Frequently Asked Questions

Below are our Frequently Asked Questions. Choose all or the specific topic you would like to see.

Admission Without Examination

There is no minimum time requirement for being a member of a reciprocal jurisdiction. At the time of your application, you must be a member in good standing of the “highest court” of a reciprocal jurisdiction.

Your membership status may be active or inactive as long as you are in good standing in your reciprocal jurisdiction.

Yes, you must have been a member of “a” bar (reciprocal or not reciprocal) for a minimum of 5 years at the time of your application.

No, you must have met all of the minimum threshold requirements at the time your application is received.

Qualified law practice is the full-time practice of law in a jurisdiction where you are licensed to practice law or are authorized to practice law. Practice from an office located in a jurisdiction where you are not licensed (including Virginia), may be accepted as qualifying practice if you establish, by satisfactory evidence, that such practice is permitted by statute, rule, court order, or by written confirmation from the admitting or disciplinary authority of the jurisdiction where the practice occurred.

If you are practicing, for example, federal law or immigration law in a jurisdiction where you are not licensed, you can submit the authority, UPL opinion, court order, rule, etc. from that jurisdiction that authorizes your practice.

You must have been engaged in the full-time qualified practice of law for at least 3 of the last 5 years (36 of the last 60 months) immediately prior to submitting your application.

No, it does not. Your minimum current and qualified law practice can be in your reciprocal jurisdiction or in any other jurisdiction where you are/were licensed to practice law or engage in the authorized practice of law.

No. You can fail no more than 2 bar examinations EVER. If you have failed, in full or in part, 3 or more bar examinations in any jurisdiction or combination of jurisdictions, you do not qualify for Admission Without Examination. For example, if you sat for the bar examination on 3 different occasions and were unsuccessful in New York, each of those attempts is considered a fail, and you do not qualify for Admission Without Examination.

If you have failed, in full or in part, any bar examination in the last 5 years or if you have ever failed more than 2 bar examinations, you do not qualify for Admission Without Examination.

No. You cannot apply for Admission Without Examination until your membership has been reinstated or until any pending disciplinary matters have been resolved. You must submit with your application a Certificate of Good Standing and a Certificate of Discipline for each jurisdiction where you are or were licensed to practice law.

You may use your Virginia Corporate Counsel, Part 1, admission to satisfy the qualified practice of law requirement. You must also satisfy all other minimum threshold requirements of Rule 1A:1 to qualify for Admission Without Examination.

For Admission Without Examination, the full-time practice of law is defined as a minimum of 32 hours per week. In addition, you must also demonstrate, through the documentation submitted with your application, that you have made such progress in the practice of law that it would be unreasonable to require you to take an examination to demonstrate current minimum competency.

For purposes of Admission Without Examination, the practice of law ordinarily shall not mean document review work.

No. There is a specific course (W. Scott Street, III Rule 1A:1 Reciprocity Course) that must be completed prior to applying for Admission Without Examination. Upon completion of the course, a Certificate of Attendance will be generated to submit with your application. The 1A:1 Reciprocity Course must have been completed no more than six (6) months prior to receipt of your application.


Bar Exam

The application fee is $475. In addition, each applicant must pay the character and fitness investigation fee in accordance with the character and fitness fee schedule.

No. The filing deadline is statutory. The Board does not have authority to waive or extend the filing deadline. If your application is not received in accordance with Va. Code § 54.1-3925, your application will be denied.

See § 54.1-3925 of the Code of Virginia.

If your application is not 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.

Applications for Examination and Character & Fitness Questionnaires should be filed no more than 90 days prior to the filing deadline, but must be filed by the statutory filing deadline in accordance with § 54.1-3925 of the Code of Virginia.

No. Virginia does not require early law student registration. Applications for Examination and Character & Fitness Questionnaires should be filed no more than 90 days prior to the filing deadline, but must be filed by the statutory filing deadline in accordance with § 54.1-3925 of the Code of Virginia.

The Character & Fitness Questionnaire asks if you have participated in a third year practice program. You do not need to include a copy of your third year practice certificate or application.

No. You must be admitted and in good standing in all jurisdictions where you are/have been licensed in order to apply for admission in Virginia by exam or admission without exam.

No. You must be admitted and in good standing in all jurisdictions where you are/have been licensed in order to apply for admission in Virginia by exam or admission without exam.

No. All application updates or changes must be in writing.

Click here to access the Amendment to an Application and/or Character & Fitness Form.

Click here to access the Change of Address Form.

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

You will receive two application status emails. The first email is sent when your application has been processed, but no later than 60 days after the filing deadline. The second email is sent within two to three weeks of the bar exam. The emails will acknowledge the items received and will request any outstanding documentation, any additional information required and/or ask you to clarify a response given.

Five times. 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. See § 54.1-3930 of the Code of Virginia.

See Section I of the Rules of the Board.

Yes. The Board has past Essay Questions (click here) and select sample answers available on the website (click here).

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.

Yes. An applicant can use or transfer an MBE scaled score of 133 or greater, taken within 3 years prior to the date of the exam applied for, from either a previous bar exam taken in Virginia or from a jurisdiction other than Virginia.

No. You do not have to pass the exam in the jurisdiction where you are transferring your MBE score.

Yes. Any licensed attorney in good standing, who passed a bar exam in a jurisdiction other than Virginia, and meets all other requirements, may elect to take only the Virginia essay portion of the Virginia Bar Exam.

No. Licensed attorneys who are admitted in a reciprocal jurisdiction and meet all other Minimum Threshold Requirements can apply for Admission Without Examination.

No. Option 3 does not eliminate any other requirement in the Rules, but allows licensed attorneys to only sit for the Virginia Essay portion of the exam.

We keep no listing of the various bar review courses, and we do not endorse any particular course or bar review product. You should check with your law school (or a law school in Virginia if you attended an out-of-state law school) for information on what courses may be offered, where they are offered, and the cost.

Yes. 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 Supreme Court of Virginia to complete a professionalism course conducted by the Virginia State Bar. https://www.vsb.org/site/members/new.

The MPRE is given in March, August, and November of each year at various locations across the country. The dates and filing deadlines are available on the National Conference of Bar Examiner's website. Click here for more information about the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) .

Virginia requires an MPRE scaled score of 85 or higher which must be achieved within the calendar year you passed the Virginia Bar Exam, within the two calendar years immediately preceding your passing the Virginia Bar Exam, or within the two calendar years immediately following your passing the Virginia Bar Exam.

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


Taking the Bar Exam

For each exam, the Board provides an Allowed Items List for both Day 1 and Day 2. You are allowed to bring only the items listed on the Allowed Items List. If you have a medical condition that requires you to bring items not listed, you must submit a Medical Accommodations Request Form by the deadline.

Arrival time depends on the exam location and total number of applicants. Detailed instructions and information about the upcoming bar exam are provided in the Letter of Instruction. The Letter of Instruction is posted on our website on or about the 1st of January for the February exam and on or about the 1st of June for the July exam.

Each day of the exam consists of 2 three-hour sessions; a morning test session and an afternoon test session, with approximately 1 hour for lunch between sessions.

The Board contracts with various hotels and conference centers to hold the exam. While every effort is made to keep the environment of the test center comfortable and quiet, there are times when events or conditions occur beyond the control of the Board.

Umbrellas are not allowed into the exam room. In the case of inclement weather, you may bring an umbrella, and the Board will provide a location where you can store it. The Board accepts no responsibility for any items brought to the exam site.

Sweatshirts are not allowed, as they are not court-appropriate attire. Any court-appropriate jacket, sweater, scarf or hair accessory must be worn and not carried into the exam room. If the temperature of the room warrants, you may remove your jacket or sweater during testing.

No water is allowed in the exam room. Water stations and/or water fountains are available.

Yes. Applicants are allowed to use the restroom and to get a drink of water during the exam. Applicants must remain in their seat at all other times.

A Medical Accommodation Request Form must be submitted to request permission to bring your lactation pumping equipment to the exam location. Upon approval of your request, the Board will provide a room for pumping before the exam, during lunch and after the exam, and for storing your equipment during the exam.


Character & Fitness

Click here for a sample of the Character & Fitness Questionnaire. Depending upon your answers to certain questions, additional responses or documents may be required.

Most applicants who submit a timely filed application are permitted to sit for the bar exam. Frequently character and fitness investigations are still in progress as the exam date approaches. If you have any outstanding issues, you will be notified by your Character & Fitness Investigator before or after the bar exam. Failure to comply with any request by your investigator may result in a delay of processing your application or may necessitate a hearing before the Character & Fitness Committee. Extremely serious matters may be brought to the Board or the Character & Fitness Committee for action before the exam and a determination will be made if you are eligible to sit for the bar exam. All character and fitness issues must be resolved to the satisfaction of the Committee or the Board before an applicant who passes the exam can be licensed. See Section III: Character & Fitness Requirements of the Rules of the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners (Rules).

A lawyer is regularly called upon to handle a client's funds or to advise a client with respect to money management issues. A history of credit problems (delinquent credit card or other charge accounts, missed loan or rent payments, etc.) indicates an applicant's lack of financial responsibility. The Board requires that credit problems be cleared before you can be licensed.

A bankruptcy itself is not a disqualifying factor, but the Character & Fitness Committee and the Board will look at the reasons for the bankruptcy to determine whether there may be disqualifying financial responsibility factors.

Yes. However, it is a factor which will be considered in determining whether a person can prove by clear and convincing evidence that he/she possesses the requisite good character and fitness to qualify for admission to the Virginia bar. The Board's Character & Fitness Committee considers, for example, the nature of the crime, how long ago it was committed, the punishment, and positive contributions to society since the conviction. A pardon or a restoration of the person's civil rights is a positive factor. For a listing of all the factors which are considered, see the Board's Rules.

It is your responsibility to locate the details of every traffic offense. Contact the court in the jurisdiction that you were charged. In Virginia, you can access records online at www.courts.state.va.us. If the violation(s) are purged from the court’s database, provide to the best of your memory all circumstances of the violation in as much detail as possible.

Student loans from one lender (or servicer) can be consolidated into one line item. Disbursement dates may be listed as a period of time and the dollar amount may be listed as the total principal amount.

You may combine your student loan information and provide the total amount listed if the lender and account numbers are identical or if the loans have been consolidated.

No. Each question must be completed by the applicant. It is not your Character & Fitness Investigator's responsibility to extract the information from any statements or reports.

If your Character & Fitness Questionnaire was submitted less than five (5) years ago, only a Character & Fitness Update form is required with your application.

Applicants have a continuing duty to report immediately, in writing, anything that would modify a response to any question asked on any part of the Application or Character & Fitness form. This includes, but is not limited to: address, marriage status, employment, criminal or traffic violations, disciplinary matters, etc.

The following forms are available:

  • Change of Address
  • Name Change Form
  • Application Amendment Form

  • A full* credit report is a required attachment with any Character & Fitness Questionnaire or Character & Fitness Update form.

    You must obtain a full credit report from one of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies. Your credit report must be dated within 60 days of the date you submit your application materials.

    Federal law requires each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) to give you a free credit report every 12 months if you ask for it.
    To obtain your free credit report call 877-322-8228 or visit www.annualcreditreport.com

    You may also request a credit report directly from one of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies (charges may apply):

    *A full credit report should include:

    • Creditor's name and address
    • Account numbers
    • Type of account
    • Payment history
    • Balance due
    • Outstanding debt
    • Age of the account
    • Any public record or collection items

    A credit report and driving record are required with all Character & Fitness Questionnaires and Character & Fitness Update Forms. All credit reports and driving records must be dated within 60 days of the date they are submitted to this office.

    A 3-in-1 credit report contains account information from all three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. A 3-in-1 credit report is not preferred, but will be accepted.

    No. A credit score is not required with your full credit report.

    A driving record is required from all states where you are currently licensed, as well as all other states where you have been licensed in the last five (5) years. Your driving records do not need to be certified and can be ordered through a third-party servicer, such as drivingrecords.com.

    You are only required to report parking tickets that are more than 90 days past due.

    Most diagnoses and treatments are not required to be disclosed. Only when an applicant’s condition or impairment is so severe that it affects their ability to practice law in a competent, ethical or professional manner is it relevant to the applicant’s character and fitness and, therefore, must be disclosed.

    No part of a Character & Fitness Questionnaire can be received by fax or email. However, if you have a change in status, correction or update to a complete application that is currently on file, you may mail, email or fax such change. Please reference your name and the exam you applied for on any update submitted. Click here to access the Amendment to an Application and/or Character & Fitness Form.

    Not necessarily. For Character & Fitness, no news is good news. Your investigator will contact you should any outstanding documentation be required or should a clarification of a response be needed. If, upon passing the exam, you are required to appear before the Character & Fitness Committee for a hearing, you will be notified in advance.


    Contact Information

    2201 W. Broad Street
    Suite 101
    Richmond, VA 23220
    (804) 367-0412 Phone (calls answered 9:00 to 12:00 and 1:00 to 4:00)
    (804) 367-0416 Fax
    Office Hours: 8:30 to 4:30 Monday through Friday
    Closed on State Holidays

    Bank of America Building
    1111 E. Main Street, Suite 700
    Richmond, VA  23219-3565
    (804) 775-0500
    www.vsb.org

    100 North Ninth Street
    Richmond, Virginia 23219
    (804) 786-2251
    www.courts.state.va.us


    Fees

    All application fees for the Virginia Bar Exam must accompany the proper form of application. All fees must be paid by Certified Check, Cashier's Check, or Money Order only. One check is acceptable. No personal or firm checks will be accepted. Checks must be made payable to "Virginia Board of Bar Examiners". See the Rules for more detailed information.

    Bar exam fees consist of both an Application and Character & Fitness fee. Both the Application and Character & Fitness must be filed simultaneously.

    Application for Examination Fees
    Application Type Fee
    Original Application $475
    Re-Application $475
    Update of a Previously Filed Application
    (for those who are eligible to carry forward from the previous exam)
    $175
    Character & Fitness Fees
    Character & Fitness Type Fee

    Character & Fitness Questionnaire

    $475
    Character & Fitness Update Form
    (for applicants who are applying for the bar exam and have previously submitted a completed Character & Fitness Questionnaire less than four (4) years ago)
    $175
    Admission Without Examination
    Forms Fee
    Application for Admission Without Examination and Character & Fitness Questionnaire. $2500
    Law Reader Program Application
    Forms Fee
    Law Reader Program Application and Character & Fitness Questionnaire. $2500
    Military Legal Assistance Attorney
    Forms Fee
    Military Legal Assistance Attorney Application and Character & Fitness Questionnaire. $250
    Military Spouse Provisional Admission
    Forms Fee
    Military Spouse Provisional Admission Application & Character & Fitness Questionnaire. $400
    Foreign Legal Consultant
    Forms Fee
    Foreign Legal Consultant Application Only (Character & Fitness fee paid directly to NCBE) $1500
    Virginia State Bar Reinstatement
    Forms Fee
    Virginia State Bar Reinstatement Application $300
    Miscellaneous Fees
    Fee Type Fee
    MBE Score Advisory Request
    • For those seeking a yes/no confirmation on whether their MBE score meets the requirements for a particular jurisdiction
    $30
    MBE Score Transfer Request
    • For those wishing to transfer their MBE score to a particular jurisdiction
    • For those who sat concurrently in Virginia and another jurisdiction and desire their MBE score be transferred to such concurrent jurisdiction
    $50
    Replacement Certificate $50
    Incorrect Payment Fee $50

    Forms Submission

    Forms for taking the Virginia Bar Exam are available Online. These forms can be found by clicking - Bar Exam - Applying for Exam - Application. The forms required will be determined by the answers you provide to various questions.

    All applicants are entitled to carry forward their application for one (1) year. To carry forward your application, you must submit a Request to Carry Forward Form in accordance with Section VI of the Rules of the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners.

    If you are scheduled to sit for the upcoming exam and have decided you do not wish to take the upcoming bar exam, please complete the Request to Carry Forward Form.

    This form should be received in our office no later than the Wednesday prior to the bar exam.

    Click here to download the form.

    To be eligible to sit for the upcoming bar exam, you MUST update your application on file in accordance with Section VI of the Rules of the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners. Approximately six (6) weeks prior to the upcoming filing deadline, you will receive an email containing a password and instructions on how to update your application materials.

    Forms for Admission Without Examination are available Online. These forms can be found by clicking - Admission Without Examination - Application. The forms required will be determined by the answers you provide to various questions.

    Forms for applying to the Law Reader Program are available on our website. The forms required are the Law Reader Application and a Character & Fitness Questionnaire (CFQ). The Law Reader Application and CFQ forms are PDF fillable forms and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to complete the forms. These forms can be found by clicking - Law Reader Program - Application.

    Forms for applying for the Military Legal Assistance Attorney Program (MLAAP) are available on our website. The forms required are the Military Legal Assistance application and a Character & Fitness Questionnaire (CFQ). The Military Legal Assistance application is a fillable PDF form. The Character & Fitness Questionnaire is available through a downloadable program called the Forms Wizard. The MLAAP & CFQ can be found by clicking - Miscellaneous - Other Applications - Military Legal Assistance.

    The application for the Foreign Legal Consultant is available on our website. To apply you must complete the Foreign Legal Consultant application which is available on our website in a PDF fillable form. You must also simultaneously request the preparation of a Character Report from the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). The Foreign Legal Consultant application, as well as a link to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, can be found by clicking - Miscellaneous - Other Applications - Foreign Legal Consultant.

    Forms to apply as a Virginia State Bar Reinstatement candidate are available on our website. The Virginia Reinstatement Candidate application is a fillable PDF form and can be found by clicking - Miscellaneous - Other Applications - Virginia Reinstatement Candidate.

    Click here to access the Amendment to an Application and/or Character & Fitness Form

    All forms to apply for the bar exam and for admission without examination are available through our Online forms program. No special software required, although Internet access is needed. Various PDF forms may be required and you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to complete the PDF forms.

    All PDF application forms are fillable and can be completed using Adobe Acrobat Reader. PDF fillable forms must be completed and printed. There is no save function available for you to save your answers.

    NOTE: MAC® users may have some problems trying to complete PDF forms with Preview. If so, please download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

    Yes. All application forms must be printed, signed, notarized and delivered to the Office of the Secretary, Virginia Board of Bar Examiners, 2201 W. Broad Street, Suite 101, Richmond, VA 23220.

    Yes. Our VBBE Online Forms are web-based and an internet connection is required. When using the online forms, additional information and forms will be available through various links, and an internet connection is also needed to access those links.

    If you have any difficulties with VBBE Online Forms, click the "Contact Support" at the top left of any interview page, complete the information requested, and you will be contacted within 48 hours. If you prefer, you may contact our VBBE Online Forms Admin at (804) 367-0412.

    Submitting an application using the VBBE Online Forms does NOT constitute timely filing your application with the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners in accordance with § 54.1-3925 of the Code of Virginia.

    If your PRINTED 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.

    Application forms should be filed no more than 90 days prior to the filing deadline, but must be filed by the statutory filing deadline in accordance with § 54.1-3925 of the Code of Virginia.

    Send all applications to:
    Office of the Secretary
    Virginia Board of Bar Examiners
    2201 W. Broad Street
    Suite 101
    Richmond, VA 23220


    Laptop Program

    The laptop program offers all timely filed bar exam applicants the option to use their laptop computers for the essay portion of the Virginia Bar Exam instead of handwriting the essay portion. In order to participate in the laptop program, one must timely register, pay the current fee (see below) and download special software during the time period allotted. All bar exam applicants who timely and properly register for the laptop program will be allowed to participate.

    Laptop registration begins the second Wednesday of January for the February exam, and the second Wednesday of June for the July exam. The initial registration period extends for 10 days. Late registration, with increased fee, extends until the last day of the month such registration began.

    You will handwrite the essay portion of the Virginia Bar Exam.

    Click here for the Extegrity Exam4 computer hardware and operating system requirements.

    Must have a working USB port on your computer.

    Must have 10 MB free hard disk space (a very small amount), and minimum 800x600 screen resolution.

    Must be able to download the software from the Internet and install it on your laptop.

    Must have a fully charged battery on the day of the exam.

    The cost for participating in the laptop program is $125 during the initial registration period. Late registration (available after the 10th day and until the end of the month registration began) is an additional $50.

    The fee covers software licensing plus the additional administrative costs associated with administration of the Laptop Program.

    On the day laptop registration begins, a link will be posted on our website which will take you to the software provider's site for instructions on how to register, pay and download the software.

    All payments must be made through Extegrity.

    If your laptop crashes prior to the exam, you can obtain a new laptop and download the software onto your laptop up until the Friday before the bar exam.

    If your computer has any type of hardware or software problem on the day of the exam, the software technical staff is authorized to make a reasonable effort to resolve it. However, if the problem cannot be resolved easily, or if there is a site power failure, you must be willing to continue taking the examination by handwriting your answers using a pen with dark blue or black ink. You will be permitted to continue handwriting your answers, beginning at the point where you were when your computer malfunctioned. After the session, every attempt will be made to retrieve your answer(s) from your hard drive. The laptop software is designed to protect your work, and it is very likely the data can be recovered, but it is not guaranteed. No extra exam time will be granted in the event your computer malfunctions.

    Laptop fees are nonrefundable, nor may they be applied to a subsequent administration of the exam.

    For those who now wish to handwrite, if you notify us no later than the Thursday prior to the exam, you will be moved to the room where the applicants will be handwriting the exam. If you notify us after the Thursday prior to the exam, or fail to notify us until the day of the exam, you will be seated in the room where the applicants will be using their laptops and you will be provided paper to handwrite your answers.

    Taking a practice exam is about making sure Exam4 runs as expected on your computer, and it gives you a chance to become familiar with the interface. The way to test the software is to follow the software vendor's instructions for taking a practice exam. There are no questions for a practice exam.

    Yes. Starting with the July 2010 exam, the cut, copy and paste features are no longer disabled.

    Laptop instructions will be given at approximately 8:45 a.m. and the morning session of the exam will begin around 9:00 and end around 12:00 noon. All laptop participants must stay until time has been called and your exams have been submitted.

    Afternoon instructions will begin at approximately 1:45, and the afternoon session of the exam will begin around 2:00 and end around 5:00.

    No. Your essay answers will be saved on a USB drive, which will be provided. You must have a working USB port on your computer in order to save your essays.

    No. The laptop room will either be staffed at all times or locked. You will not need to pack up your equipment during lunch.

    The essay questions will be on paper. Only your answers will be typed into the computer.

    The multiple choice questions are part of the afternoon essay exam. You will select your answers in the multiple choice section of the Exam4 software.

    The front cover of your essay questions may be used for scratch paper. No additional paper will be provided unless you experience laptop problems and you need to handwrite your exam.

    Either a 2 or 3-prong plug will be sufficient.

    Yes, you must bring at least a 6-foot extension cord. Power outlets will be within approximately 6-8 feet of each seat. To ensure that no one has to step over a power cord that is suspended in the air, you must have sufficient extension cord length.

    No, the MBE will be a standardized test where you grid circles using a #2 pencil.

    No laptop carrying cases or backpacks will be allowed.

    No. These accessories are not allowed: An external keyboard, mouse, laptop sleeve/protector, adapters, etc.

    There are NO practice questions. The practice exam is for you to become acquainted with using the software, to make sure your computer passes the security check. Just make up an Exam ID and type anything in each answer section so you're comfortable typing your essay answers.

    Yes. Violation of these instructions could result in disqualification of your exam.

    Yes, all study materials related to the bar exam, no matter what the source, must be removed from any drive on your computer. To keep these items for future use, you should copy all items to a USB or external hard drive before deleting.


    MPRE Information

    Virginia requires an MPRE scaled score of 85 or higher which must be achieved within the calendar year you pass the Virginia Bar Exam, within the two calendar years immediately preceding your passing the Virginia Bar Exam, or within the two calendar years immediately following your passing the Virginia Bar Exam. The MPRE requirement must be met before you can be licensed.

    The MPRE is a sixty-question, two-hour, multiple choice test given in March, August, and November of each year at various locations across the country.

    For more information, go to the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) section of the National Conference of Bar Examiners' website.


    Scoring

    On the results page of this website you will find the date when we expect to release the results of the most recent Bar Exam. A list of passing applicants will be posted on that page in alphabetical andorder formal notice will be mailed to each person who has taken the examination. Please note that the expected release date may be delayed if persons telephone the Secretary's office to inquire about the release date, thus interrupting the processing and checking of examination scores.

    Immediately following the exam, each examiner reads and assigns preliminary scores to a sample of the essay answers. The examiners then meet with professors from the approved Virginia law schools to discuss the essay questions. The law school representatives often suggest alternative approaches to answering some of the questions, which the examiners may consider and adopt if appropriate. Following the meeting with the professors, the examiners reach a consensus on grading guidelines for each question.

    Immediately following the exam, the multistate answer sheets are sent to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which scores the answer sheets in accordance with an answer key developed by the testing committees of the National Conference of Bar Examiners. Because questions asked at one administration of the MBE may prove to be, on the average, easier or more difficult than those asked on some other administration, MBE raw scores are equated and converted to scaled scores to adjust for such differences. Virginia uses the MBE scaled score in combination with the Virginia Essay scaled score to determine the pass/fail status of the applicant.

    Yes. The minimum passing score depends on the exam Option selected.

    For Option 1, 2A or 2B, applicants sitting for the Virginia Essay and either sitting for the MBE at the same exam administration or using/transferring a prior MBE score to Virginia, the minimum passing score is a combined weighted total of 140. Both portions of the exam will be weighted and combined to determine if the applicant has achieved the minimum passing score. Such weighting is made by combining 60% of the Virginia Essay exam scaled score and 40% of the MBE scaled score.

    For Option 3 applicants, licensed attorneys, the score is based solely on the Virginia Essay. A minimum score of 70 raw points, out of a possible 100 raw points, is a passing score.

    MBE Score

    The MBE has 200 multiple choice questions, and an applicant's raw score is the number of questions answered correctly. Because questions asked at one administration of the MBE may prove to be, on the average, more difficult than those asked on some other administration, MBE raw scores are equated and converted to scaled scores to adjust for such differences. This procedure is designed so that it will be no harder or easier to earn a given MBE scaled score on one administration of the MBE than on any other administration of this part of the bar exam.

    Essay Score

    Each of the nine essays are graded on a 10-point scale, and each correct answer of the ten multiple choice questions is worth 1 point. Thus, the maximum essay raw score is 100 points: (10 points x 9 essay questions) + (1 point x 10 multiple choice questions).

    As a group, the essay and multiple choice questions asked on one administration of the Virginia Bar Exam may be harder or easier than those asked at another time. To adjust for these differences, the essay raw scores are converted to the same scale of measurement as that used to report the MBE scaled scores. As a result of this step, the average essay scaled score in Virginia will be equal to the average MBE scaled score. This method is designed to permit the passing standard to remain as constant as possible from one exam to the next, so that an applicant is neither rewarded nor penalized for having taken one exam or another.

    Combined Weighted Total

    The Board of Bar Examiners has determined that the Virginia Essay scaled score should carry 60% of the weight of the examination and the MBE scaled score should be allocated 40%. Accordingly, the formula is:

    Combined Weighted Total = (.60 x essay scaled score) + (.40 x MBE scaled score).

    Since the exam is designed to measure minimum competency, it is not intended to rank the applicants who achieve higher than the minimum passing score. A high score on a minimum competency exam can be misleading and has no meaningful value. If you fail the exam, the Board will disclose your scores so that you can use the information in your efforts to prepare better for a future Virginia exam.

    Regrading is done automatically. At the conclusion of the initial grading and combining of the Virginia essay scaled score and MBE scaled score, the Board regrades the essay papers of approximately ten percent of those applicants whose initial total scaled score is near but below the minimum passing score of 140. The Board may determine that the overall quality of an applicant's answers may adequately demonstrate minimum competence, resulting in that applicant achieving the minimum passing score. After the regrading, all scores are final and not appealable. All grading is done anonymously.

    Many applicants, for one reason or another, may fail the exam on a first attempt but pass comfortably on the second. Frequently, success requires only more serious study and preparation, and the Board members are unable to meet with applicants who have failed only once. However, after an applicant has failed on two or more occasions, the Secretary of the Board will, upon request, review the applicant's essay answers from the past exam and talk with the applicant to attempt to identify weaknesses which may become apparent from the previous answers. The Secretary will not review individual answers with an applicant or discuss or debate scores on those answers. Rather, the purpose is to help an applicant identify, from a grader's perspective, areas needing improvement.

    Only one conference per applicant is permitted. Please note that essay answers are retained only for one year from the date the examination was taken.

    • For those who have failed a July exam and a previous exam, requests for a conference must be received by November 15th.
    • For those who have failed a February exam and a previous exam, requests for a conference must be received by May 15th.

    When making a request for a conference, please include your name, address, daytime telephone number, and an email address. Also include all exams on which you have been unsuccessful. You may mail your request, or you may fax it to 804-367-0416.


    VBBE Online Forms

    Yes. To access VBBE Online forms, an active internet connection is required at all times. VBBE Online Forms can be accessed with any of the following browsers:

    Windows: Internet Explorer 8+, Google Chrome 13+, Firefox 6+
    Mac: Safari 5+, Google Chrome 13+, Firefox 6+

    You access VBBE Online Forms from our website in STEP 3 on the Application Filing Instructions page.

    New User Registration:

    • Register: Click "No Account? Register Now" to create an account, User ID and Password.


    • Enter Required Information: Provide your First and Last Name, Email, User ID and Password. Click the "Create" button.


    • Log In: Enter your User ID and Password then click the "Log In" button.

    Log In: Enter your User ID and Password and click "Log In" button.

    Your answers are automatically saved. 



    Yes. All application forms must be printed, signed, notarized and delivered to the Office of the Secretary, Virginia Board of Bar Examiners, 2201 W. Broad Street, Suite 101, Richmond, VA 23220.

    For basic help with the interview system, select "Help" in the upper right corner of your interview. Throughout the VBBE Online forms you will see a light bulb .  By clicking on the , additional resource information is provided in regard to that question.


    If you need additional assistance, please contact our VBBE Online Forms Admin at (804) 367-0412 or choose "Contact Support" at the top left of any interview page.

    If you need additional assistance, please contact our VBBE Online Forms Admin at (804) 367-0412 or choose "Contact Support" at the top left of any interview page.