt ID, etc., to be used for admission into the exam
• Credit Report Can be requested online
• DMV Records Uncertified record accepted - Can be requested online
Please note: Those requesting Virginia DMV records should select “View Record Only.” You will be able to view and print all pages of your driving record.
• Birth Certificate/Naturalization/Immigration documentation Copy of document accepted - Can be requested online
• Documents verifying current legal name if other than birth name (i.e., marriage certificate, divorce decree, name change order, etc.) Copy of document(s) accepted
May be submitted AFTER the filing deadline but MUST be received prior to taking the July Bar Exam Modification from Rules
• Fingerprint Card May be received after filing deadline, but prior to taking the exam.
• Completed C&F Healthcare Form Electronically generated forms accepted
• Educational Verification of Juris Doctor Degree Electronically generated forms accepted
• Certificates of Good Standing Electronically generated forms accepted
• Option 3 - Verification of Bar Passage Form Electronically generated forms accepted
• Verification of Military Service Documentation Copies or electronically generated forms accepted
• Court Records for Felony charges Copies or electronically generated forms accepted
• Court Orders-creditors, tax liens and judgments Copies or electronically generated forms accepted
• Bankruptcy Petition Copies or electronically generated forms accepted
• Defaulted student loan documents Copies or electronically generated forms accepted

The Board realizes that some items required for Admission Without Examination applications may be difficult to obtain at this time. Accordingly, the Board is modifying some of the application requirements, as set forth in the chart below. The applicant’s goal should be to submit as complete an application package as possible. Most of the documents required for us to process your application can be obtained through online requests. After exhausting all attempts to obtain a required item for us to begin processing your application, you may contact the Board for further instructions.

Please Note: Not all items listed are required by every applicant

Required for VBBE to begin processing your application Modification from Rules
• Application for Admission Without Examination (AWE) Electronic Notarization accepted or AWE Declaration, Authorization & Release*
*A separate AWE Declaration is required for every place a signature and notary are required.
• Character & Fitness Questionnaire Electronic Notarization accepted or AWE Declaration, Authorization & Release*
*A separate AWE Declaration is required for every place a signature and notary are required.
• Fees (Only Certified Check, Cashier's Check, or Money Order)
• Verification of Reciprocity Electronically generated forms accepted
• Completion of Rule 1A:1 Reciprocity Course
• Résumé of past practice of law
• Self-Employment Tax Returns, K1 or W2 Electronically generated forms accepted
• Certificates of Good Standing Electronically generated forms accepted
• Certificates of Discipline Electronically generated forms accepted
• Authority permitting practice of law without a law license in the jurisdiction where office is located Electronically generated forms accepted
• Transcript from ABA approved law school Unofficial accepted for processing. Official transcript may be required prior to approval.
• Affidavit of Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct Electronic Notarization accepted or AWE Declaration, Authorization & Release*
*A separate AWE Declaration is required for every place a signature and notary are required.
• Authorized Person Form Electronic Notarization accepted or AWE Declaration, Authorization & Release*
*A separate AWE Declaration is required for every place a signature and notary are required.
• Confirmation of NCBE Number Can be requested online
• Credit Report Can be requested online
• DMV Records Uncertified record accepted - Can be requested online
Please note: Those requesting Virginia DMV records should select “View Record Only.” You will be able to view and print all pages of your driving record.
• Birth Certificate/Naturalization/Immigration documentation Copy of document accepted - Can be requested online
• Documents verifying current legal name if other than birth name (i.e., marriage certificate, divorce decree, name change order, etc.) Copy of document(s) accepted
Required before approval Modification from Rules
• Completed C&F Healthcare form Electronically generated forms accepted
• Verification of Military Service Documentation Copies or electronically generated forms accepted
• Court Records for Felony charges Copies or electronically generated forms accepted
• Court Orders-creditors, tax liens and judgments Copies or electronically generated forms accepted
• Bankruptcy Petition Copies or electronically generated forms accepted
• Defaulted student loan documents Copies or electronically generated forms accepted

The Board realizes that some items required for Virginia Corporate Counsel, Part I, applications may be difficult to obtain at this time. Accordingly, the Board is modifying some of the application requirements, as set forth in the chart below. The applicant’s goal should be to submit as complete an application package as possible. Most of the documents required for us to process your application can be obtained through online requests. After exhausting all attempts to obtain a required item for us to begin processing your application, you may contact the Board for further instructions.

Please Note: Not all items listed are required by every applicant

Required for VBBE to begin processing your application Modification from Rules
• Application for Virginia Corporate Counsel (VCC), Part I Electronic Notarization accepted or VCC Declaration, Authorization & Release*
*A separate VCC Declaration is required for every place a signature and notary are required.
• Character & Fitness Questionnaire Electronic Notarization accepted or VCC Declaration, Authorization & Release*
*A separate VCC Declaration is required for every place a signature and notary are required.
• Fees (Only Certified Check, Cashier's Check, or Money Order)
• Certificates of Good Standing Electronically generated forms accepted
• Certificates of Discipline Electronically generated forms accepted
• Transcript from ABA approved law school Unofficial accepted for processing. Official transcript may be required prior to approval.
• Affidavit of Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct Electronic Notarization accepted or VCC Declaration, Authorization & Release*
*A separate VCC Declaration is required for every place a signature and notary are required.
• Affidavit of Employer Electronically generated signed Employer Affidavit without notarization is accepted for processing.
Original signed and notarized Employer Affidavit required before approval.
• Confirmation of NCBE Number Can be requested online
• Credit Report Can be requested online
• DMV Records Uncertified record accepted - Can be requested online
Please note: Those requesting Virginia DMV records should select “View Record Only.” You will be able to view and print all pages of your driving record.
• Birth Certificate/Naturalization/Immigration documentation Copy of document accepted - Can be requested online
• Documents verifying current legal name if other than birth name (i.e., marriage certificate, divorce decree, name change order, etc.) Copy of document(s) accepted
Required before approval Modification from Rules
• Completed C&F Healthcare form Electronically generated forms accepted
• Verification of Military Service Documentation Copies or electronically generated forms accepted
• Court Records for Felony charges Copies or electronically generated forms accepted
• Court Orders-creditors, tax liens and judgments Copies or electronically generated forms accepted
• Bankruptcy Petition Copies or electronically generated forms accepted
• Defaulted student loan documents Copies or electronically generated forms accepted

COVID-19 Notice as of March 17, 2020:

  • The Virginia Board of Bar Examiners' office and phone lines are open. Should this office be required to close, Notice will be posted on this webpage and on our phone lines.
  • Mail and third-party delivery service continues at this time. The Board discourages in-person visits or the hand delivery of any applications until further notice.
  • The filing deadline for the July 2020 Virginia Bar Exam is Monday, May 11, 2020 (statutory date of May 10, 2020 is a Sunday).
  • The Board realizes that some items required for July bar exam applications may be difficult to obtain at this time. We request that you continue to try to obtain all items prior to submitting your application. After May 1, 2020, if you are unable to obtain a required item, you may call the office for further instructions.